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Senator calls on Iowans to speak up about impact of EPA proposal on farmers and rural economy


This news story was published on October 31, 2019.
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Senator Rich Taylor

MOUNT PLEASANT – State Sen. Rich Taylor (D-Mount Pleasant), a member of the Iowa Senate Agriculture Committee, today called on Iowans to raise their voices in support of Iowa farmers and against a proposed policy from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that could cripple rural America by weakening the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“The proposed rule by the EPA is contrary to an ethanol plan announced in early October by the Trump Administration. Another broken promise is bad news for Iowa,” Taylor said. “Like many living in rural Iowa, I believed the Administration was moving toward keeping its commitment to the biofuels industry and American corn growers. Unfortunately, the EPA’s proposed rule sides with the oil industry, not family farmers.”

Taylor says he’s talked to many Southeast Iowa farmers who are worried about the mixed messages they’re getting from Washington, D.C., especially after ongoing tariff wars and bad weather that has created extra challenges for planting, growing and harvesting crops.

One of those farmers is Dennis W. “Denny” Anderson of rural Mt. Union, who farms corn and soybeans in Henry County.

“I’m a lifelong Iowan and farmer, and I can’t figure out what Trump and the EPA think they’re doing,” Anderson said. “Flip-flops and short-sighted decisions that line the pockets of big oil will hurt the ag economy and all the biofuels advancements we’ve made for generations to come. President Trump and our folks in Congress need to be straight with us. We’ve got to have some leadership now, or rural Iowa will tank completely.”

The Iowa Corn Growers and other commodity groups have objected to the EPA’s plans for the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, including during an EPA-sponsored forum today in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The RFS was established to promote the use of renewable fuels and to replace fossil-based fuels.

Taylor encourages Iowans – farmers and non-farmers – to join the Iowa Corn Growers’ quick and easy public comment initiative on the EPA’s proposal.

Before the November 29 deadline, Iowans can visit the Iowa Corn Growers’ user-friendly website —  https://ncga.com/public-policy/stand-up-for-corn/take-action — and send messages in support of Iowa farmers and the biofuels industry to President Trump, U.S. Senators Ernst and other federal officials.

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10 Responses to Senator calls on Iowans to speak up about impact of EPA proposal on farmers and rural economy

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    November 3, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    More farmers crying about how bad things are while they stand by with their hand out for all the govt. free money they can get. Losers. Bottom feeding, slime sucking losers.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    November 3, 2019 at 9:37 am

    look at the two farmers here. field corn is not food your equipment and practices are terrible for the environment. real people dont need you. when farmers have a so called bad year insurance and gov. subsidies still fill their pockets. you people dont know what tough times even are. go bankrupt and die. i dont use shit ethanol nor any type of soy… why do i need an iowa farmer? oh to level every tree plow every acre and destroy upland bird and small game habitat ruining hunting and taking food off the table in the process. those nutrients spread on the fields are chemical not natural at all just man made pollutants. farmers suck. smart people dont need them. all farmers care about is profit from subpar gas and making that china money. farmers support communism.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      November 4, 2019 at 2:12 am

      I think you really have no idea about farming, and in particular what Iowa corn is used for, and the impact it has on the food chain. From corn flour, to fructose, starch, oil, syrup, beer, baby foods, cereal,and plastics. Those uses consume 12% of the 2.5 billion bushels produced in Iowa every year.

      Twenty one percent is for animal feed. Then of course there is Ethanol consuming 39% of the crop, a major economic factor in our rural economy. Only 9% of our corn is exported to other countries.

      To say you don’t need them, is an insane statement. Farming in Iowa represents 27% of the state’s economy, or $72.1 billion. Directly and indirectly farming employs 17% of the state’s workforce.

      Do you really have any idea what the elimination of agriculture from Iowa would cause? First and foremost, your taxes would have to go up to replace that 27% of the Iowa economy. And, more people, as high as 10% would leave Iowa, further reducing tax revenues in the state. And guess what, you would be left to compensate for that.

      I pity you. I really do. It appears, by the absurdity of your comments that you cannot observe and understand the reality of what is going on around you, not only in our community, but our state and country. Your disdain and jealousy of farmers, has no factual basis. I hope you can break out of the paradigm you live in, for it seems to be a sad existence.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    November 3, 2019 at 3:03 am

    I think a lot of people either are jealous of farmers, or have no idea about the economics, practices, or technology they use.

    I read one complaint of “poisoning” the soil. It is true, excessive nutrients applied to the soil will not be absorbed. Also, even if you apply nutrients to the ground according to need, weather may prevent absorption, and wash it away. Farmers now have tools (GPS, surveys, and analysis of soils) to reduce application of nutrients to only where it is needed, and avoid areas where it may not be absorbed. They also use practices that avoid application when weather becomes a factor. Practices of applying manure, also must be made in accordance with not only Federal laws, but ensuring nutrients actually are absorbed by the soil.

    Economics. The cost of producing a bushel of corn and soybeans (or anything else) has gone up over the years. From $2.00 per bushel of corn in 1975, to $3.46 in 2018. That reflects increased cost of machinery, inputs (seed, fertilizer, ect), and labour. Then there is land costs, which have gone up drastically from $96 per acre in 1975, to $223 per acre in 2018.

    Practices of producing corn has changed a lot over the years. Now farmers manage both the planting, application of nutrients, and managing according to the soil itself. This is done with many new technologies.

