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Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding Texas Governor’s Request for Renewable Fuel Waiver

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 25, 2008 – “The American Farm Bureau Federation is disappointed that Texas Governor Rick Perry today asked the United States Environmental Protection Agency for a partial national waiver of the renewable fuel standard. This action will neither reduce our dependence on foreign oil nor reduce domestic corn prices appreciably.

“A waiver to the RFS will not result in lower gasoline prices. In fact, without biofuels, analysts suggest that gasoline prices would be as much as 15 percent higher. In most areas of our nation, that means gasoline prices at least 45-55 cents per gallon higher than they are now.

“Factors contributing to higher commodity and food prices include tight global stocks, the weak U.S. dollar, strong export demand, weather, commodity speculation by outside investors, and higher transportation and energy costs. Biofuels have helped strengthen demand for U.S. corn, but they are only one small factor in a very complex, global equation.

“Independent research places ethanol’s contribution to the food-cost increase on a global basis at somewhere between 10 and 30 percent. Furthermore, regarding today’s higher corn prices, analysis at the University of Wisconsin indicates that ethanol production has only accounted for a 41-cent-per-bushel increase in corn prices. If considered alone, ethanol’s effect on corn prices would still allow corn prices below $3 per bushel, rather than more than $5 a bushel as seen today.

“As a nation, we cannot turn our backs on the promise of renewable fuels. We need a national energy strategy that includes diverse energy sources, including biofuels. Other measures can be taken to ease the impact of higher commodity prices on consumers and livestock producers without crippling our national energy strategy. America’s farmers continue to produce abundant supplies of food for consumers as well as commodity crops, and U.S. agriculture continues to be one of our national strengths.”

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Contacts: Mace Thornton
(202) 406-3641
macet@fb.org
Anne Keller
(202) 406-3659
annek@fb.org