Farm income has declined by nearly 50 percent in the last five years. While we know our business is cyclical, anything that allows us to have a stable marketplace helps tremendously.
At this point, our agricultural exports are disrupted even though other countries still need to buy the food and feed we produce. However, what all Americans can do to help, is use a product we make and can use right here in the U.S.
E-15 fuel contains 15 percent ethanol, which is made from farm crops such as corn. The fermentation process uses the excess starch and leaves behind one-third of the bushel as high-protein livestock feed.
Ethanol provides farmers access to a valuable market for their crops. But possibly the biggest benefit for everyone is air quality improvement, since the blending of ethanol promotes more complete combustion and thus reduces tailpipe emissions by over 30 percent.
The EPA has approved use of this clean renewable fuel in all gasoline-powered autos and light trucks 2001 and newer. Access to fuel markets year-round promises to drive demand for an additional 2 billion bushels of American corn, helping family farmers weather the current agriculture commodity price struggles.
Policymakers in Washington must align with President Trump’s directive to get year-round E-15 done by pushing the EPA to expedite the process so farmers and drivers will not miss another opportunity next summer due to an antiquated rule.
Scott McPheeters, Gothenburg
Vice chair, Nebraska Ethanol Board