Groups representing livestock and poultry producers have petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to suspend the country’s mandate for ethanol production, Bloomberg reports.
The current mandate, part of the EPA-regulated Renewable Fuel Standard program, requires fuel blenders to use 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol this year. But with drought devastating the U.S. corn crop, corn prices are skyrocketing to record highs and putting a huge burden on food producers.
“An unsustainable situation has been created by the drought combined with the lack of cushion in corn supply due to the tremendous demand from ethanol producers,” Tom Super, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council, part of the coalition, said today on a conference call with reporters. “We believe that the RFS is causing severe economic harm during this crisis.”
But some say that suspending the ethanol mandate won’t fix the problem for meat producers.
“This summer’s hot, dry weather conditions have caused significant challenges for all users of grain,” including ethanol refiners, [Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuel Association] said. “However, waiving the RFS won’t bring the type of relief the livestock groups are seeking, nor will it result in significantly lower feed prices.”