Farm Groups to Trump: Don’t Touch the RFS

The letter comes one day before the Trump Administration’s cabinet meeting on biofuels following an East Coast refinery blaming the RFS for going bankruptcy. ( Farm Journal Media )

A coalition of farm groups sent President Trump a letter on Monday asking him to leave the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) alone. This comes one day before the Trump Administration’s cabinet meeting on biofuels following an East Coast refinery blaming the RFS for going bankruptcy.

“Rural America supported President Trump last year, now we need the President to support rural America. Supporting policy changes that undermine the RFS will hurt farmers, renewable fuel plant workers, and rural America,” said National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Kevin Skunes in a statement. “Mismanagement of a single refinery should not be used as an excuse for undoing ten-years of sound policy.”

NCGA is one of six organizations that co-authored the letter. The American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Wheat Growers Association, National Sorghum Growers Association and National Farmers Union all signed the letter which was also sent to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.

In the letter, the groups outline why a strong RFS is important to the health of rural America, particularly when the farm economy is suffering.

“For the past ten years, the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) has been a strong engine driving the rural economy,” they wrote. “The RFS, which sets targets for blending ethanol and biodiesel into our nation’s fuel supply, created new markets for our farmers, created new jobs in rural America, gave consumers more fuel choices, and improved our nation’s air quality.”

According to National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson, President Trump expressed strong support for the RFS when he was campaigning.

“We want to be sure he remembers these promises he made to farmers and rural communities as he meets with senior administration officials and lawmakers,” he said. “Rural communities are under a lot of economic stress, so there is much to gain from a strong RFS, and a lot to lose by weakening it.”

The letter points out that while some refiners, including the one that filed bankruptcy, say Renewable Identification Number’s cause financial hardship, last year the EPA investigated the issue and found they were “not causing economic harm to refiners.”

“We, at Corn Growers, will die on the sword for this,” Pam Johnson, Iowa farmer and past president of NCGA told AgriTalk host Chip Flory last week talking about keeping the RFS intact and unchanged.

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