Ag community being tested
The COVID-19 pandemic has not been easy on any of our industries in southeast Iowa. Our ag community has always been considered a pillar of the region’s economy, but it is being tested. Farmers are being attacked on two new fronts during this challenging time.
On one side you have the pandemic, which disrupted the supply chain farm families depend on. With less traveling, the demand for biofuels fell dramatically, which in turn caused corn and soybean prices to plunge as biofuels plants stopped production. Additionally, demand for biofuel by-products like distillers’ grains also fell, which depressed prices even further.
On the other side, you have bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency drilling loopholes into the Renewable Fuel Standard. The agency is granting special exemptions to oil refineries, allowing them to ignore blending requirements. These waivers have reduced demand for biofuels and hurt farmers for years, but it could get even worse. The EPA is now considering over 80 new exemptions for oil companies, including 52 retroactive waivers. If granted, these exemptions will spell disaster for rural Iowa.
We have allies in Washington, like Sen. Grassley and Sen. Ernst, who are asking the president to put his foot down with the EPA. But we need the Trump administration to stick to its commitments and support farmers – time is running out.
Calvin Van Genderen, Eddyville