Indiana Farm Bureau
December 13, 2013
For more information: Andy Dietrick, 317-692-7818, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathleen Dutro, 317-692-7824, email@example.com
Future of Indiana agriculture linked to renewable fuels, Farm Bureau president says
Becoming a grandfather has encouraged him to think even more than usual about the future of agriculture, Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock told attendees to the organization’s annual convention.
In his annual address to the membership, Villwock talked about how the economics of agriculture might affect his new grandson, born in October.
“We don’t know yet if Oscar wants to be involved in agriculture,” he noted. “My job is to make sure that if he wants a career in agriculture, there are many bright opportunities out there for him.”
But there are currently a number of challenges facing farmers, he said. One of the most recent and important is a proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to lower the Renewable Fuels Standard, which was put in place in 2007 and mandates the number of gallons of renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel that oil companies must blend into the fuel supply. Ethanol now is in almost every gallon of gasoline sold in the country, Villwock said.
“I’m extremely proud to announce the United States has greatly reduced its dependence on imported oil thanks to ethanol,” he added. “Our environment is cleaner, consumers pay 80 cents less for every gallon of gasoline, and rural America has added jobs and experienced a rebirth of economic activity.
“However, all of this recent economic success is now in jeopardy,” Villwock said. Just a few weeks ago, the EPA proposed lowering the number of gallons of ethanol and biodiesel that “Big Oil” must blend into the nation’s fuel supply.
“We do have a chance to stop this proposed reduction. But it will take all of us,” Villwock said, asking all of those in attendance to write to the EPA and explain what the improved crop prices have meant to their families, farms and communities.
“Since the news of the proposed rule was leaked on Oct. 10 in the press, corn prices have dropped more than 5 percent,” he said. “This one event could be the tipping point to once again send corn prices below the cost of production.
“I can tell you, Oscar’s future is not very bright with prices at those levels,” he added.
On the state level, one of Farm Bureau’s priorities will be strengthening the laws against trespass. This has become a serious issue for many farmers, he said, noting that it’s common in many areas for farmers to find that trucks have driven across their fields, for hunters to put up tree stands without permission, and for farm machinery left in fields overnight to be vandalized.
“One of the basic tenets of our constitution is based on strong private property rights. Farm Bureau feels we must improve our trespass statute to protect those rights and to insure Oscar and his friends can protect their property, their rights and their families,” he said.