Ag Policy Blog

RFS Changes and CRP Analysis Posted in Federal Register

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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While most of America was either shopping or watching football on Friday, EPA and USDA were posting a couple of key proposal changes in the Federal Register.

To the joy of America's strapped petroleum companies and environmentalists who love to drill, the Environmental Protection Agency opened its 60-day comment period on renewable fuel volume levels under the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014.

The proposal would cut the corn-based RFS by roughly 1.4 billion gallons in 2014 to 13 billion gallons. Projected levels of advanced biofuels would be about 2.2 billion gallons. Cellulosic ethanol volume would be about 17 million gallons.

The EPA notice in the Federal Register provides details on how EPA came to its conclusions to lower the projected volume levels in various biofuels and the state of the ethanol industry. The comment period ends Jan. 28.

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EPA's proposed rule can be viewed at…

USDA Analyzing CRP

On the Conservation Reserve Program --- the only environmental program in the USDA tool box according to Associated Press -- USDA announced intentions to complete a "Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement," or a SPEIS for all you federal acronym junkies.

According to the Federal Register posting, USDA is effectively moving ahead looking at possible changes to CRP in 2014 despite not having a new farm bill yet. The House and Senate versions of the farm bill both cut the current 32-million acreage cap for CRP. The House would set a 24-million acre cap while the Senate bill would go to 25 million. Thus, it's not too much of a stretch to begin analyzing some changes.

The Federal Register posting looks at the impact of gradually reducing CRP enrollment by 20% to 25% over the next five years. USDA also would be looking at changes in the enrollment cap on the Farmable Wetlands Program; reducing incentives and cost-share payments for tree thinning; evaluating other forms or processes for enrollment under continuous signup; adding flexibility for haying and grazing, including emergency haying and grazing on land that otherwise might be ineligible (such as land hayed or grazed in recent years). Lastly, the changes would look at transitioning acres coming out of CRP to other USDA conservation programs.

The comment period ends Jan. 13.

More information on the CRP posting can be found at…

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melvin meister
12/4/2013 | 1:45 PM CST
Wes ;Your crocadile tears are as fake as your repeatihg big oil lies .
W Kuster
12/3/2013 | 7:17 AM CST
Three types of government actions have produced a huge run up in food production costs including land costs. The zirp (zero interest rate policy) has stolen rightful earnings from the elderly and those who save and federal reserve's deflation of our currency policy. Federal crop insurance's mindless actions that have provided insane levels of investment and profit guarantees for growers of select crops. The rfs policy by congress that has driven a extreme amount of acres into corn production. Those who claim that rfs did not affect food prices have no right to complain about lower grain prices when rfs is reduced. Just how is it that government should be driving up food costs up for the poor and driving farmer's food production costs through the roof? Anybody still think that government should be running our health care system?
John Finley
12/2/2013 | 8:53 AM CST
The 60 day time period for comments should be the focus to the White House. The Obama administration needs to hear from the farm community, not just farmers about the need to leave the RFS unchanged. You can wage your last dollar that "BIG oil and BIG food" groups will be commenting during this 60 day period, that they have adjusted the RFS in the right direction. This is the time to put aside all our personal inside battles between different farm groups and stand united for the RFS and rural America. Don't just be satisfied to voice just your opinion, help others in your farm community voice that comments to the White House. Energy wears three different types of headgear - farmer caps (ethanol) - cowboy hats (big oil) - shemagh/keffiyeh wraps (foreign oil) - the choice should be simple on which one you support in the next 60 days!
Curt Zingula
12/2/2013 | 7:02 AM CST
EPA cuts RFS in the face of record corn production and near record projected carryover while the House and Senate cut one of the most nationally popular programs, CRP. Only government could be this irrational. Livestock producers will get their cheap corn wish - let's see how long before cheap grain begits cheap livestock!
Bonnie Dukowitz
12/2/2013 | 6:11 AM CST
EPA's action on RFS volume will mean nothing if the EPA is allowed to redefine "Navigable". Your cornfield might well be legislated out of production by regulation.
melvin meister
12/1/2013 | 10:53 PM CST
If anyone thinks the oil and corporate livestock people have any respect for the corn producers the USA ; Think again. You are going to be hung out to dry unless you wake up and protest to EPA and your congressional delegation .NE .Sen and Reps are to cowardly to say anything.