FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Lindsay Mitchell
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to cut the amount of corn ethanol required under the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard by 10 percent will affect corn prices and rural economies. This is the message Illinois Corn Growers Association President Gary Hudson of Hindsboro and Vice President Kenny Hartman of Waterloo shared yesterday at a hearing outside the nation’s capital.
Steffen Mueller, researcher with the University of Illinois Chicago and John Caupert, CEO of the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center, also represented Illinois yesterday at the hearings, sharing the impact to rural economies and businesses in Illinois. In total, farmers from 13 states shared agriculture’s concern over the proposed rule during the hearing.
“In 2012, during the worst drought I’ve ever experienced, I raised 78 bushels of corn per acre. Yet, the ethanol plants around me continued to run and still produced enough ethanol to help our country meet the requirement in 2013, 13.8 billion gallons,” said Hartman to the hearing panel. “This year I produced an average of 160 bushels of corn per acre and my prices based on December futures are around $4.00 which is below my cost of production. Why now, when I have a record yield and the USDA predicts bushels and bushels of corn to spare, would we consider reducing the ethanol requirement, resulting in a massive surplus of corn and one less market for my crop?”
Hudson shared a rural community perspective based on his service on the District 5 school board in Coles County. “Rolling back ethanol volume numbers to a level that they were before 2010 stops ethanol industry growth. It is critically important to keep the agriculture sector strong and growing so it does not stagnate and depress similar to other sectors of our economy. If we lose 500 million bushels of potential corn demand based on USEPA’s current proposed ruling, the farm economy will plummet. With it will go the rural economy, including the children that we educate.”
For 2014, the EPA has proposed a 1.4 billion gallon reduction in how much corn ethanol will be required under the RFS, the federal law that requires the blending of domestic, renewable, cleaner-burning corn ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply. Because of the record crop, farmers are already seeing corn prices falling below the cost of production.
Farmers are urged to learn more about this vital change to the ethanol industry, impacting corn markets and corn prices, at www.ilcorn.org/pluggedin.