WASHINGTON — U.S. Congressman Mike McIntyre, a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, is leading an effort to help North Carolina farmers by urging a stop to the corn ethanol mandate which has spiked the price of corn, harming, officials say, North Carolina farmers.
“We simply do not have enough corn to be mandating its use for ethanol production,” McIntrye said during a press conference Thursday. “Relaxing the ethanol mandate is a sensible approach to relieving demand pressures on corn that drive up the prices for families at the grocery store and farmers that rely on feed for their operations. Waiving the renewable fuel standard is a needed action that the EPA must take. ”
With nearly 90 percent of the United States’ corn crop planted in areas affected by drought, and approximately 40 percent of the crop planted in the hardest hit spots, agricultural and food industry businesses are bracing for an all time high in corn prices. McIntyre’s effort to waive the ethanol mandate, his staff said, would relax the renewable fuel standard and reduce the strain on the food and feed supply from the dedication of corn to ethanol production.
This price spike in corn has led to a rise in input costs for livestock producers, particularly the pork and poultry growers prevalent in eastern North Carolina.
McIntyre is a lead signatory of a bipartisan letter to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency calling for a waiver to the Renewable Fuel Standard. Over 150 members of Congress have joined him on the letter, which was sent to the administrator today.
The RFS mandates that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels be used in our nation’s fuel supply by 2020, with as much as 15 billion gallons of the mandate being fulfilled by corn ethanol. In 2013, the mandate is estimated to be 16.55 gallons of renewable fuel. Over 80 percent of this mandate — 13.8 billion gallons — could be fulfilled by grain ethanol that comes from corn unless action is taken to waive the mandate for fuel blenders.
The law allows the Administrator of the EPA to reduce the required volume of renewable fuels in any year based on severe harm to the economy or environment of a state, a region or the United States, or in the event of inadequate domestic supply of renewable fuel.