Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Steve Womack (R-AR) and Peter Welch (D-VT) have introduced the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Reform Act to help ease concerns created by the ethanol mandate and protect consumers, energy producers, livestock and poultry producers, food manufacturers, retailers and the U.S. economy.  

"I commend Congressmen Goodlatte, Costa, Womack and Welch for their leadership in introducing this legislation that will provide much needed relief to U.S. chicken producers and family farms that raise chickens," said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown.  "After EPA's refusal last fall to grant a waiver from the RFS in the face of the worst drought since the 1950s, it is abundantly clear the RFS is broken and needs to be reformed."

The legislation eliminates the conventional biofuels mandate, beginning in 2014, and rescinds the requirements of blending up to 15 percent ethanol into the fuel supply.

Brown noted that since the RFS was enacted, chicken producers alone have incurred $35 billion in cumulative additional feed costs.

"We have witnessed a dozen poultry companies file for bankruptcy, be sold or simply close their doors, due in large part to the extreme volatility and record high cost of corn associated with ethanol's insatiable demand," he said. 

"Chicken producers are certainly not anti-corn; and we're not even anti-ethanol. What we are against is a government mandate that artificially inflates the price of corn, picks winners and punishes losers among those who depend on it.  The Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act seeks to level this playing field by embracing free market principles," Brown concluded.

Also this afternoon, Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) and Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced a separate bill, the Renewable Fuel Standard Amendments Act, which would solely zero-out corn from the RFS.  NCC also supports this legislation as another vehicle to help alleviate the economic harm caused by the federal government's misguided ethanol policy.

Several other food trade associations added their praise for the legislation.

Kraig R. Naasz, President and CEO, American Frozen Food Institute, said, “Frozen food producers and their suppliers believe the RFS is unworkable and must be revisited by Congress. Our position is very simple: food should be used to fuel bodies not vehicle engines.”

J. Patrick Boyle, President and CEO American Meat Institute, said, “It is clear that the Renewable Fuel Standard is a failed policy that has driven up the price of corn to record levels and put a strain on the entire meat and poultry production chain. For years, AMI has called for a renewable fuels policy that doesn’t pit energy against food production, and we appreciate the leadership of Representatives Goodlatte, Costa, Womack, and Welch in introducing this crucial legislation.”

Joel Brandenberger, President, National Turkey Federation, said, “The RFS cost the turkey industry $1.9 billion in increased feed expenses last year. For this reason and more, the National Turkey Federation believes the introduction of the RFS Reform Act by Representatives Goodlatte, Costa, Womack, and Welch is a strong step in the right direction.  We appreciate our champions for standing up against this misguided ethanol policy that has caused severe economic harm to our industry and the country.”

Barry Carpenter, CEO, North American Meat Association, said, “Food prices are rising because of the drought and other natural causes, and continuing to mandate the use of corn for non-food purposes doesn't make sense anymore.  If we can find ways to alleviate the situation and at the same time maintain, and even improve, our reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, we should.  The time to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard is now."

Sources: NCC, NTF