RELIANCE, SD — National Sorghum Producers hosted Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt in South Dakota today, holding a roundtable with area farmers and ethanol producers to address Renewable Fuels Standard concerns, the sorghum oil advanced biofuels pathway and EPA decisions that impact South Dakota farmers and ranchers.
NSP legislative committee member Adam Schindler and his family hosted the event on their sorghum, soybean, sunflower, wheat, cattle and corn farm near Reliance, touring fields with the Administrator in addition to the roundtable.
“We appreciate Administrator Pruitt for taking the time to listen to the concerns and challenges facing South Dakota producers,” Schindler said. “The changes in blending obligations related to RFS waivers are costing South Dakota farmers millions of dollars, and we hope to see the EPA take steps to resolve this issue and maintain the Administration’s commitment to renewable fuels.”
Tom Willis, NSP board director and CEO of Conestoga Energy, the largest end-market user of sorghum in the U.S., told Administrator Pruitt the EPA’s policies have brought the renewable energy space and row crop producers to the edge of abyss and most plants are struggling to make a profit today.
“Administrator Pruitt said he doesn’t want to pick winners and losers,” Willis said, “but EPA has already picked oil over rural America with his hardship RIN waivers.”
Administrator Pruitt also told the group an advanced pathway for sorghum oil use in biodiesel production will be finished by the end of June, which is anticipated news for sorghum producers.
“We have worked on this sorghum oil pathway for almost four years now,” NSP CEO Tim Lust said. “That is long enough. Our growers deserve to finally see this pathway in the Federal Register, and we look forward to Pruitt following through this month on his commitment.”
This was the second stop on Pruitt’s tour in the heartland, hearing about the impacts of ethanol policy on farmers and ethanol producers.
“There are clearly still differences of opinion between the Administrator and agriculture on the impact of RIN prices on commodity prices,” Lust said. “We look forward to continuing that discussion and appreciate the free exchange today. There is undoubtedly a lot of work left to do with Administrator Pruitt and the Administration quantifying how much this issue is impacting commodity markets and affecting our growers.”