In a letter to the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, a coalition of the U.S. livestock and poultry industry associations, including the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the American Meat Institute, the National Chicken Council, the National Meat Association, the National Pork Producers Council and the National Turkey Federation, requested a hearing to discuss the Renewable Fuel Standard’s (RFS) impact on the economy. The groups cited ongoing pressure on domestic feed grain supplies and a discovery of $9 million of fraudulent renewable identification numbers as justifications for a hearing.
"In light of the ongoing pressures that the RFS is placing on the domestic feed grain supplies, something must be done to protect livestock and poultry producers from excessively high corn prices because of the rigid RFS compliance system," the groups told Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D- Calif.) and Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-Okla.).
"Therefore, we request that the Senate hold a hearing to examine the continued pressure on grain supplies and the impact that it is having on the bottom line of livestock and poultry producers."
The letter noted that a 2011 National Academy of Sciences study found that since 2007, the diversion of portions of the corn crop to ethanol production has been a contributing factor to the increased strain on livestock and poultry producers. While other factors play a role, the RFS mandate is the sole area the U.S. government can control, the groups said.
"Not only are the meat and poultry industries asking the Senate committee to make an attempt to understand the impact on farmers and ranchers, but we also are asking the committee to consider the impact on the American consumer," the groups said. "The livestock and meat and poultry coalition thinks an EPW committee hearing to examine the continued merits and impact of this broad reaching policy would be timely and relevant."