Federal legislative update: RFS, TPA and conservation compliance

Anna Boroff

Anna Boroff, MCGA Public Policy Director.

Yesterday I posted an ag and corn-focused update from the recently completed Minnesota legislative session. You can read that post here to get caught up on buffer legislation, the bioeconomy bill, ag research funding and other state legislation.

Today, I’d like to focus on a couple of federal items:

Renewable Volume Obligations
The deadline is June 1 for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) per the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In other words, the EPA has until June 1 to release their numbers for the amount of ethanol that will be blended into our fuel supply as called for in the RFS (legislation passed in 2005 and modified in 2007 that sets targets how much ethanol to blend in our country’s gasoline supply).

I’m hearing that because 2014 is already over (EPA missed the 2014 deadline and didn’t bother releasing a number), EPA will base that year’s number on actual production. For 2015, the number likely will be based on biofuels production through June 1 and projected through the rest of the year.

The number to watch is 2016. If EPA cuts the target amount of ethanol to blend in 2016, it means less cleaner burning, renewable homegrow biofuels in our fuel supply. That’d be bad news for corn farmers, bad news for consumers and bad news for everyone.

I know this RFS battle has been going on for a long time. I also know it can be a bit confusing with all the acronyms, missed deadlines and numbers. If you need a quick refresher on what the RFS is and what this fight has been about, click here.

Trade Promotion Authority
Look for a vote in the Senate on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) before the end of the week. If you need a refresher on what TPA is and why it’s important to farmers, the National Corn Growers Website is a great resource.

TPA is a big deal. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to reach out to your congressman or senator and ask them to pass TPA as soon as possible.

Reminder to certify
If you haven’t already, make sure you certify conservation compliance with your local USDA office by June 1! The 2014 Farm Bill requires form AD-1026 to be on file for farmers to remain eligible for crop insurance support.

More information on certifying can be read here. Click here to find contact information for your local USDA Service Center.

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