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The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), in response to the hold on Bill Northey being lifted. Skunes gave these remarks during a news conference at Commodity Classic.

“After a needless four-month delay, farmers across the country will be well-served with Bill Northey finally on the job at USDA,” Skunes said.

Skunes also addressed the Feb 27 meeting at the White House in his remarks.

“Farmers are so grateful to Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley for representing farmers at the White House with integrity and steadfast support,” Skunes added. “We could not ask for better representatives.

“Today in Washington President Trump, officials from USDA and EPA, and Senators met to discuss issues affecting the RFS. There was no deal cut at this meeting. While no deal was made at this meeting, some participants tried to sell a deal.

“Our farmers cannot afford any deal that undermines demand for ethanol.  We continue to believe the elusive win-win solution involves regulatory parity for E15 and higher blends of ethanol, essentially allowing year-round sales of E15, and improved transparency in the RIN marketplace. Parity for higher blends would increase the supply of RINs and lower RIN values, allowing the RFS to work as it is intended. Farmers understand how supply affects price.

“A cap on RIN values hurts farmers because it reduces ethanol consumption below current levels. This reduction in corn use will push already low corn prices even lower.

“Just last November, the EPA concluded RIN values are not causing economic harm to refiners. The failings of one company should not be used to destroy a successful energy policy that serves not only millions of farmers who rely on strong market demand created by the RFS, but also the hundreds of ethanol and biodiesel plants and tens of thousands of plant workers.”

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