2018 Renewable Fuel Standards help balance corn prices drop in O - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

2018 Renewable Fuel Standards help balance corn prices drop in October

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PRESTON, Minn. (KTTC) -

As Minnesota corn farmers finished the harvest this week, more terrible news came in with the crop.

Corn prices have not improved and are still way below the cost of production.

The USDA says the October average price for Minnesota corn producers was three dollars two cents per bushel.

Though a few pennies above the September price, it's 13 cents a bushel lower than the price a year ago.

A corn farmer's cost of production, as estimated by Purdue University, varies greatly depending on the inputs, but it's clear that the margins are really tough right now.

With the corn prices how they are, it's important for farmers to have more avenues to sell.

The EPA has released its new renewable fuel standards for 2018 showing a flat line from last year.

Before the standards were revealed, there was fear the EPA would roll back previous rulings, but has stuck to the 15 billion gallon ruling.

Bio-refineries like Poet in Preston are breathing a sigh of relief now, as the company makes around 1.8 billion gallons a year.

However there was a 7 percent decline in the amount of cellulosic bio-fuel.

That means its made up of all of the waste product like stalks and leaves.

It is a relatively new development that Poet representative  Chris Hanson says needs to be encouraged,

no matter how it is made, currently bio-fuels make up 10 percent of the fuel market, but that is an artificial limit.

"Now the way around that is to blend more bio-fuels, to open up the markets so we can have access, so the consumer can choose to put more bio-fuels in their vehicles and hence we're taking that gross excess of grain and turning into something that has more value for the farmer," Hanson said.

Senator Amy Klobuchar is applauding the decision but says there's still more to go.

In a statement she said in part "Failing to increase the blend targets of advanced bio-fuels hamstrings the growth we have seen in clean energy innovation, needlessly flat-lining a sector that creates good jobs and strengthens rural communities."


    

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