NewsJune 20 2018

EPA Administrator Pruitt hears South Dakota producers’ concerns

Posted by Lucy

EPA Administrator Pruitt hears South Dakota producers’ concerns 
By Lucy Halverson/LCH
   Last Wednesday, Reliance area producer and member of the National Sorghum Producers (NSP) legislative committee, Adam Schindler, volunteered his family farm to host the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s visit to South Dakota. The private event included a roundtable discussion with area farmers and ethanol producers regarding Renewable Fuels Standard concerns, the sorghum oil advanced biofuels pathway, and EPA’s decisions that impact South Dakota farmers and ranchers.  
   Schindler, who has been involved in leadership positions on the NSP board since 2012, and his family, parents Ken and Janet and brother Aaron, hosted the event on their sorghum, soybean, sunflower, wheat, cattle and corn farm near Reliance, touring fields with the Administrator in addition to holding the roundtable discussion with about 50 invited guests, many representing various ag related groups and associations.  
   The Schindler family had just five days notice to prepare for the cabinet member’s visit to central South Dakota.  
   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 Renewal Fuel Stadard 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.” 
   Schindler, Administrator Pruitt and one of his top aids spent over a hour riding around the farm in Schindler’s farm pickup. We talked about farming operations.... just tried to make a connection with him” said Schindler. “We had a very frank discussion.” 
   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 Renewable Identification Numbers (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.” 

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