Farmer confidence plunges as trade war expands

Although most producers say Trump tariff payments will "completely or somewhat" relieve the impact of the Sino-U.S. trade war on their operations, farmer confidence is plummeting, according to a Purdue University poll released Tuesday. The Ag Economy Barometer, a gauge of the health of the agricultural economy, fell from a record high of 153 in July to the lowest reading — 124 — since May.(No paywall)

Promise and delay, the latest step in Trump’s dance with corn and oil interests

President Trump will soon announce a plan to boost demand for biofuels. At least that’s what Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told participants in a policy forum at the Illinois Farm Progress Show on Wednesday. But no one — including Trump or Perdue — seems to know exactly what that plan will be, let alone when it will be announced or implemented.

Lawmakers call for review of EPA’s ethanol waivers

A dozen lawmakers called on Wednesday for a review of the explosion in ethanol waivers awarded by the EPA in the past two years. In a letter to the Government Accountability Office, the lawmakers said many of the small-volume refineries that applied for waivers did not need them.

Largest ethanol maker closes Indiana plant, blames EPA waivers

At the same time that POET, the largest U.S. ethanol maker, said it was forced to shut down an Indiana plant due to EPA “mismanagement” of the ethanol mandate, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee said that “farmers feel the government isn’t keeping its word” on biofuels.

Farm and ethanol groups ask Trump to intervene on RFS waivers

President Trump, who campaigned for election as a friend of corn ethanol, ought to stop the EPA from issuing "hardship" waivers that free refineries from complying with the so-called ethanol mandate, said ethanol and farm groups. The EPA approved 31 waivers for small-volume refineries on Friday without comment.

IPCC report warns that climate change threatens food supply

A United Nations climate report on Thursday warned that the world’s unsustainable use of land is boosting greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change, and threatening future food production. But the report also said that land use, farming, and food consumption can shift in important ways that could help mitigate climate change. (No paywall) (No paywall)

EPA approves year-round sale of E15

The EPA pointed to “President Trump’s promise” in ending its summertime ban on the sale of E15, a richer blend of corn ethanol into gasoline than the traditional blend of 10 percent. The oil industry, in response, hinted at a possible lawsuit.

Wildlife group says ethanol mandate should be lowered

The Renewable Fuel Standard, which guarantees biofuels such as corn ethanol a share of the gasoline market, has prompted farmers to plow under wildlife habitat and has contributed to agricultural runoff, said the National Wildlife Federation on Thursday.

Ethanol exports set a record of 1.7 billion gallons

Roughly 11 percent of U.S. corn ethanol was exported in 2018, a record 1.7 billion gallons worth $2.7 billion, said ethanol trade groups on Wednesday. Exports were nearly 25 percent higher than the previous record of 1.4 billion gallons, set in the preceding year, said the groups.

EPA: One denial among 53 requests for waivers from biofuel mandate

On Thursday, the EPA refused to disclose to senators the names of oil companies that received “hardship” waivers that exempt small-volume refineries from having to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard.