Potential changes to RFS harm nation’s corn growers

Secretary of Ag Sonny Perdue (right) speaks with corn farmers at Commodity Classic


Reports are now surfacing that a meeting will take place Monday to negotiate potential changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It is expected the meeting will include both supporters of the ethanol and the oil industry, including lawmakers and executives from each.

Potential outcomes from this meeting may include devastating changes to the RFS that would greatly impact the nation’s corn growers, specifically a RIN cap or change to the current RIN structure. A new study conducted by Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) finds that a RIN cap would ultimately result in lower corn prices. In the study, CARD economists project, under a RIN cap scenario, a drop of 25 cents per bushel in corn prices.

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association is urging its members to contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue directly to ensure the agency is advocating for farmers.

Take action now:

  • Call USDA at (202) 720-2791 (Press 2 to speak to an information specialist, and ask to leave a message for Secretary Perdue)
  • Tweet him at @SecretarySonny & @USDA


The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) became a source of concern for the nation’s corn farmers at Commodity Classic in Anaheim this week, as news broke about potential drastic changes to the program.

On Monday, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) met with the Trump administration to address changes to the RFS. Shortly after the meeting, reports started surfacing that a potential agreement was in place that would cap the price of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs)—a devastating move for the nation’s corn farmers.

RINs serve as the backbone of the RFS by providing an incentive to refineries and gas retailers to blend ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply. By capping the value of RINs and the incentive to retailers and refineries, the volume of ethanol blended into our fuel supply would be drastically reduced, eliminating a crucial market for corn farmers.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who was in attendance at Commodity Classic, maintained his public support for the RFS when speaking to attendees during the general session. However, the Secretary did not specifically address RINs during his speech.

To emphasize the importance of RINs, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) launched a call-to-action to members via email. The message urged Minnesota farmers to contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue directly to express their concern with changes to the RFS and the current RIN structure. Minnesota growers reached out via social media and also called the USDA directly. Thank you to our grassroots members for your engagement on this topic. The voices of farmers and rural Minnesotan’s do make an impact.

On Thursday President Trump again met with senators, Administrator Pruitt, Secretary Perdue, and representatives from both renewable fuels and oil industries. The follow-up meeting was an improvement from earlier in the week, as RFS advocates had an opportunity to discuss allowing year-round E15 sales to keep RIN prices down, as opposed to the hard cap. The meeting ended with both sides agreeing more research was needed to determine the impact of both capping RINs and year-round E15 sales. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who advocated for the RFS in the meeting, released a statement saying all parties agreed additional research into economic impact was needed. All groups are expected to come together for another round of negotiations next week, but no date has been set.

MCGA will continue to work with its partners in both the renewable fuel industry and the ag sector to ensure the Trump administration understands the importance of a strong RFS to Minnesota corn farmers, their families, and our state’s rural communities.

For additional updates on this issue be sure to check back on our blog, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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