Decline in ethanol demand has significant impacts across our rural economy.

Letter to the Editor:

In Tama County, it’s easy to see how important agriculture is to our way of life. I’m a proud farmer and a long-time member of the Iowa Farm Bureau, so I know first-hand how easily unpredictable factors can turn fortunes upside down when raising corn and soybeans. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken farm uncertainty to a new level.

For example, the pandemic has slashed demand for ethanol, which is an integral part of our agricultural supply chain. Fuel demand is plummeting, which has triggered an all-time high in ethanol stockpiles. There’s been a 45 percent fall in demand from blenders and refiners compared to last year. These are drastic changes that have forced Iowa plants to slow production and furlough workers, or close completely.

This It’s caused shortages of feed for swine and cattle normally derived from ethanol production, and it’s directly impacted packing plants across our state that depend on large amounts of CO2 produced from ethanol plants to chill meat.

Washington needs to step up, but at the moment it feels like we’re at the back of the line. Iowa’s congressional representatives are working hard to advocate for support and I hope they have success in getting relief for both farmers and the biofuel workers who will rebuild our markets. Our supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link, which means we must stand united.

Nick Podhajsky – Farmer