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Biofuels in 2016

January 28, 2016
Emmetsburg News

by Jeff Broin

Agriculture and the whole Iowa economy it supports could take a significant blow in 2016 if voters don't make Midwestern priorities their guide at the February caucuses.

The oil industry is coming after farmers. It wants a lower market share for Iowa-grown fuel, and if it has its way we'll see higher prices at the pump, more money overseas for imports and depressed income/land values in Iowa. We can see this Oil vs. Ag fight playing out on the campaign trail, and with the caucuses nearing, this is the opportunity for Iowa-made renewable fuel to land a punch.

Chuck Lund is a fourth-generation corn farmer who has watched as neighboring farms shut down due to economic hardship, suburban sprawl and competition from large-scale farming operation with robust resources. For Chuck and other small-scale farmers, corn and the ethanol corn creates has been the lifeline keeping them afloat.

Now farmers like Lund see limits placed on the value of their farm operations due to the restrictions on ethanol production set by the EPA. Already land value, farm income and other metrics of rural success have plateaued or fallen as ethanol production has been held back. With agriculture as one of Iowa's largest industries, this has a real impact in cities like Des Moines as well as rural communities.

As the CEO of POET, one of the largest ethanol companies in the world, I oversee 28 plants across seven states that provide an estimated 1.7 billion gallons of ethanol per year. I've watched firsthand the impact we've had on farms as we provide a new market for ag producers and help balance the grain supply. We have a special relationship with the farmers who supply our grain. Our work benefits each other. This is not the case with the oil industry in Iowa.

The caucuses are Iowans' chance to make a stand for agriculture, and I hope everyone takes advantage of that chance. The oil states are hoping their interests can trump those of the Midwest, and the candidates for president have made clear where their priorities lie. To learn more about where the candidates stand on ethanol, see the 2016 Candidate Report Card from America's Renewable Future here:

The ag community must rise up and support candidates that support their livelihood. When oil states win, ag states like Iowa lose.

Jeff Broin is CEO and founder of POET, one of the world's largest producers of ethanol and other biorefined products.



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