YUTAN (KPTM)- More than 15 lawmakers are urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to waive the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). It makes sure a certain amount of corn becomes ethanol. Officials say, this year, about 40 percent of the corn crop will go to make about 13 billion gallons of ethanol. So that means less corn at a higher price for farmers, even during the drought.
"If I was just a cattle feeder I wouldn't like it. If I was just a grain farmer, I would probably like the subsidies in ethanol," said grain and cattle farmer, Mike Heldt.
His land in Yutan, Neb. has seen it's fair share of drought damage.
"Our corn was kind of under stress, but we still had a good crop. Now that's all gone. Now, we've got probably 400 acres now that won't make anything," said Heldt.
This summer, corn has been selling for 8 dollars a bushel—the highest it has ever been.
"The united states needs to raise more of it's own fuel instead of getting it all imported," said Heldt.
Lawmakers said the RFS will help farmers like Heldt sell their corn. And not depend so much on foreign oil.
But those against the RFS say fuel prices will drive up because of the drought.
"Nobody could plan on this drought so we have ethanol being a user of corn now on top of our cattle and hog feeders and chicken feeders, all the feed stuff that goes into it. Now we've got ethanol as a user so now we don't have enough corn to go around," said Heldt.
To cut their losses, farmers are turning dead corn into chopped silage to help feed their livestock.
"It's a losing proposition right now. And even at six dollar corn its probably not very fees able to feed cattle and hogs because it's just too much," said Heldt.
Like many farmers, Heldt says it's only a cycle just like the seasons.
"This is a short term deal. As soon as it starts raining and everything you will never hear anything about this again, it will go away," he said.
But no matter what the weather brings, he'll still be farming.
"As soon as we get back to our regular weather pattern, I think it will all work out because we'll have enough corn. We need ethanol and we need cattle feed and I think it will all work out," said Heldt.
Lawmakers say they want the mandate to stay in place. But agree there should be a waiver for special circumstances.
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