Statement by Kevin Skunes, National Corn Growers Association President, and Arthur, North Dakota farmer regarding the Udall/Welch Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Legislation H.R. 5212/S. 2519)
“This legislation seeks to kill our most successful American renewable energy program. The bill ignores current science reflecting the significant environmental benefits of ethanol and would have catastrophic consequences for our nation’s economy, our energy security, and family farmers.
The sponsors of this legislation need to understand farmers’ productivity. Ethanol production is not significantly impacting land use. In fact, planted corn acres were lower in 2017 than when the RFS was expanded in 2007, yet we produced significantly more biofuels. We produce more biofuels because average crop yields have increased by more than 25 bushels per acre, not because we are farming more land. The total agriculture footprint in the United States is shrinking.
Corn production is also increasingly sustainable. Since 1980, corn farmers have doubled production while using half the nutrient inputs per bushel. Through our Soil Health Partnership, corn farmers are advancing production practices that result in greater productivity and more environmental benefits.
Every citizen has a stake in the RFS. The first casualty of this legislation will be consumer choice at the fuel pump, when they will be forced to buy more expensive gasoline, and the second will be the environment as we increase reliance on fuel that produces more greenhouse gases and toxic emissions like benzene.
Last year, analysis done for USDA shows corn-based ethanol results in 43 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) when compared to gasoline. And the Environmental Protection Agency notes air quality has improved in the last 15 years, at the same time ethanol blending has increased. I find it difficult to believe the public wants to walk away from this kind of environmental success and leave farmers as a casualty in the process.”
NCGA is taking a series of actions to do our part to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic fallout it is creating for corn farmers and our customers. Short term, this means instituting policies to protect the health and safety of our stakeholders and the broader communities we serve. Long term, we’re focused on creating solutions to help corn farmers and our customers recover from the financial impacts of this crisis.
CommonGround is a group of farmers connecting with consumers through conversations about science and research and personal stories about food and misinformation surrounding farming. Supported by the NCGA and state corn organizations.
The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health. Administered by NCGA the partnership has more than 220 working farms enrolled in 16 states. SHP’s mission is to utilize science and data to partner with farmers who are adopting conservation agricultural practices that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the farm.