House Ag Committee Vice Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., is preparing to introduce legislation that would rollback ethanol usage requirements of the Renewable Fuels Standard in times of low U.S. corn supplies. According to Goodlatte, five of his ag committee colleagues have already agreed to co-sponsor the measure.
Goodlatte, who represents a leading turkey and poultry-producing district, said all end-users of corn need a level playing field.
"I'm not a fan of the government saying you have to produce a certain amount of a commodity for the purpose of creating renewable fuels, which is certainly a good thing to produce," Goodlatte said. "But not saying you got to produce a certain amount for the use of other people who have to compete in an open marketplace on the price, which is in part dictated by the government mandate. So livestock farmers are very much disadvantaged by that."
If Goodlatte had his way, the RFS mandate for corn ethanol would be eliminated altogether.
"At the very least I think we ought to have a situation where when the availability of stocks fall below a certain level the mandate should be suspended," Goodlatte said. "I'm working on legislation that would do just that and there's a broad coalition of agricultural interests that are working with me to accomplish that."
He did not comment on Capitol Hill chatter that his bill would reduce the ethanol mandate by 25% when the corn-stocks-to-use ratio is projected to be less than 7% and reduce it by 50% when the ratio would be 5% or less, saying that he wouldn't confirm rumors, just that he was working on legislation and would be introduced very soon.
Goodlatte is likely to have more to say about his proposal on Wednesday when he addresses the National Chicken Council annual meeting in Washington.