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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News as heard inside the BARN for February 1st…

Posted by Brian Allmer on February 1, 2013

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY’s BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

“2013 Renewable Fuel Standards Proposed by EPA”

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the 2013 percentage standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard. For total renewable fuels – EPA is proposing 16.55-billion gallons; for advanced biofuels – 2.75-billion gallons; for biomass-based diesel – 1.28-billion gallons; and for cellulosic biofuels – 14-million gallons. The RFS2 program encourages greater use of renewable fuels – including advanced biofuels. For 2013 – the program is proposing to implement the requirement of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to blend more than 1.35-billion gallons of renewable fuels over the amount mandated for 2012.

The annual renewable fuel volume targets established in the 2007 legislation steadily increase to an overall level of 36-billion gallons in 2022. The EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year to achieve these volumes. It is based on these standards that refiners and importers determine the minimum volume of fuel it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel.

The EPA’s proposed volumes and standards for 2013 are open for a 45-day public comment period. EPA will consider feedback from a range of stakeholders before the proposal is finalized.

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“Ethanol Industry Groups Respond to 2013 RFS Volume Proposal”

According to Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen – the EPA’s proposed Renewable Fuel Standard requirements for 2013 will be the catalyst that finally compels oil companies to get serious about breaching the so-called blend wall. He says the year’s requirements will necessitate the use of more E15, E85 and other higher-level blends. He says the RFS is working as Congress envisioned – injecting larger volumes of biofuels into the U.S. fuel supply and spurring a more rapid transition to domestically produced renewables. Dinneen says EPA considered the best available information to set the 2013 cellulosic biofuel requirement. He says it does not exaggerate the volumes that will be available in 2013 – and may actually prove to be conservative. Dinneen says RFA fully expects 2013 to be the breakthrough year for cellulosic ethanol.
But RFA has concerns too – particularly that the proposed standard for advanced biofuel will open the door even wider to imports of more expensive Brazilian sugarcane ethanol. Dinneen says imports accounted for 92-percent of the 2012 advanced biofuel standard. In an unconstrained fuel market where E15 and other mid-level blends were broadly available – Dinneen says imports wouldn’t be a major concern. But he says oil companies continue to throw up roadblocks to E15 and other mid-level blends.

Dinneen says RFA will continue to encourage EPA to revisit its lifecycle analysis – and will file comments in response to the EPA’s 2013 RFS proposal.

Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis says his group is also reviewing the EPA’s announcement and will submit formal comments on the proposed biofuel volumes. But noting they were long overdue – he says Growth Energy is pleased the agency has released the proposed volumes. According to Buis – the RFS has been a resounding success – helping create jobs here in America that can’t be outsourced and revitalizing rural economies across the country in addition to reducing our dependence on foreign oil and providing consumers with a choice and savings at the pump.

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“EPA Proposes Changes to RIN Trading in RFS”

The EPA is proposing a structured process for buyers of Renewable Identification Numbers in an effort to help make the Renewable Fuel Standard program more efficient and effective. Under the proposal – RINs would be verified through a new voluntary quality assurance program that includes alternative compliance options that leverage existing industry practices and market forces. According to EPA - Quality Assurance Plans would provide a recognized means for independent third parties to audit the production of renewable fuel and verify that RINs have been validly generated. The proposed rule allows verification of RINs to begin this year.

EPA expects this rulemaking to improve the overall liquidity in the RIN market – and make it easier for smaller renewable fuel producers to sell their RINs.

The proposal to change RIN trading is available for a 30-day public comment period.

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“ASA Welcomes Legislation Introduced by Roberts, Johanns”

The American Soybean Association is welcoming the introduction of legislation to eliminate the duplicative pesticide permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act. Bill S. 175 – introduced by Pat Roberts of Kansas and Mike Johanns of Nebraska – will ensure Clean Water Act permits are not needed for the applications of pesticides currently registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. ASA President Danny Murphy says the elimination of these redundant permitting requirements has been a priority for the association since 2010. He says the legislation will remove the uncertainty the current system creates – while leaving well-established rules in place to effectively protect the environment. He notes farmers are always willing to cooperate with regulations based on sound science and grounded in practical, real-world farming practices. The American Soybean Association is calling on the Senate to pass the measure quickly.

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“Russia Bans U.S. Beef and Pork Over Ractopamine”

On the heels of an agreement between the U.S. and Japan on beef – Russia is going to begin banning imports of U.S. pork and beef. The decision was based on the possibility the meats may contain the feed additive ractopamine. Russia’s food-safety agency says the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service was unable to guarantee that shipments would be free of ractopamine. According to the Federal Customs Service – U.S. shipments of chilled and frozen pork to Russia in 2011 were 59,680 tons – almost nine-percent of total national imports of the meat. Exports of chilled and frozen beef were 39-thousand tons – 6.5-percent of total imports.

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“USDA Expands Refinancing Program”

USDA is expanding a pilot program that enables current USDA home loan borrowers to save money on housing costs by refinancing their mortgages with lower interest rates. According to U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack – this expansion will help more rural borrowers reduce their monthly payments and ease their financial burdens. As the economy continues to recover – he says this program will help rural families living in USDA-financed homes take advantage of historically low interest rates.

The initiative was unveiled by USDA about a year ago and included borrowers in 19 states hardest hit by the downturn in the housing market. So far – nearly 34-hundred rural borrowers have benefitted from the USDA refinancing pilot program. The expansion will include residents in 15 additional states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The states added were identified as having a very high proportion of counties with a poverty rate of at least 20-percent in each of the last four U.S. Censuses.

The performance of the pilot will be reviewed after two years to evaluate whether to continue, terminate or make the program permanent.

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“John Deere and BASF Come Together on Incentive Program for Soybean Growers”

BASF and John Deere are coming together to offer soybean farmers a deal that combines an effective fungicide with an effective way to apply it. Soybean growers who purchase at least three-hundred dollars of Priaxor™ fungicide from BASF before the 15th of March may qualify to purchase John Deere spray nozzles between April 1st and May 31st with no payments and no-interest financing for 150 days. By joining together for this special offer – BASF U.S. Crop Protection Vice President Paul Rea says BASF and John Deere have formed an ideal disease-fighting program to help growers drive up their margins through unparalleled product performance and increased efficiencies.

Field trials conducted in the U.S. by BASF in 2010 and 2011 showed that soybean acres treated with Priaxor fungicide out-yielded untreated land 87-percent of the time. The fungicide provides continuous protection against a broad spectrum of plant diseases. John Deere nozzles offer precision sprayer performance and accuracy. This enhanced and targeted coverage maximizes Priaxor fungicide applications by distributing it evenly on soybean leaves.

For more on this deal – visit www dot BASF dash Deere dash Deal dot basf dot us (www.BASF-Deere-Deal.basf.us).

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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