SD Corn approves of Renewable Fuel Standard decision

Today’s ruling by the Environmental Protection Agency to preserve the nation’s Renewable Fuel Standard was the right decision, the South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) says.
“Big Oil lost another round of attacks on ethanol today,” SDCGA President Mark Gross said. “Ethanol saves consumers more than a dollar per gallon at the pump by adding over 13 billion gallons of additional fuel to the U.S. market, according to an Iowa State University study.”
Even though this year’s corn crop took a big hit because of the widespread drought, the nation has a sufficient supply of ethanol, including 800 million gallons in reserve. In addition, there are 2.4 billion gallons of un-used renewable identification numbers (RINs), given to each gallon of ethanol produced, that could be cashed in this year to satisfy the RFS obligation.
The governors of several states requested a waiver of the RFS and some groups of livestock producers expressed concerns that the RFS requirements would increase corn prices and, in turn, drive up beef, pork and poultry prices. The SDCGA, which represents 12,000 corn growers, believes the current supply of ethanol and the flexibility of the RINs along with farmers’ plans to produce a large corn crop next year alleviate those concerns.
The RFS increases corn production and creates a global market for corn. Since the standard was enacted in 2005, five of the six largest corn crops of all time were grown in the United States, according to USDA statistics. In South Dakota, corn acres increased from 3.8 million acres in 2001 to 5.2 million acres in 2011. The state’s average yield rose from 109 bushels per acre in 2001 to 132 bushels per acre in 2011.
The economic benefit of the RFS reaches far beyond the farm, the SDCGA said. South Dakota has 15 ethanol plants with a capacity to produce more than 1 billion gallons of ethanol annually. The state’s ethanol industry directly employs nearly 900 people.

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