The agriculture industry has been dealt a blow according to Adam Nielsen, director of legislation and policy development for the Illinois Farm Bureau. Nielsen, who spends a significant amount of time promoting the agricultural industry in Washington, D.C., said the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed 2014 reduction of the amount of corn ethanol blended as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is of great concern as is the lack of a five-year Farm Bill.
“I think it’s time for those four tops to stop posturing and to finish the job,” said Nielsen when asked about the status of the Farm Bill while at a biodiesel groundbreaking and RFS roundtable event hosted by biofuel plant Patriot Renewable Fuels. “And that’s to get back in a room and reach agreements on some of these issues that are considerable issues, but it’s not the first time a Farm Bill has ever been negotiated in this fashion and some of the people who are involved in this have been there before. So we’re all counting on them to be leaders right now.”
Nielsen said a five year farm bill is needed and the industry cannot afford another extension of one or two years. “The policies we have on the books right now reflect agriculture of the previous decade. We need a farm bill that reflects where we are today. I think they understand that and we’ve been patient for a long time, but our patience is beginning to run thin. And it is time for leaders to lead,” said Nielsen.
He noted that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and Farm Bill in some ways are tied together. Because the RFS drives the use of corn and soybeans there is no need for commodity supports. But if the bottom of the floor falls out on the RFS, then there would again be a need for commodity supports and this will typically be legislated through a Farm Bill.
When asked why the Farm Bill so so important and what’s at stake if one is not passed, Nielsen pointed out, “The Farm Bill provides a measure of national security, something we all take for granted. It guarantees the basic nutritional needs of Americans will be met. It really helps support the nation’s conservation goals. It keeps our soils healthy into the future. And then it provides a support for production.”
Finally, Nielsen said the Farm Bill is more than a farm bill. “It is a jobs bill for our economy. And this is what is at stake.”
Listen to my interview with Adam Nielsen here where he discusses both the Farm Bill as well as the need for the RFS to stay in tact and how the two bills are intertwined: Ag Industry Dealt a Blow from EPA
Check out the Patriot Renewable Fuels photo album.