I have farmed in Northwest Iowa for 54 years and have seen the cycle of markets go up and down over my career. Farmers are resilient about dealing with business cycles, but when markets for our products are artificially being blocked from consumers – this is a different story.
I’m referring to Iowa grown biofuels and specifically E15, a fuel blend made with 15 percent ethanol. Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been restricting the sale of E15 during the busy summer driving months.
While the new EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler, and President Trump have signaled they will be lifting this archaic ban, the recent shutdown slowed the rule-making process, leaving American farmers wondering if it will happen before the June 1 deadline.
We have great champions in Iowa such as Senator Charles Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst fighting for the year-round availability of E15. They understand greater market access will deliver a much-needed boost to rural economies across Iowa.
Having a strong biofuels market is critical for the health of rural Iowa. Beyond E15, the distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) derived from the ethanol process are an important value add for farmers. DDGS from Iowa ethanol production provide great feed value for livestock and poultry across the world now.
I hope our leaders in Washington continue to voice the value of the biofuels sector to our heartland and to the prosperity of our rural communities and family farms across the Midwest. - Roger Knoblock, Rock Rapids, Iowa