Two major farm groups are joining the American Petroleum Institute to challenge EPA 2027-2032 tailpipe emissions standards that they argue are essentially an electric vehicle mandate.

The National Corn Growers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation and a group of six auto dealers who collectively operate “dozens of dealerships in major markets across the country,” are joining API on its petition filed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Twenty-five states also have filed a challenge in the court. Twenty-two other states have filed to intervene to defend EPA’s rule, which the agency says would result in a 49% emissions reduction by 2022 compared to 2026 levels.

Farm groups’ position: “While it could take decades to get enough electric vehicles on the road to significantly lower GHG emissions, ethanol is a critical and effective climate solution that is available now,” says Minnesota farmer and National Corn Growers Association President Harold Wolle. “We have tried to make this case to EPA to no avail, and now we will make our case in court.” 

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall adds, “Farmers answered the call to help America be more sustainable by growing the crops necessary for renewable fuels. Now, the rug is being pulled out from underneath them with unrealistic emissions goals that put years of investment at risk.”

Capitol Hill gets treated – twice over

It was a perfect day Wednesday for the International Dairy Foods Association’s 40th Annual Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party. Along with the usual guests there were representatives of Oatly, the oat milk company, who set up in a truck nearby offering their plant-based alternative.


“On the day that the dairy lobby was out, we wanted to make sure that climate and food systems were being talked about because we didn't feel that message was getting out there,” said Pearson Croney-Clark, public affairs manager at Oatly. “And then you know, it's fun, there’s ice cream, we wanted to offer a sweet treat to all the people who can't eat dairy."

Matt Herrick, senior VP of public affairs and communications at IDFA, said its popular annual event is a ”way to show appreciation to policymakers and regulators in the food and agriculture space.

“We get members of Congress, we get agency officials, we get ambassadors. It's an opportunity for the ag and the food communities to come together and sort of have a conversation.” 

Republicans follow Boozman move to push for farm bill action

The odds of a new farm bill passing this year remain low, but Senate Republicans are seizing on the release of Senate Ag ranking member John Boozman’s proposal this week to put some election-year pressure on Democrats.

“The betting money would go with some type of extension,” said Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., adding that he’d rather not see any bill pass this year if it doesn’t put more money into farm programs.

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“We've got to get it right. I'm not going to sign off on a bad farm bill. I'm not going to sign off on a farm bill that doesn't have ‘farm’ in it just to get it done,” he told Agri-Pulse.

Marshall said Boozman’s plan represents the Senate GOP’s “best offer” to Senate Ag Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. “I'm glad he put it down in writing, and we'll see if she has any interest.” Stabenow, of course, says the bill isn’t paid for and crosses key red lines for Democrats.

Elsewhere: Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has been vocally pessimistic about a bill passing this year, but he praised Boozman’s proposal. “I'm often one to say that we probably won't be getting a farm bill this year, but I'm also first to say that farmers need a farm bill this year, and the certainty that goes with it. … I sincerely hope this Republican framework will move the farm bill forward,” he told reporters Wednesday.

Keep in mind: Senate races in farm states such as Montana and Ohio could be pivotal in November with Senate control up for grabs. Both the Montana and Ohio races are rated as toss-ups. 

Iowa reports third dairy herd with HPAI

Avian flu has been found in another dairy herd in Iowa, marking the third operation to be hit with the virus, which has now been confirmed by USDA in 94 herds in 12 states.

The Iowa infection was the second detected in Sioux County; the first was found in O’Brien County.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is “strongly encouraging Iowa poultry producers and dairy farmers to bolster their biosecurity practices and protocols to protect their flocks and herds.”

USDA: Renewable diesel growth fuels greater oil, animal fat imports

U.S. imports of vegetable oils and animal fats have surged to help feed the growing renewable diesel industry, according to a new report from USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.

The value of all imported animal fats and vegetable oils more than doubled between 2020 and 2023 and are expected to continue to grow next year as the federal government transitions to providing federal tax credits for only biomass-based diesel produced in the U.S., which should incentivize more domestic production rather than imported fuel. This should fuel greater imports of the fat and oil feedstocks needed to produce it, the report says.

Keep in mind: Growth in renewable diesel is also helping somewhat to offset the impacts of falling U.S. soybean exports amid more competition from Brazil and lowered Chinese demand.

Produce industry builds bipartisan support

At the International Fresh Produce Association’s annual Washington conference this year, the produce industry and members of the House Specialty Crop Caucus celebrated the representation of specialty crops in every version of the farm bill released so far.

“That’s what happens when you work really hard to keep an issue bipartisan,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., told Agri-Pulse at the IFPA meeting.

“The good news is on a farm bill, it's so important to everybody, it has so many important things for so many Americans that I believe we will get it done by the end of the year. But that doesn't mean it's not going to be a roller-coaster before then.”

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