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Corn Growers praise formation of new Senate biofuels caucus

(Friday, May 23, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release.

Contact: Larry Mitchell (202) 835-0330

WASHINGTON - May 22, 2003 - The American Corn Growers Association praised Senate leaders today for the formation of a new bipartisan Senate Biofuels Caucus. The new caucus, led by Senators Harkin, D-Iowa, Coleman, R-Minn., Lincoln, D-Ark., and Talent, R-Mo., was created to promote the use and development of renewable fuels.

Larry Mitchell, chief executive officer of ACGA, commended the senators' leadership and initiative saying, "This will now further advance our endeavor to craft a national energy policy which is more diverse, decentralized, domestic and renewable."

"Farmers and ranchers are anxiously awaiting the establishment of a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) so they may create more value for their raw products by providing feedstocks for the production of ethanol and biodiesel," said National Farmers Union President Dave Frederickson. "NFU has promoted biofuels at the state and federal levels for more than 20 years, and we look forward to working with the newly formed Caucus to achieve a national RFS that will stabilize farm income, improve the environment and create economic opportunities in rural America."

Harvey Joe Sanner, executive director of the Soybean Producers of America, expanded on the issue by praising Lincoln for her wisdom in identifying the RFS as much more than an just an ethanol program. "Senator Lincoln realizes the importance of other bio-fuels, such as soydiesel, an important marketing opportunity for soybean producers."

An RFS is currently being considered as an amendment (Senate Amendment 542) to the Senate energy bill (S. 14) after being introduced by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D. Cosponsors of the amendment include Lugar, R-Ind., Johnson, D-S.D., Inhofe, R-Okla., Dorgan, D-N.D., Grassley, R-Iowa, Harkin, D-Iowa, Hagel, R-Neb., Durbin, D-Ill., Voinovich, R-Ohio, Nelson, D-Neb., Talent, R-Mo., Dayton, D-Minn., Coleman, R-Minn., Edwards, D-N.C., Crapo, R-Idaho, Conrad, D-N.D., DeWine, R-Ohio, Baucus, D-Mont., Burns, R-Mont., and Fitzgerald, R-Ill. The amendment would double the use of ethanol and biodiesel in America's transportation fuels over the next decade. A similar measure gained wide bipartisan support and received 69 votes on the Senate floor last year.

Others commending the formation of the new caucus included American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman, Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen, National Corn Growers Association Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett, and Bob Metz, president of the National Biodiesel Board.

The American Corn Growers Association represents 14,000 members in 35 states. See http://www.acga.org