Vilsack Defends Renewable Fuel Programs

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently defended renewable energy and renewable fuel programs, despite accusations that they are wasteful and unnecessary in the midst of a major drought.

For the past several months, farmers across the country have been locked in the grip of an ongoing and devastating drought. Temperatures have reached record highs and more than two-thirds of the country is experiencing moderate to extreme drought conditions.

The drought is expected to damage grain production across the country, driving food prices up. Added to these pressures is competition from renewable fuel sources and biofuels production. By diverting food away from supermarkets and into ethanol production, food prices will continue to rise.

Some farmers are pressuring the U.S. Department of Agriculture to undo renewable fuel programs and mandates. Livestock farmers in particular are worried about increased feed costs. Vilsack has promised that drought assistance bills in Congress will address the needs of livestock farmers, but reiterated, “Some will want to use the drought as an excuse to change the Renewable Fuel Standard, but now is not the time. Now is not the time to change the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer