One-Third of Topsoil Is Gone From Midwestern Farmland

One-Third of Topsoil Is Gone From Midwestern Farmland

New research shows that fertile, carbon-rich topsoil is completely gone from one-third of all farmland in the Midwest, severely impairing crop growth and future harvests. 

Why This Matters: Experts say this “growing” problem is mostly due to over-tilling the soil and other unsustainable farming practices.

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Races to Watch: Ernst’s Climate Change Doubts Could Put Greenfield Over the Top

Races to Watch: Ernst’s Climate Change Doubts Could Put Greenfield Over the Top

Senator Joni Ernst won her way into the Senate in 2014 on a conservative platform and a boast about the ability to cut through the red tape in Washington (she would make the pigs in Washington squeal).  But now her ties to big oil and gas in D.C. are putting her at odds with Iowa farmers who make biofuels. 

Why This Matters:  While it is not her top issue, the Democratic, Theresa Greenfield, does not shy away from climate change.

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Ethanol Sales Drop With Gas Prices, Producers Begin Making Hand Sanitizer

Ethanol Sales Drop With Gas Prices, Producers Begin Making Hand Sanitizer

To offset a portion of the losses, some of the nation’s largest ethanol producers have switched to making hand sanitizer, even though it costs them.

Why This Matters:  President Trump because the administration is under pressure from the gas companies and refiners to lift the ethanol requirement altogether – something they had been doing often on a case by case basis in the past.

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Demand For Ethanol Plummets Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic and Gas Price War

Demand For Ethanol Plummets Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic and Gas Price War

It’s not only conventional oil and gas that is suffering due to the pandemic and price war, demand for corn-based ethanol fuel has also plummeted by 20% — the lowest since the Energy Information Administration began publishing weekly data in 2010, according to the Houston Chronicle. 

Why This Matters:  The Clean Air Act requires every gallon of gas sold during the summer contains about 10% ethanol.

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As Caucuses Approach, Iowa Dems Focused On Climate Change

As Caucuses Approach, Iowa Dems Focused On Climate Change

The Hill reported yesterday, citing polling data and interviews with state Democratic leaders, that climate change has been widely discussed throughout the state with all the candidates in the run-up to the caucuses next week — it is a top tier issue because last year’s historic flooding has taken an estimated $2 billion toll on the state’s farmers and communities and because of the Trump Administration’s policies on biofuels. 

Why This Matters:  An overwhelming majority Iowans are convinced that climate change is real and they consider it one of the top issues facing our country — second only to health care.

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Corn Producers Get A Boost From Trump Proposal to Increase Ethanol Production

Corn Producers Get A Boost From Trump Proposal to Increase Ethanol Production

After starting a trade war with China that hurt midwestern farmers, and giving “small” refineries a free pass on requirements to produce ethanol, the Trump Administration last Friday announced new rules to increase the mandates for ethanol in order to increase the sale of the biofuel beyond the current requirement of 15 billion gallons annually.

Why This Matters:  With so many special interests pressuring the President, it is hard to please everyone. The American Petroleum Institute (API), the lobby for the oil industry, and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, which represents oil refineries, announced that they would challenge the policy.

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