Governor Branstad praised Texas and the work of its governor Tuesday two days before a trip to Washington D.C. to defend ethanol.
Governor Branstad visited Houston Monday and met with Governor Rick Perry who held a fundraising luncheon for Branstad’s re-election campaign. The Texan was in Iowa just last month for a fundraising dinner for the Republican Party of Polk County.
Governor Branstad is facing criticism for the Texas trip but he used his news conference to defend the ethanol industry.
Branstad will testify at a public hearing in the nation’s capital about the EPA’s decision to reduce the amount of ethanol to be blended into gasoline by 3 billion gallons.
The governor said the nation’s agriculture economy will take a hit if the federal government’s Renewable Fuels Standard for yearly ethanol production is reduced.
“The price of corn has dropped to about or even below the cost of production.” Branstad said. “If we have a good year next year, we`ll see the price of corn way below the cost of production. This could drive down the price of farmland and could reduce the demand for farm machinery and have a very devastating effect.”
Since the Renewable Fuels Standard was introduced in 2007, people are driving less and fuel economy has improved.
The current mandate of 18.15 billion gallons of renewable fuel for 2014 will generate more ethanol than many engines can safely handle, a problem known as the “blend wall.”