To the Editor:
Agriculture is one of the most important industries in Illinois. Marketing of agriculture commodities generates more than $19 billion annually in Illinois, and corn production accounts for 54 percent of that total.
As most farmers in Illinois know all too well, ethanol is an important part of corn production in Illinois. Without demand for our crops, prices drop to lower and unprofitable levels. We have 13 ethanol plants in Illinois, and we lead the nation in ethanol production.
In Illinois, about 274 million bushels of corn are used each year to produce about 678 million gallons of ethanol.
It goes without saying that the federal renewable fuel standard program has been very good to Illinois. But the future of the program is something we should be thinking about now.
The current program is set to expire in 2023. If nothing is done to preserve the program and the inclusion of ethanol in it, the Environmental Protection Agency will assume absolute control of the renewable fuel standard program and could reduce the use of corn.
It is my hope that we start having a discussion of what the RFS program will look like after 2023 and to make sure ethanol continues to be part of the program.
Research the issue, bring up the topic in your group meetings, and contact our congressmen and senators to express your views.
The production of ethanol is important to our farmers and to the Illinois economy as a whole.
Rep. Robert Pritchard
Republican, 70th District, Hinckley