Iowa soybean leaders testify at EPA hearing, push for promised RFS deal10/30/2019 | Biodiesel, Policy, Economics
By Katie James, ISA public relations manager
“This Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Administrator Wheeler and this administration are putting the petroleum industry ahead of American farmers, future generations and the American economy,” said Madrid soybean farmer Morey Hill in testimony at an EPA hearing in Ypsilanti, Michigan Wednesday.
Hill, who also serves as an American Soybean Association director on the biodiesel committee, was one of two Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) directors testifying to EPA officials at a public hearing on the supplemental rule they released earlier this month. The EPA rule runs counter to what President Trump agreed to when he met just last month with Midwest agriculture leaders and elected officials. If left unchallenged, the rule will further gut the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), kill even more demand for soybeans and biodiesel and shutter additional biofuels facilities.
Robb Ewoldt, a Davenport soybean farmer also traveled to the hearing to voice his concerns.
“Farming is a risky business already,” said Ewoldt. “I don’t need the EPA toying with and taking away another critical market for my crops – biodiesel and the RFS.”
Hill and Ewoldt testified that farmers across the Midwest are struggling with too many headwinds that take away their hope of financial stability. Between a dwindling demand for soybeans stemming from continued tariffs in China, already-low commodity prices and weather occurrences that prevent farmers from planting and harvesting on time, the two farmers shared the dire need for domestic policy issues that help — not hinder — American farmers.
“The EPA’s proposal once again pulls the rug out from under my feet and every farmer out there just trying to get by,” said Hill. “Biodiesel producers severely impacted by the lost demand these small refinery waivers create have already shuttered their doors. Each time another door closes, the future of my farm gets even more uncertain.”
The Davenport farmer detailed how farm income is at its lowest in more than a decade and that the crop he is harvesting right now is well below the break-even point.
“I’m not happy. My farming friends aren’t happy either,” said Ewoldt. “I’m here today in fear for the future of agriculture, my family’s farm, and my two boys’ opportunity to work hard and make a living the same way I do now.
“I feel betrayed,” he continued. “I’m afraid this Administration has lost touch with the folks that ultimately put it in office.”
The two soybean farmers join a multitude of agricultural leaders advocating for the original deal EPA released with President Trump’s promise to restore the renewable gallons lost through small refinery waivers. A comment period for the proposed rule is open until Nov. 29.
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