American meat producers urge action over drought

American meat producers urge action over drought

As the worst drought conditions for 50 years continue in the USA a coalition of both meat and poultry organisations has appealed to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to waive “in whole or in substantial part,” the amount of renewable fuel that is mandatory for the sector to produce.

President-elect of The National Pork Producers Council, Randy Spronk said: “America’s pork producers are extremely worried, given the drought affecting much of the corn-growing regions, about having feed for their animals. Their anxiety is compounded knowing that the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) requires corn ethanol to be produced no matter what. We’re asking EPA to give livestock and poultry producers and, ultimately, consumers a little help.”

Michael Welsh, president and CEO of Harrison Poultry and past National Chicken Council chairman agreed: “Relief from the RFS is extremely urgent. This very short term corn crop will undoubtedly prove to be devastating to the animal agriculture industry, food manufacturers, foodservice providers and consumers. Thousands of jobs, a continued upward trend of rising food prices and the livelihoods of family farmers are all at risk. The chicken industry is urging EPA to implement the law and promptly grant a full or partial waiver of the RFS.

“I support American ethanol and what it has done for rural communities in Nebraska and in many other states throughout the country,” said J.D. Alexander, Nebraska cattleman and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president. “What I do not support are federal mandates picking winners and losers and a federal government sitting patiently by, forking over taxpayer dollars to artificially inflate the price of corn for livestock producers and other end-users. I find it concerning to the viability of the livestock industry that these mandates are allowed to continue today in the worst drought I have seen in my lifetime. This isn’t rocket science. Implement the law, waive the RFS, let the market work and embrace free market principles.”

“As a small, independent turkey grower from Minnesota who buys about 100,000 bushels of corn every year, my family’s livelihood is being threatened by the looming drought disaster,” said John Burkel, of Badger, Minn. “The EPA granting a waiver from the RFS is needed now. This is the only immediate relief for this country’s livestock and poultry producers. We need to stabilize the markets. The reality is, at these volatile, high prices, even the most prudent, cautious farmer can find themselves out of business.”

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