In Washington, the National Corn Growers Association and National Farmers Union say new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reveals just how much harm the Obama Administration has caused farmers by its lax implementation of the RFS.
The USDA announced last month that net cash income for American farmers and ranchers is forecast to decline by 26 percent in 2015 from peak levels in 2013. That devastating forecast is worse than originally projected, and it represents the lowest farm income levels in nearly a decade, and it could get worse.
Since the enactment of the RFS in 2005 and expansion by Congress in 2007, U.S. corn farmers increased their production through investments in improved yields, technology, and sustainable acreage expansion that could be farmed with conservation farming techniques such as no-till. The result encouraged the rapid growth of the U.S. ethanol industry, and produced both an increased supply of renewable transportation fuel and co-products to add to America’s livestock feed supply.
However, the current level of uncertainty in this market threatens these valuable investments in innovation and growth.
In 2015, USDA projects that cash corn receipts will be off by more than $25 billion from their 2012 record, and down over $7 billion from last year.
Considering all U.S. crop cash receipts are projected to be down about $34 billion since 2012 and nearly $13 billion compared to 2014, it is easy to see why so many farmers so strongly support the RFS—it has been the most significant growth factor for agriculture since its inception in 2005. It is a successful program.