ACE CEO says USDA has reference points when determining COVID relief for biofuels


ACE CEO says USDA has reference points when determining COVID relief for biofuels

The CEO of the American Coalition for Ethanol says USDA will have a blueprint to refer to when determining how to distribute COVID relief dollars to the struggling renewable fuels sector.

Brian Jennings tells Brownfield legislation introduced in the House earlier this year by outgoing Ag Committee chairman Collin Peterson would reimburse biofuel producers for production during the first quarter of 2020.

“I think it was a 45 cent payment if they produced (and) half of that, 20-some cents, if they did not. And then on the Senate side, you had a similar piece of legislation introduced by Senator Grassley.”

Jennings says that bill would provide a 75 percent reimbursement on feedstock purchases that occurred during the first part of the year.

“I think our advice to USDA is going to be to look at those two pieces of legislation to help them sort of figure out who qualifies for assistance, and how much assistance they may get.”

The COVID relief package provides $13 billion in agricultural assistance and specifies that funding can be used to make payments to producers of advanced biofuel, biomass-based diesel, cellulosic biofuel, conventional biofuel, or renewable fuel produced in the U.S.

Jennings stresses that USDA has a limited pot of money with which to make assistance available, and biofuels is among those under discretionary authority.  He says if there are payments to ethanol producers, they will be modest.

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