Government Acknowledges Costs, but Not Connections to RFS

July 26, 2013

The National Turkey Federation welcomed Wednesday afternoon’s House Energy and Commerce Committee’s opening round of hearings  to discuss the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Stating that it is time to undertake an assessment of the RFS, the Committee began today with witnesses from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the chief economist from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“The National Turkey Federation encourages pointed discussion of the RFS,” said Joel Brandenberger, president of the National Turkey Federation (NTF).  “Animal agriculture has long been suffering at the hand of this broken policy, especially feed costs in the turkey business.  The RFS has caused an increase of $1.9 billion in feed cost alone for turkey farmers, as corn continues to be syphoned off to ethanol.”

Congress created the RFS Program in 2005 to mandate the minimum amount of renewable fuel—almost exclusively corn-based ethanol – that must be blended into motor fuels annually. In 2007, Congress increased the RFS significantly and added biodiesel, while permitting the Environmental Protection Agency to govern implementation of the congressional mandate.

Wednesday’s testimony from government representatives cited increased costs to animal agriculture as the price of corn goes up.  Additionally, the government officials noted the extent that recent droughts have led to reduced stores of corn, as a supply, when a harvest falls short.

“While we appreciate the government officials acknowledging these issues for animal agriculture, they have not gone far enough to link the crisis to the ethanol mandate,” said Brandenberger.  “Ethanol is the primary cause behind the financial struggles for turkey farmers, and our voice will continue to be heard as these hearings continue.”

While today’s hearing focused solely on questioning government officials, future Energy and Commerce committee meetings are expected to include declarations from other parties invested in the RFS, including representatives from animal agriculture.

NTF has continued to coordinate attempts to reform and repeal the RFS, including renewed House and Senate bipartisan legislation.