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Dear EPA: The RFS Supports Food AND Fuel

September 10, 2015


By Coral Didion, Legal and Programs Analyst at Didion Milling, Inc. Food versus fuel is the misconception that we are diverting farmland and crops toward biofuel production to the detriment of the food supply. Didion Milling, which has been in business since 1972, producing corn meal, grits, cones, and flours as food ingredients and products, is proof that this theory is pure myth. We are one of the largest producers in the United States of corn-soy blend for the U.N. World Food Programme, which uses our products to feed the poorest children in the world. We are also an ethanol plant. Our ethanol plant uses the less desirable parts of the corn that remain after the milling operations are complete. From those less desirable parts, we create ethanol and byproducts such as Dried Distillers Grains with Soluble (DDGS), which is animal feed. We create food, feed, and biofuel. None of our farmland is used solely for biofuel production. At Didion, it isn't food VS. fuel, it truly is food AND fuel. In a very real sense, our ethanol production directly supports the global feeding program and allows us to provide a better price to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the WFP. Without the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to support ethanol use we could not continue our ethanol production and the price of our food products would increase, including the price of the corn-soy blend that we send to feed hungry children. The RFS allows us to send food aid to more children with the same amount of appropriated dollars. The RFS represents a vital component of our nation's energy policy; it is moving us toward energy independence, which is vital. The RFS is also a vital component of our nation's food policy; it helps Didion provide the best possible price to those who rely on our food ingredients and our food products. And, the RFS is a vital component of our nation's economic policy; together, ethanol plants like ours have created hundreds of thousands of jobs, many in otherwise forgotten rural communities. The proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to slash the biofuels volumes for 2014 through 2016 will undermine all of the positive achievements, progress, and humanitarian efforts Didion has worked hard to build over the past 43 years. We have invested and worked hard based on the promise that EPA would fulfill the goals of the RFS through 2022. On behalf of Didion and the Wisconsin BioFuels Association, and our workers, our vendors, our suppliers, and the thousands of corn growers who continually produce higher yields of corn with fewer inputs, we are hopeful the EPA will reconsider its proposal and implement the RFS as Congress intended before the damage is done.