Brazil Both Customer/Competitor of U.S. Ethanol
Brazil, the world’s second largest ethanol producer after the United States, plays a large role in U.S. ethanol markets. Not only is Brazil one of the nation’s customers, it is also a competitor and a supplier. Brazilian ethanol is derived from sugar, which is desirable because it is categorized as an advanced biofuel under the renewable fuel standard. Through July of this year, the United States exported 770 million gallons of ethanol, with 40 percent of it going to Brazil. Of the 24 million gallons of ethanol imported into the United States, nearly all originated in Brazil. During this period, the Brazilian government took measures to lower fuel prices, causing sugar mills to switch from producing ethanol to sugar, because of higher returns. The resulting ethanol shortage has been filled by expanding imports from the United States. In response, the Brazilian government announced the imposition of a 20-percent duty on U.S. ethanol imports above the tariff rate quota of 160 million gallons (less than 4 months of shipments at current export levels). This will sharply reduce the competitiveness of U.S. corn-starch ethanol in Brazil and significantly reduce U.S. exports. Brazil is also implementing a new energy policy, called RenovaBio, which will increase ethanol production and consumption as part of greenhouse gas reduction commitments made under the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.
Ag Community Funding Barbed Wire Fencing Relief
Thousands of miles of barbed wire fence was destroyed in Montana this past summer due to one of the worst wildfire seasons on record. With millions of acres burned, Ag Community Relief has established the “Western Wire Roundup” in effort to help western ranchers rebuild.
Having already sent twelve loads of hay to the region, Ag Community Relief will be collecting donations over the next few months to send a full semi-tractor trailer load of Sheffield barbed wire fence (560 rolls), that meets or exceeds ASTM Class 1 standards, to the farmers and ranchers affected by the wildfires. Stockmen’s Feed Bunk, a ranch supply company based in Boise City, OK, sold fencing supplies to the ranchers of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas at cost after spring wildfires destroyed over a million acres in those three states. They have agreed to do this again for the ranchers of the Northern Rockies. For information on how to sponsor a roll of wire for $50 or to make a monetary donation towards this project, visit https://www.agcommunityrelief.com/product-page/barbed-wire-roll-donation.
House Ag Committee Listens to NY Producers
The House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (TX-R), Ranking Member Collin Peterson (MN-D) and members of the committee hosted a farm bill listening session, “Conversations in the Field,” at SUNY Cobleskill in Cobleskill, New York. This listening session follows sessions earlier this year in Minnesota, Florida, Texas, California and Illinois.
“I appreciated hearing from the good people of New York as we dive head first into writing the farm bill. From dairy to specialty crops to our nutrition assistance programs, we received a lot of feedback that we’ll use to inform the draft of our bill,” said Chairman Conaway.
“This final listening session allowed those in the Northeast to share with the committee their thoughts on what the next farm bill should look like. I appreciated everyone taking the time to join us, not just today but at the previous listening sessions as well. I look forward to taking this information back to Washington and beginning our work on a new bill,” said Ranking Member Peterson.
Senate Hears About Farm Bill REAP Benefits
Mark Olinyk, President of Harvest Energy Solutions, testified in favor of the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) in the 2018 Farm Bill before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry yesterday. Olinyk – whose Jackson, Michigan-based company designs, sells, and installs solar panels for its agricultural and rural customers – stated that much of his business’s success and growth was due to REAP’s inclusion in the 2014 Farm Bill. “REAP has been a component of nearly a quarter of our business,” Olinyk said in Committee. “Not only is it critical to our bottom line, REAP allows our clients to save electricity, save money, achieve greater efficiencies, and make their operations more stable, less risky, and more profitable.”
REAP grants and loans are available to assist farmers and rural business owners invest in renewable energy systems or to make energy efficient improvements. Beyond this, Olinyk explained, the program helps to grow the clean and efficient energy industry and “create jobs across rural America.” The reauthorization bill will have to pass out of Committee before being voted on by the full Senate, and then the House.