Local farmers updated on the ethanol politics

First Posted: 3/25/2014

OTTAWA — When it comes to growing corn, farmers can no longer afford to ignore politics especially when Big Oil is trying to push ethanol out of the fuel business, the head of an ethanol plant said Tuesday.

“If you don’t do it you’re not playing on the same level field,” said Mark Borer, the general manager of POET Biorefining of Leipsic. “We all just want to farm and not get involved in this but it’s something we have to do.”

Borer met with local corn farmers to give them an update on the industry as well as what’s expected this year.

He said Ohio’s two senators, Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, have been supportive of the ethanol industry but local Congressman Jim Jordan has not and is against the renewable fuel standard, Borer said.

“Jordan’s district is the 22nd largest district for bushels produced in the nation but he doesn’t want to vote for us,” Borer said.

He said it’s important for farmers and anyone else to donate to the POET political action committee that pushes legislation favorable to ethanol plants.

Big Oil has the big dollars and the lobbyist to more than push its position, which is to do away with ethanol in gasoline, Borer said.

Big Oil also has the support of U.S. senators such as Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla. They have introduced a bill to completely do away with the renewable fuel standard, which a 2008 law requires gasoline has an ethanol blend, Borer said.

Ethanol, a renewable form of energy, cuts into the profits of Big Oil. Big Oil just wants to protect those profits and keep a monopoly on the gasoline industry, he said.

“They want to do away with the blending of ethanol. They want to kill it,” he said.

Corn production continues to increase and Borer and others in the industry expect the trend to continue. Last year was a good year for corn farmers, he said.

Borer also told the group there was good news that children are staying in rural locations to farm after it’s becoming easier to make a living and have success.

Borer expressed concern over a statistic released that said rural America makes up 18 percent of the population but 40 percent of the men and women fighting in the military.

“That’s pretty disproportionate,” he said.

Toledo WTOL Meteorologist Chris Vickers told the group he predicts a cooler than normal spring and a cooler summer. He said the soil is well hydrated and predicts strong growing conditions.

Vickers also told the group while this winter has been one of the coldest and snowiest on record, next winter could be very mild with warmer than normal temperatures and little snowfall, based on studies of weather pattern. He cautioned, however, next winter is a long way off and a lot can change.

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