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Commentary: John R. Block Reports from Washington


Hello, everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

And now today’s commentary-

Just back from the farm in Illinois last week. I always love to plant my feet on that rich soil. It was too wet to plant. Hope we can get that corn and bean seed in the ground soon.

A lot of my neighbors were excited to learn that President Biden is going to turn the valve to make E15 available through the summer this year. With gas prices at $4.00 per gallon or higher, using more ethanol will cut the fuel cost. Ethanol prices are $1 per gallon cheaper than gas prices.

Renewable Fuel Association President Geoff Cooper had this to say – “Using more American made ethanol will help bring pump prices down and enhance our Nation’s energy security. Also, higher blends of ethanol reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” A recent nationwide survey tells us that voters want us to use more American-made ethanol. We just don’t have enough gas stations offering E15. We need low cost, low carbon renewable fuels to bring down pump prices and help the environment.

While back at the farm in Illinois there was a lot of talk about California’s Proposition 12. That law bans the sale of pork from hogs that don’t meet California’s arbitrary production standards. American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said that law will “harm small family farms and will raise pork prices across the country. One state’s misguided law should not dictate farming practices for an entire nation.”

I was told that three family hog farms that I know are considering going out of business. It will cost a lot of money to rebuild farmer hog production facilities to meet the California law demands. Projected profits in the hog business are already threatened with the explosion in the cost of feed. Labor is in short supply. Our fertilizer prices are 2 or 3 times higher than last year. Farm production costs are expected to increase 6% this year following a 12% increase last year. Lots of challenges. Let’s hope the Supreme Cout will strike down the California Proposition 12.     

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The views expressed in this editorial are those of the writer and not necessarily those of nor the Southern Farm Network.