    Finally, the most contentious is plant genetics. Far too many people do not understand what that is, nor how it benefits them. Let me give you an example. The man next door is a tall slender tanned person, and blue eyes. On the other side of you, is a man next door who is short, above average in weight, and has brown eyes. The difference between them depends on their genetics. If you were to alter somehow, the genetics of the short man, his offspring would become much like the tall slender neighbor. In developing those genetics, one has to alter the exact genome in order to produce the desired result. Now I don’t suggest at all we do this for ethical or moral reasons…it is just an example.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      November 3, 2019 at 3:03 am

      ut that is exactly what they do to corn or beans. They alter the genes of the corn to produce a more desirable plant. There is no chemical alteration, nor resultant toxicity. It is chemically the same kernel of corn as far as consumption is concerned. How they alter the genes, so they can have corn that is resistant to drought, pests, and disease, and increase starch content, is completely benign as far as how our bodies digest it, or how grain processing plants use it. Some genetic altered corn is produced to make sweeter corn, or better looking.

      Now, the genetic alteration of plants has gone on for centuries. Consider the purple tulip, or other hybrids. That is how they made varieties of sweet corn like Mirai ( the gold standard of sweet corn). It was produced using cross pollination over many years of experimentation in small farms in Japan. That cross pollination is results in a plant which is genetically different from what they started out with.

      Now genetics in the lab, can do the same thing, in less than a few years, and produces a more exact plant with features which are most desirable. And, I might add, increase yields, and use less inputs to produce. Increasing the yields feeds more people, and using less inputs, helps keep our waterways cleaner, and produce crops cheaper.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        November 3, 2019 at 3:23 am

        Now for the final misconception: Farmers earnings. In 1998/2000, many farmers faced rough times. The costs were rising, but the consumers of the grain, were not paying what it cost the farmer to produce, no matter how they marketed the grain (the same thing is happening now). Add to it was transportation, and storage costs waiting for a better price. It all adds up. And in the meantime, the banks still required you to pay on the notes for the equipment, land, and production loans. Banks based those loans on the value of the crops. If the actual price was lower than the value of the crop, the farmer was still required to pay the note. Also, the banks wanted their money, even if weather such as floods or droughts destroyed the crops.

        From 2010 to 2012 corn producers saw increased prices for their grain. But that did not last long, as the bottom fell out in 2013 as the prices dropped almost 40% in one year. But the price of inputs to produce grain did not drop, they went up.

        Farmers will leverage every law available to increase their bottom line. Such laws include incorporation, tax credits on assets, depreciation of equipment used in production, and crop insurance. (Many non-ag businesses also use the same credits and depreciation of machines, but also have added risks such as product liability).

        Not everyone can use these business exemptions and credits. But as an example, homeowners have available tax credits and exemptions to lower their costs (which do not apply to businesses). The tax code also allows a person credits for expenses to produce income (lodging away from home, meals, transportation, equipment, ect).

        Ethanol has become an important revenue in this region. It effects a lot in the local economy from plant employees, to truckers, to rail workers, to contractors. And of course the producers who supply the grain. Without it, we would have to rely upon foreign markets for our grains, which at best are unreliable.

        • Avatar

          Anonymous Reply Report comment

          November 3, 2019 at 7:42 am

          It takes 20 gallons of drinking water to make one gallon of poison ethanol. That is not to mention all of the poison wells due to factory farms and applying poison to the ground. Farmers pay no taxes but destroy the roads and bridges. It is really hard to feel sorry for farmers living in million dollar homes, driving new cars and trucks every year and only working six months out of the year. What do they think they are? Teachers??

          • Avatar

            Anonymous

            November 3, 2019 at 9:53 am

            I see you have played into the myths circulated back in 2004, by a flawed “research” paper (Pimentel).

            Most Ethanol plants today require only 3.5 gallons of water to produce a gallon of Ethanol. That’s a little more than what it takes to process a gallon of gas.

            And, Ethanol is not poison as one might expect. First off, it is anhydrous alcohol that has been denatured with natural gasoline. For the most part, any spilled ethanol will evaporate before leaching into the ground very far. On the other hand, MTBE which Ethanol replaced, poisoned ground water, and could remain there for at least a decade.

            Next, most farms are run with respect for their land. (I am not sure what you mean by a “Factory Farm”). The soil a farmer has, must be able to grow more crops year after year. So do you really think they would taint it so it would no longer be productive?

            And since you only read what you wanted to, I guess my saying that modern farm management uses a lot of technology to make sure that he or she is not wasting money, and applying only what they need, where they need it.

            I use fertilizer for my garden…does that mean I poison the ground as well? And from time to time, I have to spray a pesticide to get rid of bugs that would destroy those plants. Does that make me bad too?

            Next item. Taxes. I suggest you visit one of the half dozen or so tax accountants in our Community and have a conversation with them about taxes and farming…you will probably not listen to me.

            Then again, you may not be willing to learn, much less get out from under your rock.

            Lastly, I checked with the County GIS, looked at 35 different properties in all areas of the county. Could not find a single million dollar home. I did find some worth $200k, some worth $150k, and only 4 worth $400k or over. And each one without fail, had paid taxes on those properties as the county receipts showed. (for example, one valued at $478k, on 3.5 acres of land, paid $6,618 in 2017).

            Sorry old sock, try again.

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    November 1, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    must be tough. driving a $65000 tax write off. working 4 mnths a year for truckloads of cash… all the while not thinking about all that communist money that supports your industry as you contaminate the soil air and water displace wildlife and taint consumable natural flora and fauna with the best cancer causing chemicals money can buy. fck farmers. i can get by with out. fish hunt trap and garden. farmers support an oppressive authoritarian regime that is currently training and building military installations to prepare to strike the united states. farmers support our enemies by feeding them while killing the environment all for massive massive profit. terrorist much?

  5. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    November 1, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    More farmers crying about how bad things are. Next they will be wanting govt. money to bail them out of this perceived quandary also. I bet the tissue makers love this. More crying farmers to buy tissues for their poor tear soaked eyes.