KANSAS CITY, Mo. (NAFB) — The National Sorghum Producers took part in the 2016 Growth Energy Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. this month. Jesse McCurry is a regional director for the National Sorghum Producers. He explains the role sorghum plays in biofuels. “Sorghum remains a very viable part of the ethanol industry. In fact it’s surprising how much more growth we could have as a feed stock in to the ethanol supply chain. Typically historically the plants that are more on the western part of the corn belt, in particular Kansas, Texas, Nebraska, can utilize sorghum. The plants in Kansas and Texas utilize it in a big way. In fact there is times when sorghum is the predominant feed stock in a few ethanol plants, so from our prospective it is a market. It is a market where farmers can often get a premium to sell grain to an ethanol plant compared to another local market alternative. We’re very keen on supporting the industry in what we can get done in Washington.”
No matter the crop: Corn, soybeans or sorghum, U.S. farmers have been very productive over the last few years. That’s led to lower crop prices and an abundance of supply. “I was always taught in dealing with issues we have to confront the brutal facts. The brutal fact is that we’re at minus ninety sorghum basis, minus a $1.30 wheat basis in my area. We have had very favorable weather, and our farmers are very productive. We have to continue to work on market access, whether that is international trade agreements or fuels policy. Really with the amazing productive capacity of American agriculture we have to fully bring it to bear and use it. Farmers have to have markets and that’s why we’re so keen on supporting ethanol.”
As part of the Growth Energy Advocacy Conference, McCurry was part of 21 teams that made more than 250 visits to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. They advised lawmakers on what action Congress can take to help U.S. agriculture in regards to biofuels. “The first one is do not turn back the clock on RFS because it works, it’s a success story. To repeal it or change it would give all control of transportation fuels to other industries and there is no reason why we shouldn’t fight to keep our market access. Number two is supporting 15. More and more people are using E-15. It’s a tremendous fuel. There is often an advantage from a pricing standpoint. Consumers have driven 300 million miles using E-15. Nationwide we need to get to E-15 as a new standard. The fact is E-10 blend wall is really a myth. The number three asked and probably the most specific one given where we’re at in this congress before recess is asking congress to support H.R. 1736 or S. 1239 which would give us relief on the Reid vapor pressure issue and allow more ethanol sales in summer months.”
The 2016 Growth Energy Advocacy Conference was held September 18th through the 21st.