Soy Briefs11/21/2019 | Biodiesel, Policy, Economics
Please note: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the next Iowa Soybean Association E-Weekly Newsletter will be sent Wednesday, November 27.
NATIONAL BIODIESEL BOARD ELECTS IOWA FARMER
Iowa Soybean Association Treasurer Dave Walton was elected this week to serve on the board of directors for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). The soybean, corn and cattle producer is a strong advocate for agriculture and the biodiesel industry.
“It’s quite an honor to serve on the governing board of this diverse group,” said Walton. “It’s humbling to be elected and to have the support of farmers and industry leaders. My priorities and our industry’s priorities include the biodiesel tax credit and fixing Renewable Volume Obligations, Small Refinery Waivers and the Argentinian trade circumstances.”
In addition to accepting his new role during NBB meetings in Washington, D.C., Walton joined approximately 150 biodiesel stakeholders in meetings with Iowa’s congressional representatives who remain supportive of the renewable fuel. The delegation met with elected officials, urging congressional action on several issues including approval of the biodiesel tax credit. “We have to have this tax credit done by Dec. 20 when they go on recess or it’s probably not going to happen,” he said. “Some legislators said it might not get done by the end of this session, but we reminded them we’ve been hearing that same song and dance for 22 months now. It can’t continue.”
Walton stressed the importance of having farmers in the room during talks with congressional representatives about policy issues impacting the industry, including the need to renew the Biodiesel Tax Incentive.
“This is no longer a difficult situation,” he said, “but a dire one. If the biodiesel tax credit does not get pushed through, half of the fuel producers that were in the room with me will not be there next year.”
Ten biodiesel facilities in the U.S. have either closed or severely cut back production since the beginning of the year. Walton said it’s more important than ever that soybean and biodiesel leaders communicate the importance and consequences of the issue with elected officials.
“Our Congressional leaders need to know the biodiesel industry has been brought to its knees,” said Brad Wilson, IBB chair. Wilson is president and general manager of Western Iowa Energy, based in Wall Lake, Iowa. “We are thankful for our entire Iowa delegation’s leadership in fighting for the tax incentive and for restored integrity of the RFS, but now the rubber hits the road. Many of us can’t hold on past December. The U.S. biodiesel industry's continued success, and tens of thousands of jobs hang in the balance. We’re depending on Congress, who put policies into place to encourage the buildup of the industry, to stop this real economic fallout. Only an immediate extension of the tax credit can stop more plant closures, job losses and reduction in use of the greenest fuel on the planet."
USDA ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENTS TO THE UNITED SOYBEAN BOARD
Keota, Iowa farmer and past Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) President Lindsay Greiner has been newly-appointed to a three-year term on the United Soybean Board (USB). Seventy-three farmer directors from across the country serve as USB directors. They oversee the proper implementation of soybean checkoff funding supporting research, market development and promotional efforts maximizing profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. Greiner was appointed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and will be sworn in during USB’s December meeting held in St. Louis.
“It’s an honor to be appointed to serve the soybean farmers of not only Iowa, but the nation,” said Greiner. “I look forward to overseeing and contributing to projects that utilize our checkoff investment wisely. My experience as ISA President has shown me the many valuable ways checkoff funds serve the farmer,” he said. “It is a privilege to continue that effort and momentum on the national level. I look forward to seeing a host of new soybean uses to help with demand during these challenging economic times.”
The board is authorized by the Soybean Promotion, Research and Information Act and is composed of 78 members representing 29 states and Eastern and Western regions. Members must be soybean producers nominated by a qualified state soybean board. More information about the board and a list of board members is available on the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) United Soybean Board webpage and on the board’s website, Unitedsoybean.org.
USDA ANNOUNCES DETAILS OF TRADE AID
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently announced the second installment of Market Facilitation Program (MFP) program payments used to offset some of the damage done by trade retaliation through the U.S.-China trade war.
Producers of MFP-eligible commodities will now be eligible to receive 25% of the total payment expected, in addition to the 50% they received from the payments issued this summer. USDA began making the second tranche of payments this week and said the third and final round of payments could be made in January 2020 if conditions warrant.
“It doesn’t fix the problem and doesn’t make us whole, but it gives us a little extra cash to pay down notes or at least stay current on some of the money that’s borrowed,” said Iowa Soybean Association President (ISA) Tim Bardole of Rippey.
EPA'S COMMENT PERIOD ON RFS ENDS NOV. 29
On October 15, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed rule that was intended to restore the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard. It does no such thing. Instead, the proposal backtracks on a pledge by President Trump to ensure future Renewable Volume Obligations would account for Small Refinery Exemptions (SRE) based on a three-year rolling average of past waivers. This previously agreed-upon proposal would provide certainty to a struggling biodiesel industry including refineries and farmers.
Rather than restoring biodiesel demand based on the actual lost gallons, the EPA says it will look at past recommendations from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The EPA consistently ignored DOE recommendations for years under the current administration. The plan further erodes farmer confidence in the administration’s ability to bring closure to the all-important issue of biofuels and its place in America’s energy future. Countless farm families and biodiesel producers will continue to face lost income and further job cuts. More facilities will close as a result of the continued inaction and the economic losses it creates.
If left unchallenged, the rule will further gut the RFS, kill even more demand for soybeans and biodiesel and shutter additional biofuels facilities. The EPA must uphold the administration’s commitment to restore demand based on the actual three-year SRE average, beginning with the 2020 biofuel standard and years to follow. The already-waning vitality of America’s rural communities cannot afford to keep playing regulatory games with the EPA.
The situation is critical. We need you to act — right now. Tell the EPA to properly account for RFS small refinery exemptions by submitting comments on the proposed rule here.
Let President Trump (@realDonaldTrump), Andrew Wheeler (@EPAAWheeler), U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue (@SecretarySonny) and your followers know you have submitted comments by posting on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram — be sure to use the hashtag #RFSworks.
MIDWEST PROPANE SHORTAGE CONTINUES
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Tuesday approved temporary emergency shipments of propane to help alleviate a shortage of the fuel as Midwestern farmers need it to dry grain.
The agency approved the Enterprise TE Products Pipeline Company to ship propane from Mont Belvieu, Texas, to Monee, Ill., for a period of 30 days. The company asked FERC on Nov. 13 to allow it to provide emergency propane service to the region due to “record demand” for propane resulting from unseasonably cold weather combined with crop drying demands.
Gov. Reynolds signed an emergency proclamation last week to assist the transportation industry during the state’s ongoing propane shortage. The proclamation waives the oversize and overweight transportation requirements for commercial trucks hauling propane and anhydrous. The emergency proclamation goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16 and expires at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2019.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following statement in response:
“Thank you, Gov. Reynolds, for continuing to work alongside our department, the agriculture community and propane suppliers to identify solutions to help alleviate the ongoing supply challenges around the state,” said Secretary Naig. “We’ll continue to work with state and federal partners to monitor the situation and try to help resolve the propane delivery challenges that are affecting our rural communities.”
This is the second time Gov. Reynolds has signed an Emergency Executive Order to assist with the supply challenges resulting from increased seasonal propane demands. On Nov. 1, Gov. Reynolds exempted drivers of commercial motor vehicles delivering propane from the hours of service requirements outlined in Iowa Code. That proclamation runs through 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 30.
AMERICAN POULTRY FARMERS REGAIN ACCESS TO CHINA
United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue released the following statement on China’s decision to lift its ban on poultry imports from the United States:
“The United States welcomes China’s decision to finally lift its unwarranted ban on U.S. poultry and poultry products. This is great news for both America’s farmers and China’s consumers,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “China is an important export market for America’s poultry farmers, and we estimate they will now be able to export more than $1 billion worth of poultry and poultry products each year to China. Reopening China to U.S. poultry will create new export opportunities for our poultry farmers and support thousands of workers employed by the U.S. poultry industry.”
Secretary Perdue said, “After being shut out of the market for years, U.S. poultry producers and exporters welcome the reopening of China’s market to their products. America’s producers are the most productive in the world and it is critical they be able to sell their bounty to consumers in other parts of the globe. We will continue our work to expand market access in important markets like China as well as other countries, to support our producers and U.S. jobs.”
China has banned all U.S. poultry since January 2015 due to an avian influenza outbreak in December 2014, even though the United States has been free of this disease since August 2017. The United States exported over $500 million worth of poultry products to China in 2013. The United States is the world’s second largest poultry exporter, with global exports of poultry meat and products of $4.3 billion last year.
In 2018, the U.S. poultry industry consumed 55% of soybean meal used for livestock production, or nearly 20 million tons.
GOODYEAR TO INCREASE SOYBEAN OIL USE BY 25 PERCENT
United Soybean Board’s work with Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company continues to drive demand for U.S. soybean oil. The tire manufacturer’s latest sustainability report shares the company’s goal of increasing soybean oil consumption by 25 percent in 2020. Furthermore, the company wants to fully replace all petroleum in its tires by 2040. Watch this video from USB’s Biobased Products Stakeholders’ Dialogue to hear Goodyear’s chief engineer for polymer science and technology describe how the Goodyear-USB collaboration has helped keep the company’s product development moving forward with U.S. Soy.
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