Weekly Ethanol Production Down Again

Mar 22, 2017 43
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According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 1.044 million barrels per day (b/d)—or 43.85 million gallons daily. That is down 1,000 b/d from the week before, but the 21st straight week over 1 million b/d. The four-week average for ethanol production increased to 1.037 million b/d for an annualized rate of 15.9 billion gallons.
Stocks of ethanol stood at 22.6 million barrels, the lowest in five weeks. That is a 0.9% decrease from last week and the third consecutive weekly decrease.
Imports of ethanol were nonexistent for the 29th straight week.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 386.4 million gallons (9.2 million barrels) daily. Refiner/blender input of ethanol averaged 915,000 b/d. Year-to-date gasoline consumption is running 3.6% below the same period in 2016, but year-to-date ethanol blending is up 1% over the same period last year.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 11.35%.

Source: RFA

Ag Trade a Top Priority for Trump Administration

Mar 22, 2017 34
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North Carolina native Ray Starling is still new to his role as Special Assistant to the President for Agriculture, Agricultural Trade, and Food Assistance. Starling spoke this week about some of the administration’s key priorities when it comes to agriculture which include promoting agricultural trade, giving farmers access to a stable workforce, regulation reform, and giving agriculture a seat at the table when new regulations are discussed.

Starling said, “We are getting to a period of push comes to shove” on accessing a sufficient workforce for American agriculture. Just how this is going to be set up in future policy development remains to be seen, but he said this is a top-of-mind issue. “On the regulatory reform issue, we want to evaluate the current landscape and make it less onerous,” Starling stated. “We want to lessen the cumulative impact of those regulations and provide you a stronger voice in the process to vet future regulations.” He said that a voice for agriculture should not only be in place at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but at other agencies as well, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior, and the Department of Labor.

Source: NAFB News Service

Indiana Ag Day Honors Work of Farmers and all Driving the Ag Engine

Mar 21, 2017 32

Indiana Ag Day 2017

One thing the Indiana House and Senate Agriculture Committee chairs could easily agree on during the Indiana Ag Day ceremony at the statehouse yesterday is that the observance is important, for both farmers and Indiana consumers. Senator Jean Leising is from Oldenburg in Franklin County.

“You know every once in a while when I’m working on ag issues at the Statehouse somebody will say ‘oh I don’t care about those farmers, I’ll just go to the grocery store.’ I always have to laugh and at the same time of course it raises my ire and I’m giving them heck because truthfully, we all know where food comes from, so it’s very, very important,” she said.

Both the Senator and State Rep Don Lehe from Brookston in White County have spent many years on the farm, so they understand what it takes for farmers to drive the Indiana economy as they do. Lehe hopes farmers keep doing that important work.

“I understand all their challenges and all their efforts don’t go unnoticed,” he told HAT. “I appreciate all the efforts of agriculture in general, specifically farmers. There have been some ups and downs recently and we’ve got to stay the course and hope for a better future and continue to do the hard work.”

Lehe said many farmers play a key role at the statehouse educating their representatives about the important issues they face on the farm.

During the Tuesday observance of National Ag Day and governor’s proclamation of the day as Indiana Ag Day, other elected officials were joined by farmers, FFA members and state officers, and Indiana’s Family of Farmers, a group of the state’s major commodity and policy organizations promoting Indiana agriculture.

IFoF organized the day’s events at the Capitol building and elsewhere, according to the chair, Lauren Taylor.

“We had a dietician go along with a farmer on Fox59 this morning making pizza, and just talking about how pizza comes from different farmers, whether it be dairy farmers, wheat farmers, or pork farmers and how that all goes into pizza. We do a lot of activities out at the Indiana State Fair with the recipe trail that we hope consumers can learn by going to all the different buildings and getting them on the north side of the fairgrounds as well.

Also, Tuesday the winners of the IFoF Ag Day Video Contest were recognized. They submitted videos focused on the future of agriculture, and the 2017 winners are:

Grades 6-8:

  • 1st Place Winner: Nathan Tuholski, from Mill Creek, Ind.
  • 2nd Place Winner: John Jackson, from Jamestown, Ind.
  • 3rd Place Winner: Shenandoah Middle School, from Middletown, Ind.

Grades 9-12:

  • 1st Place Winner: Katelyn Smith, from Logansport, Ind.
  • 2nd Place Winner: John Schuler, from Roann, Ind.
  • 3rd Place Winner: Anna Taylor, from Corunna, Ind.

New RVOs Increase Ethanol Use, but Barriers Remain

Mar 21, 2017 37

New RVOs Increase Ethanol Use, but Barriers Remain

In November 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set the final 2017 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for conventional biofuel at a level of 15 billion gallons under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The 2017 RVO rule aligned with bipartisan Congressional intent to increase the amount of transportation fuel that comes from renewable sources. President Trump issued a regulatory freeze memorandum in January to give his administration the opportunity to review a host of regulations before they were implemented, including the 2017 RVO rule. On Tuesday, the 2017 RVOs went into effect. In response to this positive news, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement: “The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is America’s most successful energy policy, and it continues to guarantee competition and consumer choice in the vehicle fuels marketplace, while also lowering prices at the pump and reducing harmful emissions.”

