The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

December 18, 2013

Renewable fuels rules proposals hurting farmers

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency is considering making changes in the Renewable Fuels Standard and the President of the Indiana Farm Bureau is encouraging farmers to fight those changes. That standard was put in place in 2007 and requires oil companies to use ethanol and soy diesel in the fuel supply.

"There are currently a number of challenges facing farmers," said Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock at the organization's annual convention. "One of the most recent and important is a proposal to lower the Renewable Fuels Standard."

Those standards have had a big impact on the fuel in vehicles and the price that farmers receive for their crops. "Ethanol is now in almost every gallon of gasoline sold in the country," said Villwock. "I'm extremely proud to announce the United States has greatly reduced its dependence on imported oil thanks to ethanol. Our environment is cleaner, consumers pay 80 cents less for every gallon of gasoline and rural America has added jobs and experienced a rebirth of economic activity."

Before the ethanol requirements went into place corn was selling around $2 per bushel. Since then corn prices have risen to more than three times that amount. "Since the news of the proposed rule was leaked on Oct. 10 in the press corn prices have dropped more than 5 percent," said Villwock. "This one event could be the tipping point to once again send corn prices below the cost of production."

"The price has dropped just because of the talk," added Daviess County farmer Mike Sprinkle. "It's hitting us. The markets have reacted to it. I would say the 5 percent drop is very conservative."

The falling price of corn could have an even bigger impact on the greater economy of Daviess County. Agriculture experts say 100,000 acres of corn was planted in the county. "The price drop translates into about $45 an acre. Do the math on that with the number of acres and that's a pretty significant amount of money," said Sprinkle.

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