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Virginia Poultry Federation asks for waiver of ethanol fuel mandate

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The Virginia Poultry Federation (VPF) has asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to waive a federal ethanol fuel mandate.

The organization contends that, combined with a recent severe drought, the mandate has raised feed costs by $330 million for Virginia’s poultry and livestock producers.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), enacted in 2005, mandates the production of 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol in 2012, a volume requiring some 4.5 billion bushels of corn.

In comments submitted to EPA, the Virginia Poultry Federation (VPF) cites an economic analysis by Dr. Tom Elam of FarmEcon LLC. The study finds corn and soybean meal costs for Virginia poultry and livestock producers have risen dramatically since 2011 because of feed shortages caused by the drought and the RFS..

The analysis estimates that a waiver of the RFS could reduce the economic harm to Virginia’s poultry and livestock industries by more than $180 million. 

“These cost increases have begun and will continue to cause severe economic harm to the poultry industry,” , VPF President Hobey Bauhan said in a statement. “The situation could lead to plant closures at the worst and at the very least production cutbacks.  In either case, economic harm will hit farmers, processors, and industry vendors.”

Bauhan said federal law gives EPA the authority to waive all or part of the RFS in the event that it causes significant economic disruption.

In August, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell joined seven other governors, in petitioning EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to use her authority to waive the RFS.  in In addition, 156 U.S. Representatives and 34 U.S. Senators, including members of the Virginia congressional delegation, wrote to Jackson asking for a waiver. 

 


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