Nebraska corn and ethanol producers are generally pleased with an EPA decision on renewable fuel levels.
The agency is slightly increasing the 2018 renewable volume obligations for conventional biofuels, such as corn-based ethanol.
Kelly Brunkhorst, Nebraska Corn Growers Association executive director, says farmers in the state grow 600 million bushels of corn for ethanol, making it a key market.
“When you have that level of production capacity in the state and that being a driving factor in regards to our state economy and demand [for corn], it’s very important to us,” Brunkhorst tells Nebraska Radio Network.
He says the increase is better than the EPA’s initial volume recommendations earlier this year.
“Corn producers should be happy with the level, but we also continue to look for opportunities,” Brunkhorst says. “With the large crop that we’ve had, that’s just wrapping up now, we have to continue to look for these opportunities, so this provides some certainty in the foundation, now we need to continue to build upon it.”
Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator, says more needs to be done, especially for cellulosic biofuel.
“That category did not get much of a boost,” Sneller tells Nebraska Radio Network, “and the concern there is that in the absence of any particular demand for that type of biofuel, we may see less and less investment.”
Sneller says the industry needs to increase demand in domestic and international markets.
Nebraska is the number two producer of ethanol in the United States, behind Iowa.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:45]