The Renewable Fuel Standard and the farmer

The US Renewable Fuel Standard is an example of an important policy that not only contributes to the economic success of all types of farmers and producers, but the viability of the industry over the long term as well. Many have tried to paint the agricultural community as divided on the economics of ethanol, but in reality, the industry are great fans of renewable fuel. A reason is that more than one-third of the corn used in ethanol production returns to the food system in the form of dried distillers grains. 

More nutricious

These grains are more nutritious than traditional feed and higher in protein, which cuts down on the amount of feed purchased and makes it a more economical choice for farmers and the more economical choices for farmers equate into savings passed on to consumers. Industry estimates suggest dried distillers grains provide a 25 percent savings compared to corn feed.

Whether farmers are growing the corn that is converted into dried distillers grains through ethanol production or buying them to feed their livestock, this byproduct is an economic driver of the agricultural industry, creating both supply and demand out of what might otherwise be considered “waste.”

Last year, more than 39 million metric tons of animal feed were produced at ethanol plants, and about half of that feed was used in the beef industry. Dried distillers grains are also a crucial export product of the American agricultural industry. Last year alone, more than a quarter of dried distillers grains produced domestically were exported to more than 50 countries worldwide.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) recently said, “Agriculture is a major bright spot in our economy.”

From good years to bad, years of harvest surplus to years of extreme drought, the American agriculture industry continues to grow, innovate and persevere. Our resiliency is bolstered by policies like the Renewable Fuel Standard that allow us to strengthen and easily adapt to ever changing market demands. Let us continue to grow and endure as a bright spot in the American economy.

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This was an extract from an article in the Hill by By Bill Couser and Gene Baumgardner – 06/11/13 06:52 PM ET

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