Texas Ranchers Call on EPA to Lift RFS Standard
Austin, Texas – The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Wednesday to waive the current Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) in light of corn shortages and soaring feed costs across the U.S.
According to TSCRA, the government mandates that 40 percent of the U.S. annual corn crop go directly toward ethanol production; however, federal law does allow the EPA administrator to waive this requirement for up to 1 year if the implementation would severely harm the economy or environment of a state, a region or the U.S.
“As record drought conditions throughout the U.S. continue to push corn yields lower and prices upward, the economic ramifications for consumers, livestock and animal agriculture producers will become even more severe,” said Joe Parker Jr., rancher and TSCRA president, in comments submitted to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “These ramifications are particularly severe in Texas, the leading cattle producing state in the nation.”
Parker says that last year was the first year ever that ethanol production used more corn than all animal agriculture combined. With corn supplies continuing to tighten across the U.S., the current RFS standard is only compounding the situation by reducing the already extremely limited amount of corn available for feed.
TSCRA submitted these comments to the EPA after the association passed policy during its fall meeting reaffirming the group’s opposition to federal and state subsidies and production mandates for renewable fuels that use feed grains/ and or other feedstuffs used for cattle production.
“Ranchers understand well-intentioned efforts to move our nation toward energy independence, but those efforts should not consist of government mandates that artificially give one commodity priority at the expense of another,” Parker said. “The cattle industry supports a free market system, and although a full repeal of the RFS standard in today’s political climate may not be possible, we are hopeful that the EPA will help alleviate the current corn crisis by taking the government mandates out of the equation and put corn back on the same playing field as cattle producers.”
TSCRA is a 135 year-old trade association and is the largest and oldest livestock organization based in Texas. TSCRA has more than 15,000 beef cattle operations, ranching families and businesses as members. These members represent approximately 50,000 individuals directly involved in ranching and beef production who manage 4 million head of cattle on 76 million acres of range and pasture land primarily in Texas and Oklahoma, but throughout the Southwest.