Ethanol industry reacts to EPA decision

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 8:36 AM CST
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - The ethanol industry has gotten some encouraging news from the new leadership at the Environmental Protection Agency. In a decision regarding Small Refinery Waivers, EPA officials are siding with a decision from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals saying the Trump Administration mishandled the program by issuing too many waivers. From 2016 through 2020 the EPA gave out 88 waivers. But the waivers aren’t gone yet as some oil refiners have appealed the court’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court which will hear arguments in the case later this spring.

Scientists at the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration are now reporting there is no credible evidence of food or food packaging being a source for the spread of the Coronavirus. They said there are few reports of the virus being detected on food or its packaging because the number of virus particles that could be picked up by touching a surface would be very small and the amount needed for infection by touching or inhaling the virus would have to be very high. Agencies all over the world are verifying this research especially after the Chinese have stated food packaging is a likely source for the spread of the virus.

Wisconsin lost 500 farms in 2020. We now have 64,400 farms as the biggest decrease was in small farm numbers—those with sales between one thousand and 10 thousand dollars. The average size of a Wisconsin farm is now 222 acres, up 2 acres from 2019. One statistic that hasn’t changed since 2017 is the amount of land we have in agriculture—that’s 14.3 million acres. Nationally there were 2 million 19 thousand farms at the start of this year—down 44 hundred from 2019. Farm numbers fell across the country for all sizes of farms. But there are now 800 thousand fewer acres in agriculture than there were in 2019—down to 896.6 million acres. The size of the average U.S. farm is the same as last year—444 acres.

Some groups, like Cooperatives are finding their bylaws are causing them some problems. The Cooperative Network is pushing legislation that would let them hold their annual meetings virtually. Currently their bylaws say member meetings must be held at the cooperative’s principal office or another place chosen by the Board of Directors. There is currently a bill before the state legislature that would allow for changes to be made.

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