Ag Secretary Vilsack says he’s working to make ethanol industry stronger

Source: By Amie Winters, WEAU • Posted: Sunday, March 7, 2021

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – Newly confirmed Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack had a message for National Farmers Union members this week that was music to the ethanol industry’s ears. Speaking to the group at their national meeting he said he has already been working with the nominated Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Michael Regan, to make our ethanol industry stronger and more aggressively deal with small refinery waivers. Vilsack said he doesn’t expect the same liberal use of those waivers during the Biden Administration that we saw during the Trump years. He also said he wants to work closely with EPA to implement the Renewable Fuels Standards in a way that is enforceable and respected.

New House Ag Committee Chair, Democrat David Scott of Georgia, also addressed the Farmers’ Union meeting this week. He told the farmers he wants to re-think disaster relief so the help can get out to rural areas quicker. To do that he wants legislation that would set up an independent funding source, independent of the regular appropriations process which he said is too slow and too political.

Another nominated official for the Biden Administration, Katherine Tai, nominated to be our next U.S. Trade Ambassador, finally had a confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee this week. Tai told the senators she plans to work closely with them to help grow the economy and aggressively enforce our trade deals with China, Mexico and our other trading partners. She said her experience dealing with Chinese trade issues during the Obama years gives her a strong working knowledge of their trade practices and she will be strong in making sure they play by the rules of the Phase One trade deal put in place last year. She also told the senators she would not commit to favoring the U.S. rejoining the Trans pacific partnership that then President Donald Trump opted us out of when he took office. The committee did vote to move her nomination to the Senate floor for a confirmation vote probably yet this week.

The February Class 3 milk price came out yesterday at $15.75—down 29 cents from January and $1.25 less than last February. Also released was the Class 1 price for fluid milk. That number was $15.54—up 40 cents from January. The Class 2 price for soft products was down 18 cents to $14 while the Class 4 price for butter and powder was $13.19—down 56 cents from January.