The Renewable Fuels Association thanked the bipartisan House Biofuels Caucus today for urging Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to utilize funds made available to USDA as part of the recently passed CARES Act to assist ethanol producers who are suffering severe economic harm as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The letter which was signed by a bipartisan group of thirty-two Members of the House of Representatives noted that the biofuels industry is a vital market for the crops produced by our nation’s farmers , and urged USDA to take immediate action to ensure plants can retain skilled workers and continue production when market conditions improve.
“The biofuels sector provides a direct and significant boost to the value of corn and soybeans,” noted the Representatives.“Ethanol plants purchase two out of every five bushels of U.S. corn and biodiesel producers use over 8 billion pounds of soybean oil a year. Ethanol plants produce dried distillers grains (DDGs) as a byproduct, providing livestock farmers with a low-cost, high-protein component of animal feed.”
“On behalf of the nation’s ethanol industry, farmers across the county, and consumers who depend on the clean fuel and nutritious feed ethanol plants produce, I want to thank these congressional leaders for their vision and advocacy,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “The thirty-two Members of Congress who signed this letter recognize the important role ethanol plays in the economic stability of rural America, and they understand it is a necessity to support farmers and commodity markets by allowing funds recently allocated to USDA to protect the ethanol industry’s workforce. Even as gasoline demand is devastated by national and global stay–at–home orders, ethanol remains the single most important value-added market for farmers. We cannot allow this critically important industry to be further imperiled, and these House members should be applauded for their efforts to protect the 350,000 jobs supported by the ethanol industry.”
As of this week, more than half of the nation’s ethanol plants have fully idled operations or greatly reduced output. Nearly 40% of the industry’s production capacity is offline. Data released by the Energy Information Administration yesterday shows the ethanol industry produced at an annualized rate of just 10.3 billion gallons last week, down from 16.5 billion gallons in the last week of February.