Noting the severe drought and its disastrous impact on this year's corn production, IDFA and 26 other food industry trade organizations urged the Environmental Protection Agency to waive the amount of corn ethanol that must be produced under the nation's Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). In a letter sent last Friday to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the groups said the mandate, if left unchanged, would lead to an insufficient amount of corn available for food production.
Approximately 40 percent of all U.S. corn is currently dedicated to ethanol production. With additional crop reductions sure to come as a result of the drought, corn prices have jumped 45 percent in the past two months alone.
Livestock farmers who rely on corn to feed their animals are struggling to find sufficient corn feedstock, and some dairy farmers are looking to reduce their herd size, which would limit the available supply of farm milk.
"As American consumers continue to cope with a period of prolonged economic turmoil, and U.S. food, beverage and consumer products makers from farm to fork struggle with record high commodity prices, we believe it is EPA's duty to grant a waiver for the applicable volume of corn ethanol required by the RFS," the letter said.
The Renewable Fuel Standard, first adopted as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, was expanded in 2007 to require the use of 15 billion gallons of biofuels, such as ethanol, by 2015. An estimated 13.8 billion gallons of domestic corn ethanol will be used by oil refiners to blend with gasoline in 2013. The standard requires the use of 36 billion gallons of biofuel, with 21 billion coming from advanced biofuels, by 2022.
For more information, contact Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president of legislative and economic affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.