Today, two of your IL Corn leaders took the time to present oral and written testimony during an EPA public hearing on the renewable volume obligation numbers for 2017 recently release.
Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) is the amount of renewable fuel that retailers must sell in a given year. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) sets that number at 15 billion gallons by 2015, but in recent years, the EPA has used their “authority” to reduce the volume to something less than Congress dictated in the RFS legislation. The volume for 2017 is proposed to be set at 14.8 billion gallons.
During the hearing, Justin Durdan, Utica, IL farmer and Vice President of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, and Dan Cole, Plainfield, IL farmer and Industrial Committee Chairman for the Illinois Corn Marketing Board were able to discuss real life implications of a reduction in ethanol volume numbers both on their farm and on neighboring farms in their areas.
From Durdan’s testimony: “I have a very big stake in the decisions the EPA is making about ethanol because my farm is within 50 miles of three different ethanol plants, with a total production capacity of over 560 million gallons annually. The fuel in your tank actually begins with the highly technological decisions I’m making every day to sustainably grow high yielding corn.”
From Cole’s testimony: “Cover crops are expensive. The corn and soybeans I grew had to be profitable enough to pay the extra $30 to $40 per acre I needed to manage cover crops. When our ethanol market was robust and corn was $5 per bushel, I had the additional profit to invest. Now that corn is $4 per bushel and our ethanol market signals are not good, I’m not sure I can justify the cost of the cover crops. I’m also afraid my neighbors may never even try them.”