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WASHINGTON - The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), in response to the Feb. 7 debate on the Senate Floor.

“The Senate Agriculture Committee approved Bill Northey’s nomination unanimously, and the full Senate could have approved his nomination today. Farmers need Bill Northey on the job at USDA, and Senator Cruz’s hold is harmful to farmers. Senator Cruz claims he wants a “win-win” that benefits corn farmers.

"Corn farmers’ definition of a “win-win” is providing regulatory parity for E15 and higher blends of ethanol, which would increase the supply of RINs to lower RIN values, and improving transparency in the trading system. The only plan Senator Cruz has is to block the confirmation of a well-qualified and much-needed leader at the Department of Agriculture in order to undercut the successful and beneficial Renewable Fuel Standard.

"Whether it’s EPA, financial analysts or university experts, all confirm refiners are not facing a RIN price impact because they recover any costs through the price they receive for their refined products. Senator Cruz is trying to upend the RFS to address a non-existent problem and bail out refiners who have made poor business decisions. Unlike farmers – who USDA projects will face the lowest net farm income since 2006 this year – most refiners are reporting surging profits.

"Corn farmers are grateful for the leadership of Senators Chuck Grassley, Debbie Stabenow, Joni Ernst and Amy Klobuchar in supporting Bill Northey’s nomination on the Senate floor. Corn farmers also appreciate President Trump’s strong support of biofuels, rural communities and consumers.”

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