In an interview with HAT, Skor said that, while this is good news and will help increase the amount of corn used for ethanol in the coming year, the inability for retailers to sell higher blends of ethanol all year long continues to be an issue, “This RVP issue and the inability to sell higher blends of ethanol in the summer is a real problem for fuel retailers. It costs them a lot of money to change labels on the pump.”

Skor added that if retailers could sell these blends all year long, more retailers would start offering E-15 and E-85. She said the EPA regulations are a holdover from the past and serve no real purpose, “These rules are just hanging around from years ago, well before the EPA had even approved E-15 for sale. It does not accomplish anything, and we really need to get it off the books.”

Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly, along with  Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), has sponsored a bill to remove this barrier. Skor urges farmers to pressure lawmakers to get action on this legislation. She said the legislative calendar  most likely does not have room to deal with this issue as a standalone bill, but they hope to find a larger bill to which the language can be attached. The EPA “should be consistent in the way it treats different fuel blends as a matter of fairness and to give consumers more options for fueling their vehicles,” Grassley said in a release. The Senator also noted that EPA has never acted on its authority to grant a Reid vapor pressure waiver for E15. “This bill proposes a legislative fix to fill the void,” he says.

USDA Provides EQUIP Funds for Fire Victems

Mar 21, 2017 32
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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing the availability of more than $6 million in funding to implement practices that will help private farmers, ranchers and forest landowners affected by the wildfires blazing in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. “We have seen the devastating effects of these wildfires on agricultural operations and the funding announced today can help communities of farmers and ranchers start the process of recovery,” said Acting Deputy Agriculture Secretary Michael Young. “USDA is here to offer assistance, and I encourage producers who experienced losses to take full advantage of our financial and technical assistance to aid in their recovery efforts and alleviate part of the financial burden caused by these tragic events.”

The funding, made available by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), will assist local producers as they begin to restore scorched grazing land, rebuild fencing, protect damaged watersheds, and implement various conservation measures to mitigate losses.

EQIP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to help plan and implement conservation practices that address priority local and state resource concerns. Producers must submit a complete program application, establish “farm records”, and other documentation to support eligibility to be considered for financial assistance through EQIP. Step-by-step assistance can be found at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted.

States will begin accepting applications in the near future. Producers in the affected counties are encouraged to check with their local NRCS service centers for additional information.

USDA Provides EQUIP Funds for Fire Victems

Mar 21, 2017 27
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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing the availability of more than $6 million in funding to implement practices that will help private farmers, ranchers and forest landowners affected by the wildfires blazing in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. “We have seen the devastating effects of these wildfires on agricultural operations and the funding announced today can help communities of farmers and ranchers start the process of recovery,” said Acting Deputy Agriculture Secretary Michael Young. “USDA is here to offer assistance, and I encourage producers who experienced losses to take full advantage of our financial and technical assistance to aid in their recovery efforts and alleviate part of the financial burden caused by these tragic events.”

The funding, made available by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), will assist local producers as they begin to restore scorched grazing land, rebuild fencing, protect damaged watersheds, and implement various conservation measures to mitigate losses.

EQIP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to help plan and implement conservation practices that address priority local and state resource concerns. Producers must submit a complete program application, establish “farm records”, and other documentation to support eligibility to be considered for financial assistance through EQIP. Step-by-step assistance can be found at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted.

States will begin accepting applications in the near future. Producers in the affected counties are encouraged to check with their local NRCS service centers for additional information.

Renewable Fuels on Ag Day

Mar 21, 2017 31

On this National Agriculture Day, the Renewable Fuels Association would like to recognize and thank those involved in American agriculture, who provide abundant supplies of food, fuel and fiber to the world. Agriculture is the lifeblood of our industry, helping to produce the cleanest, lowest cost and highest source of octane fuel on the planet.

In 2016, U.S. farmers harvested a record corn crop of 15.1 billion bushels and achieved a new record average yield of 174.6 bushels per acre. In turn, U.S. ethanol facilities produced a record 15.3 billion gallons of ethanol and 42 million metric tons of high-protein animal feed. The U.S. ethanol industry supported 74,420 direct jobs in renewable fuel production and agriculture, as well as 264,756 indirect and induced jobs across all sectors of the economy—while contributing $42 billion to the Gross Domestic Product.

However, the current economic climate is tough for our nation’s farmers. Demand has not kept up with supply, requiring corn growers to sell their commodity below their cost of production. Net farm income fell to a seven-year low in 2016 and the aggregate value of crops hit its lowest point since 2010. But thanks to ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard, agriculture has weathered the storm.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the recent downturn in the farm economy would have been far worse without the ethanol industry’s stabilizing effects,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “That is why the RFA has made increasing demand for ethanol here and abroad our top priority. So, as we celebrate National Agriculture Day, we need to recommit ourselves to increasing demand, building the infrastructure and regulatory environment for higher level ethanol blends like E15 and E30, and removing unfair tariff and non-tariff barriers for free ethanol trade across the globe. If we are to truly honor our nation’s farmers, we must recognize their struggle and promote rural economic stability and growth. At the RFA, we do that every day.”

