ethanol

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media/File photo

The national average price for corn this season is back to $3.60 a bushel, about where it’s been most of this year except for an early-season spike ($4.16 in July) before the size and quality of the crop was known.

That’s not great news for corn growers, and for the ethanol part of the market, the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates are even worse.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — Large industrial operations — think electrical power plants, oil refineries, ethanol facilities —cough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by the ton. That, in turn, warms the planet.

But now some researchers think Kansas could be a good place to pump the gas underground rather than up in the air.

President Donald Trump’s administration will “unleash the power of E15,” allowing the 15 percent gasoline-ethanol blend to be sold year-round.

The announcement, made public this week at a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is being welcomed by corn growers and biofuel groups. But it may take longer for farmers like Kelly Nieuwenhuis of Primghar, Iowa, to feel the positive impact of E15 than they would like.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media/File photo

Midwestern U.S. senators’ lobbying campaign paid off Thursday for farmers who supply the renewable fuel industry.

Instead of making a small cut to the amount of ethanol and biodiesel to be used in the U.S. in 2018, the EPA approved an increase of less than one percent, bringing the total to 19.29 billion gallons. The federal agency also rolled back most of the proposed decrease for cellulosic ethanol, which can be made from cornstalks and perennial grasses.

Amy Mayer / IPR File Photo

Republican and Democratic senators from top corn- and ethanol-producing states say their pressure helped prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from changing rules governing renewable fuel production.

But at least one senator, Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, says President Trump was their ace in the hole against an EPA chief who has deep ties to the oil and gas industry.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media/File photo

The Environmental Protection Agency wants to reduce the amount of fuel in our gasoline supply that’s made from plants -- fuel produced with far less carbon dioxide than petroleum or even ethanol made from corn. That has some concerned that the Trump Administration plans to pull back from supporting innovation in renewable fuels.

On a sweltering summer morning, Rob Mitchell surveys a plot of switchgrass at a research field near Lincoln, Nebraska. The grass is lush, green and nearly six feet tall.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media/File photo

The federal government is proposing refiners use slightly less ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply next year. However, the cut would not be a blow to corn farmers.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the annual mandate for renewable fuel and is suggesting a 2 percent decrease for 2018, down to just over 19 billion gallons.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

The Trump administration is voicing its support for the ethanol industry, but without specifics, it is hard to say what that means exactly for Midwest farmers.

In a letter to industry leaders gathered at the National Ethanol Conference, President Donald Trump said renewable fuels “are essential to America’s energy strategy.”

The president wrote that he aims to reduce the regulatory burden on the renewable fuels industry, but did not detail specific plans.

ethanolpics, flickr Creative Commons

A new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says corn-based ethanol emits less greenhouse gas than gasoline. As Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock explains, it’s a hot-button debate.

The report says corn-based ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent. And with more no-till farming, more cover crops and better fertilizer management, emissions could decline further.

That’s good news for Midwest farmers and ethanol fans. But disputed by many environmental groups and the oil industry.

EPA Ups Corn Ethanol Targets

Nov 27, 2016
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media/File photo

The Environmental Protection Agency has increased the amount of renewable fuels that must be blended into the nation’s fuel supply next year, by nearly six percent. For Harvest Public Media, Sarah Boden reports on what this means for corn and soybean producers.

Every year, the EPA adjusts the amount renewable fuel it requires oil refiners to pump into our gas. After initially signaling lower renewable fuel goals, the agency reversed course.

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