Illinois Congressman calls out Pres. Biden for farming priorities

With rising agricultural costs and gasoline prices, an Illinois congressman says the Biden administration has abandoned farmers. During a House Ag committee hearing leading up to the 2023 Farm Bill, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-IL, said farmers concerned about input costs, burdensome environmental regulations and rules affecting ethanol are being ignored by the Biden administration.

“The Ag economy is hurting across the board,” Davis said. “They are concerned about whether or not they will be able to afford to plant a crop this year.”

As the rising costs of inflation impact all Americans, farmers are being hit particularly hard. The cost of fertilizer, for example, is up as much as 500% in some areas. Davis also points to the Biden administration’s refusal to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard, which he calls an immediate solution to lower emissions and the high costs at the pump. Charles Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, agrees the marketplace for fuel alternatives needs to improve.

“Facilities out there that are offering the higher-octane blends is dismal,” Conner said. “After rural America, we are missing a great opportunity there.”

Davis said retail outlets are not going to invest in offering new fuel alternatives if they are unsure if the administration is going to follow the existing law under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“We have heard promises from administrations in the past and the current administration about what they are going to do to help our ethanol producers, what they are going to do to help our farms,” Davis said. “That’s what’s frustrating.”

More than 1,000 U.S. farmers and other biofuel advocates are asking the Biden administration to turn to biofuels to combat rising gasoline prices. The White House is seeing increased pressure to restore year-round E15 availability around the country and increase the production of ethanol and biodiesel as a way to replace Russian imports. According to the Illinois Renewable Fuels Association, the statewide ethanol industry produces over 4,000 full time jobs and accounts for $37 million in state and local revenue.

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