Gregory Meyer: Why US farmers Are Falling Out Of Love with Donald Trump https://www.ft.com/content/41b3c728-0a11-11ea-b2d6-9bf4d1957a67?shareType=nongift: 'As impeachment gathers momentum, anger over ethanol policy threatens the president in the Corn Belt.... Siouxland is a biofuel refinery, taking corn by the truckload from some of the nation’s best land and brewing it into ethanol for car engines. Built with local farmers’ capital and political muscle, these plants have established a market for excess grain supplies over the past 15 years and helped cut US reliance on foreign oil. But this autumn, the plant laid idle for six weeks, one of dozens to have slowed or halted their operations even as demand for transport fuel creeps higher. Plant owners blame government waivers that allow smaller oil refineries to ignore quotas requiring biofuel use. The policy shift has capped demand growth and pressured prices for corn and soyabeans. The resulting pain for farmers is now creating a problem for Donald Trump. “We pretty much supported President Trump in the last election,” says Kelly Nieuwenhuis, one of 391 local farmers with a stake in Siouxland. “I know the polls say he has still got a lot of strong [farmer] support, but I’ve heard a lot of people that won’t support him again because of biofuels.” The anger highlights the Trump administration’s difficulty satisfying rival constituencies in the Corn Belt and oilfields. The number of “small refinery exemptions”, or SREs, has shot up since 2017 and shaved 7.4 per cent from the government biofuel target in the latest round, according to the Energy Information Administration. The government says low-volume oil refineries are entitled to such waivers if they can prove hardship from biofuels quotas. This obscure policy shift, conducted in the shadow of national news about impeachment, is now weakening Mr Trump’s standing in a core voting bloc ahead of the 2020 elections...


#noted #2019-11-23

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