Bruce Rohwer. past-president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Paullina, says corn growers hope to sway the Environmental Protection Agency to increase the renewable fuels standard, or RFS.
“We are attempting to let EPA know that they still are not heading in the right direction on the amount of ethanol that should be included in the nation’s fuel supply,” Rohwer says. Iowa is the nation’s number-one producer of corn-based ethanol and he says the agency’s proposed rule changes will significantly hurt the industry.
“In 2007, with the RFS, there were certain levels of corn ethanol that Congress stipulated should be as part of the nation’s fuel supply,” Rohwer says. “EPA, under pressure from Big Oil, chose to try to find ways to back off those inclusion rates.” He says farmers in the region have already been struggling with several issues in recent years with corn demand on the decline and they don’t need this new challenge.
“With the livestock industry having had its difficulties, from cattle with the drought several years ago, hogs with PEV last year, we have the chickens with avian flu this year,” Rohwer says. “We have the U.S. dollar going through the roof and that hurts exports.” Rowher says there are 32 Iowa corn growers attending the rally in Washington. He says Midwest congressional members have generally been sympathetic to the plight of the corn grower, but he says many urban legislators have turned a deaf ear when corn-based ethanol is discussed.
(Reporting by Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)