Op-Ed: Ethanol a lifeline for agriculture

Source: By Scott McPheeters, Kearney Hub • Posted: Friday, December 14, 2018

Farm income has declined by nearly 50 percent in the past five years. While we know our business is cyclical, anything that allows us to have a stable marketplace helps tremendously. At this point, our agricultural exports are disrupted, even though other countries still need to buy the food and feed what we produce.

However, what all Americans can do to help, is use a product we make and can use right here in the United States. E15 fuel contains 15 percent ethanol, which is made from farm crops like corn. The fermentation process uses the excess starch and leaves behind one third of the bushel as high protein livestock feed. Ethanol provides farmers access to a valuable market for their crops, but possibly the biggest benefit for everyone is air quality improvement, since the blending of ethanol promotes more complete combustion and thus reduces tailpipe emissions by more than 30 percent.

EPA has approved use of this clean renewable fuel in all gasoline autos and light trucks 2001 and newer. Access to fuel markets year-round promises to drive demand for an additional two billion bushels of American corn, helping family farmers weather the current agriculture commodity price struggles.

Policymakers in Washington must align with President Trump’s directive to get year-round E15 done by pushing the EPA to expedite the process so farmers and drivers will not miss another opportunity next summer due to an antiquated Ried Vapor Pressure rule.

Scott McPheeters, Gothenburg

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