Headed into harvest, the EPA’s small refinery waivers are still on farmers’ minds. So far during the Trump administration, there have been 85 waivers issued—totaling 4 billion gallons of ethanol.
Last week, Michigan Corn Growers Association President Matt Frostic added his name to a letter to the president signed by leaders from corn grower organizations in 23 states to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, whole.
“It definitely hampered our corn markets, not only in Michigan, but throughout the nation,” said Frostic. “As this has trickled down, it’s starting to hamper the ethanol plants, and we’re seeing plants shut down or cut their production by 20 to 25 percent based on the ethanol demand and the supply of corn this year.”
In August, President Trump announced he would be unveiling an ethanol package. So far, the details on when and what it could be haven’t been released. Frostic does believe this could have more impacts to the commander in chief.
“From a political standpoint, President Trump knows he needs the rural vote with these forgiveness issues going on that really chips away the ag support,” said Frostic. “We see it hit home with the ethanol plants and our demand going down, that will resonate into the election”
There are some analysts saying the president’s ethanol package could include infrastructure to get E15 in more places. Frostic hasn’t heard any confirmation on that, but whatever comes of the ethanol package, Frostic there are continuous conversations on using ethanol domestically in the future.
“We’re in favor of any of those types of things—anything that uses a domestic product like ethanol, we’re fully in support,” he said. “When they come our with these ideas and thoughts, we will be at the table waiting to see how they washed out for us as an industry and move forward.”
Frostic said that with all the challenges to ag this year, anything that can add stability to the ag economy, MCGA will back it.