Tom Vilsack

Former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has some advice for current Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, who is scheduled to visit Iowa tomorrow.

“First and foremost Secretary Perdue obviously needs to visit a farm. He needs to talk to farmers and he also needs to hear the concerns that have been expressed by the biofuels industry about the waivers,” Vilsack said during a conference call with Mason City reporters that was arranged by the Biden campaign.

The oil industry is seeking exemptions from the Renewable Fuels Standard requirement that ethanol be blended into gasoline. Vilsack said Perdue can carry the message from farm country back to Washington.

“He needs to hear the fact that the EPA is sitting on 98 waivers,” Vilsack said, “that they need to be acted on and denied.”

Vilsack said four billion fewer gallons of ethanol have been produced over the last several years, pushing corn prices lower. Perdue is scheduled to take a helicopter tour over fields leveled by last month’s derecho and visit agribusinesses in the Ames area on Thursday. Perdue also plans to visit a farm where wetlands have been restored.

(By Bob Fisher, KGLO, Mason City)