Renewable Fuels on Ag Day

Mar 21, 2017 29

On this National Agriculture Day, the Renewable Fuels Association would like to recognize and thank those involved in American agriculture, who provide abundant supplies of food, fuel and fiber to the world. Agriculture is the lifeblood of our industry, helping to produce the cleanest, lowest cost and highest source of octane fuel on the planet.

In 2016, U.S. farmers harvested a record corn crop of 15.1 billion bushels and achieved a new record average yield of 174.6 bushels per acre. In turn, U.S. ethanol facilities produced a record 15.3 billion gallons of ethanol and 42 million metric tons of high-protein animal feed. The U.S. ethanol industry supported 74,420 direct jobs in renewable fuel production and agriculture, as well as 264,756 indirect and induced jobs across all sectors of the economy—while contributing $42 billion to the Gross Domestic Product.

However, the current economic climate is tough for our nation’s farmers. Demand has not kept up with supply, requiring corn growers to sell their commodity below their cost of production. Net farm income fell to a seven-year low in 2016 and the aggregate value of crops hit its lowest point since 2010. But thanks to ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard, agriculture has weathered the storm.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the recent downturn in the farm economy would have been far worse without the ethanol industry’s stabilizing effects,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “That is why the RFA has made increasing demand for ethanol here and abroad our top priority. So, as we celebrate National Agriculture Day, we need to recommit ourselves to increasing demand, building the infrastructure and regulatory environment for higher level ethanol blends like E15 and E30, and removing unfair tariff and non-tariff barriers for free ethanol trade across the globe. If we are to truly honor our nation’s farmers, we must recognize their struggle and promote rural economic stability and growth. At the RFA, we do that every day.”

Indiana Celebrates Ag Day

Mar 20, 2017 33
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Tuesday is National Agriculture Day, and Indiana will recognize the annual event with a special activity at the State Capital. Indiana’s Family of Farmers is sponsoring a celebration on Tuesday, March 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Statehouse north atrium.

There will be an agriculture appreciation luncheon, exhibits from a variety of Indiana farm organizations and agencies, and much more! Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch will be honoring the winners of the Ag Day video contest. Indiana FFA representatives will read the Governor’s official proclamation designating March 21 “Ag Day” in Indiana.

In Washington, Tana Elliott, from Kosciusko County, will be honored as the winner of the first National Ag Day photo contest. This is an event meant to encourage college students around the nation to celebrate modern agriculture. The contest theme was “Agriculture: Food for Life” and is sponsored by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA).  Elliott, from Etna Green, is currently in her first year of attending Ivy Tech Community College. She is majoring in medical assisting and phlebotomy. She will receive a $1,000 scholarship for winning the contest. “National Ag Day is a good idea. That’s because, in this day and age, there are many people who need to learn more about farm life,” says Elliott.

Cuts in Ag Research Funding Will Cost Jobs at Purdue

Mar 20, 2017 40

Cuts in Ag Research Funding Will Cost Jobs at Purdue

President Trump is proposing a 21% cut in USDA funding. While Congress will ultimately determine the size of the budget, it is likely there will be cuts in most program areas.  In testimony before a  House subcommittee last week, Purdue Dean of Agriculture Jay Akridge said cuts in funds for research would mean a cut in staff at the West Lafayette campus, “Capacity funds are funds that come to our campus and we pay salaries with them — the salaries of staff and researchers that respond to local needs, that respond to the emergencies that hit our farmers like weather or pests. That kind of a hit means head count ultimately.”

Akridge said that some of these extension specialists work directly with farmers to help solve real world problems and that their loss would hurt Indiana farmers, “These are people funded by USDA funds that are doing applied research and working directly with farmers, especially the larger farming operations in the state.” Akridge testified before a  House Ag subcommittee hearing that focused on research funding in the new Farm Bill.  Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), who chaired the subcommittee, noted that USDA programs and Extension agencies at land-grant universities help make U.S. agriculture the envy of the world. But the private sector has taken over more of the workload in recent years as public funding has declined. “Agricultural research increasingly occupies a smaller share of the United States’ public research portfolio,” Davis said. “At the same time, other countries like China are rapidly outpacing U.S. public investment. Given that public research is often the foundation upon which private research is built, public investment is essential to maintaining the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture.”

ASA Chairman Richard Wilkins (center) testifies on the importance of research funding in the farm bill, along with Dr. Jay Akridge (left), dean of agriculture at Purdue University, representing the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), and Jim Carrington (right), Donald Danforth Plant Science Center president.

Some of the research that might be impacted at Purdue by cuts in funding would also have international implications, “We have a plant breeder working on orange corn, very bright orange corn,” said Akridge. He explained that this corn has increased levels of vitamin A content in the corn. The lack of vitamin A causes blindness in children in developing countries.  “This kind of sophisticated biology could help us develop a food source that would help with childhood blindness in developing countries around the world,” he stated.  Ackridge said funding for ag research has basically been flat for the past decade.