It’s Christmas time!  In what has become a yearly tradition, I’d like to share the things that Illinois Corn wants for Christmas!  Here we go …
On November 15, the U.S. EPA announced its proposed rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard.  The rule indicated that in 2014, America would not have to abide by the standard set forth in the RFS, but that the EPA would reduce the amount of corn-based ethanol petroleum retailers had to blend in 2014. 
The EPA reviews our corn stocks and our ability to produce corn-based ethanol annually.  They determine if farmers and ethanol producers can meet the standard set in the RFS and have, thus far never reduced the standard.  Let me repeat that … they have NEVER reduced the standard since its inception in 2007.
Now for a quick history.  You may remember that last year, many parts of America experienced an extreme drought.  Most of our farmers in Illinois had never lived through a drought as bad as the 2012 drought.  Yet, in 2013, the EPA determined that we had produced enough corn to fulfill the standard set forth in the RFS.  Illinois yields were around half of what we expected, but we still produced enough to meet the upgraded 14 billion gallon demand.
This year, the USDA forecasted record-setting yields.  In fact, farmers are predicted to have grown nearly 14 billion bushels of corn, up from only 10.8 billion bushels in 2012.  And this is the year that the EPA decided to set back the corn-based ethanol requirement?  What’s worse is that they didn’t even just leave it where it was at 14 billion gallons, they actually reduced it to 13 billion gallons when it was supposed to be increased to 14.4 billion gallons in 2014.
The end result?  Farmers have lost a significant market for their corn.  To make this more understandable, if you are a stay at home mom making candles to sell and Walmart picks up your candle line, you have a booming business.  When Walmart decides they no longer want to sell your candles, you’ve lost a lot of dough.  That’s what U.S. corn farm families will face now – a significant reduction in their market and no way to feed their families. 
Here’s what makes us mad.  The EPA is not issuing rules based on factual information – no market signal, production level, infrastructure system has indicated to them that corn farmers and ethanol producers cannot make and sell 14.4 billion gallons of ethanol in 2014.  No, they are acting on an agenda.  And I’m just not sure that having a government agency that acts purely on an agenda is what is in the best interests of the American people. 
Lindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director

Leave a Reply