The National Turkey Federation and National Chicken Council, with a coalition of poultry and livestock groups, announced their support for the "Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act" which was introduced December 12 by Senators Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Kay Hagan, D-NC. In a coalition letter urging each member of the U.S. Senate to commit support as cosponsors, the bipartisan legislation was hailed as a simple, effective solution to the problems caused by corn diverted to ethanol, driving up feed costs and consumer prices for meat.
"We commend Senators Feinstein, Coburn and Hagan for legislation that goes directly at the heart of the problem now acknowledged with the Renewable Fuels Standard," said National Turkey Federation President Joel Brandenberger. "Corn is a major part of poultry production costs. Government's forced competition between corn for ethanol and corn for animal feed occurs without regard for when there is a bad harvest. The resulting volatility in corn prices hit hard, but then recedes slowly. Turkeys are being fed off last season's purchase of high-priced corn, and those costs linger well after the lower-priced corn harvest available now."
"Congressional action to repeal the corn ethanol mandate remains the most viable pathway to allowing all users of corn to have equal standing in the marketplace, and we thank Senators Feinstein, Coburn and Hagan for leading this effort in the Senate," said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown. "We know all too well from last year that corn crop projections and inventories can be erased from Mother Nature's wrath. This important legislation will help us ensure this vital resource is appropriately allocated. It is clear that the momentum in Washington is shifting and our elected officials and regulators are realizing that the supplies for our feed, food and fuel must not be pitted against each other."
The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), created in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and revised in 2007, sets a target for 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels blended into gasoline by 2022 with the corn ethanol mandate scheduled to reach 15 billion gallons by 2015. Each year, EPA issues RFS rules with increasing volumes of renewable fuel blending that also include cellulosic and advanced biofuels that do not compete as feed sources.
The Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act would maintain the cellulosic and advanced biofuel mandates, providing the incentive for the development of next generation biofuels that do not rely on food-based feedstock. This legislation would help the corn ethanol industry move to a sustainable business model while easing the pressure of the agricultural feed supply raising livestock and poultry for American families.