South Dakota Farmers Union calls USDA report a missed opportunity

South Dakota Farmers Union
Farm Forum

HURON — Calling it a “swing and a miss,” the South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) criticized a recent report by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in an editorial published in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader for failing to highlight the critical role of agricultural derived ethanol.

According to SDFU President Doug Sombke, the report references renewables but does so in the most general way imaginable, and lumps the need to produce renewables in rural America with coal, natural gas, oil, and nuclear power. The word ethanol is not mentioned despite the fact that it is a multi billion dollar domestic industry and in South Dakota alone it contributes nearly four billion dollars to the state’s economy

“Agriculturally derived biofuels, primarily ethanol, have single-handedly reversed a decades long trend of rising oil imports and a staggering flow of American dollars to foreign countries that support drugs, terrorism, and other activities. While we are struggling to see commodity prices above the cost of production, I shudder to think of where we would be without the 15 billion gallon ethanol market,” said Sombke .

Sombke noted that the report failed to not only pinpoint the contributions to date but the untapped potential of the future. “Ironically, the report keys on the need for regulatory reform in order to “unleash the potential” of rural America when there is no industry held back more from expansion than ethanol. We need USDA to lead the charge to break down the barriers at EPA and let us grow this market,” he said.

“We can thrive in a free market if given access and we can play a key role in protecting public health through higher blends like E20, E25, and even E30.”