Following an announcement by Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that they have introduced the bi-partisan Renewable Fuel Standard Repeal Act (S. 1195), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), National Chicken Council (NCC) and the National Turkey Federation (NTF) have urged Congress to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“The RFS has been such a poorly managed mess, it’s time to drain the swamp,” said NTF President Joel Brandenberger. “The RFS needs a fresh start in order to put in place a smarter policy on the mix of fuel and feed.”

The RFS last year required 13.2 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol to be blended into gasoline; it mandates that 13.9 billion gallons be blended in 2013, an amount that will use about 4.9 billion bushels of corn, or about 40 percent of the nation’s crop.

“Chicken producers are already competing with the weather,” said NCC President Mike Brown. “Why must we also compete with an inflexible federal mandate that voluntarily places another strain on our limited resources? I commend Sens. Barrasso, Pryor and Toomey for taking an approach that would let the free market decide whether corn should go to food or to fuel.”

Livestock and poultry groups called on the administration last fall to waive the RFS for the second time since 2008. And for the second time, in spite of the widespread drought and lowered harvest, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refused to use the safety valve built into the biofuels mandate.

“Cattlemen and women are self-reliant, but in order to maintain that we cannot be asked to compete with federal mandates like the Renewable Fuel Standard for the limited supply of feed grains,” said NCBA Policy Vice-Chair Craig Uden, an Elwood, Neb., cattle feeder.

“When EPA is unable to provide even a temporary waiver of the RFS during the worst drought in 50 years, it is apparent the RFS is broken and we appreciate the efforts of Sens. Barrasso, Pryor and Toomey to fix this flawed program.”

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