Guest Opinion: New ethanol rules hurt small farmers

Moves from the Trump administration are leading to lower corn demand, which hurts independent farmers in Iowa and elsewhere.


Lily Smith

The Old Capitol is seen on Nov. 25, 2018.

I grew up on a farm. My wife grew up on a farm. My family and I still own a farm that has been in our family for 154 years. My letter concerns a threat to that farm, and to all the Iowans who depend on agriculture. Recent actions by the Trump administration threaten small, independent-farm ownership in Iowa. When I saw corn growers nationwide standing up to the administration to protect farmers, I wanted people to know about it.

Corn growers from 23 states signed a letter to the president on behalf of 300,000 corn growers. They requested the president obey the law keeping whole the Renewable Fuel Standard. This was after recent EPA approval of 31 new Renewable Fuel Standard waivers granted to big oil. That is 85 total waivers in all, 4 billion gallons in all. This action is seen as a step toward further discarding the Renewable Fuel Standard. The harvest time rollback of the standard is especially bad given the trade war.

Lower ethanol fuel consumption reduces corn demand. Reduced corn demand equals lower prices. As a result, more ethanol producers are closing corn ethanol plants. More ethanol plants will close if this continues.

Without a quick reversal, more agriculture jobs will be lost. Plymouth Energy’s ethanol plant in Merrill, Iowa, shut down. Biodiesel is also being harmed — W2 Fuel’s 10 million gallon biodiesel plant in Crawfordsville, Iowa, is closing.

Farmers’ frustration with this administration is growing. Farmers are not begging for assistance. They just request the administration’s EPA uphold existing law.

— Frederick Tielebein, Independence, Iowa, resident

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.