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NOT OVER: Debate Over RFS & Farm Bill Continues

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Thousands of farmers are in Des Moines to check out the latest equipment at the Iowa Power Farming Show.

New tractors and combines are nice, but many farmers would be happy with some certainty, instead.

2013 was a great year production wise for Iowa farmers, but a great harvest doesn't necessarily provide the money to buy new equipment.

Farmers like Darrell Hock say there's no use in having twice the corn if he has to sell it at half the price.

"Our prices are only 50% of what they were a year ago,” said Hock.

On Monday, a conference committee reached a deal on a new farm bill that could soon make its way to the House and Senate floors.

The final draft will likely eliminate direct payments farmers receive simply for putting a crop in the ground.

Monte Shaw, the director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says farmers were willing to give up those payments.

Farmers believed the demand for ethanol and bio-diesel would keep prices high.

"They could do that because they had a market. They had the RFS to create a market,” said Shaw.

The RFS is the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Shaw says lawmakers are threatening to scale it back, which would mean less ethanol and bio-diesel in America's fuel supply.

In turn, corn and soybean values could plummet.

"You took away the safety net out of the farm bill and now you're yanking the market from underneath farmers. That is a recipe for rural economic disaster,” Shaw told Channel 13 News.

The RFS and a new farm bill may be two separate debates, but add it up and you'll find each depends on the other.

Iowa farmers have a lot of incentive to say "don’t mess with the RFS".

"I'm absolutely worried about both,” said Bill Crowe, a farmer from Indianola.

Both Senator Tom Harkin and Senator Charles Grassley have urged the EPA not to reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard.

As far as their support for the new farm bill, Harkin, a member of the conference committee backs it calling it a sound, balanced, bi-partisan bill.

In a statement to Channel 13 News, Grassley said he was still reviewing the bill.

He agrees it provides certainty for farmers, but says he still weighing the positives and negatives.

The debate on both seems to be far from over.


  • Bart

    today’s the last day to oppose the RFS ethanol sham to the EPA.
    gas usage is down therefore corn-ethanol should be reduced accordingly, better yet, completely abolished !

    from planting to harvest to refinement to delivery actually takes more than one gallon of fuel to make one gallon of ethanol.

  • Jon

    FAIL. google search: “Ethanol myths”, you will find literally hundreds of sites debunking exactly what you just said.

    • Troy Hendrickson

      But, they won’t debunk the issues of reduced performance in many vehicles which result in more gas being burned than the ethanol replaces, or the economic loss to the consumer.

      The we can discuss their fraud concerning E15, which is not warranted for any vehicle 2012 or older except for FFVs, but unlawfully labeled to state it’s approved fro any vehicle 2001 or newer (state and federal law require truthful advertising so the label needs to be changed.

      And don’t forget, ethanol is so safe that the ethanol boys are trying for a second time to pass a law that absolves them from damage claims arising from ethanol.

      By the way google ethanol harm and you’ll find as much information saying it’s bad.

      So time for Farm Bureau to stop ripping off America and let ethanol die.

      By the way, the farmer in the article doesn’t seem to be very bright, he doesn’t even understand that it’s his and his pals welfare driven greed that led to the over production responsible for low grain prices. Had farmers not been greedy, they wouldn’t be in this situation of trying to force the tax payers to buy things that are bad for them and sticking their hands in our back pocket.

  • Bart

    Jon, a bit worried about the corn-eth sham coming to light?
    I goggled just for the cause:
    results: Ethanol myths busted via Monte Shaw & CO.

  • Bart

    In response to concerns regarding the RFS, the EPA last year – in a policy reversal – proposed to reduce the corn ethanol levels for 2014 to 13.01 billion gallons from 13.8 billion gallons. Food supply chain stakeholders, including NCCR, believe that corn quota is still too high.

    “The proposed volumes will continue to provide incentives to overplant corn, which will unfortunately continue the distortions in food commodity costs that have existed since the enactment of the RFS,” Green commented. “Poultry and livestock farmers, food processors and food retailers such as restaurants have borne the brunt of higher food commodity prices caused by the RFS since its enactment.”

  • paul from marshalltown iowa

    Ethanol killed my new mower! Was only one year old.Repairman told me never to use enethanol mix. I’ll never use ethanol products again.

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