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Maintain Renewable Fuel Standards

Posted on October 3, 2013 at 4:50 PM by Iowa Corn

The following editorial on the renewable fuels standard was written by Iowa corn grower, Tim Burrack of Arlington, Iowa. It recently appeared in the Chicago Tribune.


Maintain renewable fuel standards     
The Tribune’s recent storieson new fueling stations for electric cars points to another popular option at the pump: ethanol fuel, which has grown thanks to the Renewable Fuel Standards. The RFS has decreased greenhouse gases, reduced our dependence on foreign oil and helped family farmers like me.

But now, Big Oil and some members of Congress want to roll back the measure, which would have disastrous consequences on not just our environment, but on family-owned farms and local economies.
As family farmers for more than 40 years, we have had our share of ups and downs. The RFS gave farmers like us a new market for our corn, helped bring corn prices up to fair, competitive values and boosted farm values across the Midwest, including in Illinois.  By extension, the RFS has also boosted local economies — from the shops in towns, to the major farm equipment manufacturers, to the small agriculture businesses.  Our children now want to come back to the farm and continue our business.

In addition, the RFS boom has helped my hog production. I am now buying about 20 percent of my feed directly from the local ethanol plants, giving my hogs a healthier, more protein-rich diet of distillers grains. I’m not alone, either, and the hog and poultry industries are thriving and expanding all over. With total crop yields going up each season and total acres planted far surpassing where we were before the RFS, there is still more than enough corn crop for food and fuel.

Removing the RFS would drag us back decades, back to a time when farmers were dependent on taxpayer subsidies, when harvests were small,  when feed was hard to come by and when the rural economy was desolate.
We need to preserve the RFS.  Americans want more choices at the pump, and they want more renewable fuels. If we let the RFS work, Americans will choose higher blends of ethanol at the pump for the savings and benefits. Energy economist Philip K. Verleger recently estimated that the RFS has saved Americans between 50 cents and a-dollar-and-a-half per gallon. The ethanol industry has benefitted all Americans, has transformed the country’s economy and has revolutionized our nation’s fuel supply. Why change it now?

I am a farmer. I raise hogs. I support the RFS. And I believe in domestic fuel production. It’s good for the Midwest and good for the country.

— Tim Burrack, Arlington, Iowa

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

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