(Jamie) Welcome back to Farm Factor and Robert White.
(Duane) Duane Toews, joining you once again on AGam in Kansas, while at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Meetings in Kansas City, Missouri and Trade Talk. A chance to catch up with Robert White with the Renewable Fuels Association. And Robert, pretty important deadline coming up that a lot of people in the renewables world are hoping that maybe EPA listened to the comments from the rural country and where we really need to go with renewable fuels. (Robert) Exactly right. November 30th is the court implemented deadline for EPA to release not only this year’s obligations but last years and next years. We no doubt had multiple hearings, we’ve had multiple comments, thousands of comments from all over the country on the importance of the renewable fuel standard and really we just want them to enforce the statute that Congress has given them. We know the numbers are going to go up slightly if nothing else because of technical errors in their calculations. But we’re more concerned with the methodology for the reduction if they do reduce the statute because if the blend wall was used as their excuse, the statute did not give them that authority and I think it will open up some doors for potential legal challenges. (Duane) You referenced that blend wall, we think about the vast majority of the fuels in the country, I guess gasoline and carrying 10 percent ethanol in that. But some exciting opportunities to improve that usage that have come as of late as well. (Robert) Two weeks ago Secretary Vilsack in Kissimmee, Florida, announced $100 million dollars of USDA funds going to ethanol retail infrastructure. That’s matched with a $110 million dollars in private investments. So $210 million worth of ethanol infrastructure will be in place by the end of 2016. Again, referring back to EPA, if the blend wall excuse is used, that blend wall is gonna move significantly next year and hopefully 2017 can be put on much more aligned with the statute as it was originally written. (Duane) Combatting as well one of the arguments from the oil companies, that we don’t have the infrastructure placed to push this any farther, in terms of the ability at the pump for the consumer to take care of that. And it addresses that issue as well. (Robert) Oh it definitely helps. The oil companies that say they have no control over it are the same ones that are blocking it through franchise and supply agreements. And we continue to say the blend wall is something they built with their own brick and mortar, and if they just get out of the way, which we know why they won’t but if they would this would take of itself. So, we’re very happy to see the leadership from Secretary Vilsack and we hope that the rest of the administration follows suit at the end of the month. (Duane) We think about the world scene, obviously the United States is not the only ethanol market, or renewables market in the world. But an important meeting coming up that maybe we don’t bang the drum as loudly as we should. (Robert) The first week of December the Paris talks on climate change are taking place and multiple countries, in fact President Obama, Secretary Kerry will be headed to Paris the same day as the RVO numbers come out for the RFS later this month. And we have been hounding the administration to take advantage of the RFS. You have a ten year program that has done wonders for climate change. You need to publicly acknowledge that while you’re in Paris as several other countries, I think we’re up to 21 countries, plan to mention biofuels as part of their climate change programs. And here the United States, with the largest program on the planet so far, has no plans to mention it. (Duane) Unfortunately, and we think about what it’s meant to the rural economies across the country, supporting what is a big piece of our gross domestic product. (Robert) No doubt about that. We’ve seen rural communities in Kansas and across the country revive from whether an ethanol plant’s there or not, their presence has helped revive and return some of the young folk to the farms. And unfortunately we’re back into a situation where we have corn prices below production costs in many areas, and we’d like to do our part in the ethanol industry in drying more corn but it’s up to EPA and exports and some other factors to allow us to do that. (Duane) Well our thanks to Robert White, Renewable Fuels Association, joining us in Kansas City. Jamie we’ll send it back to you in studio.
(Jamie) Thanks again for joining us at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Meetings in Kansas City. I’m your host Jamie Bloom and I hope you enjoyed today’s show. See you next week on Farm Factor – we’re here every Tuesday on AGam in Kansas.