Renewable Fuel Standard Cuts and Conservation Compliance Enforcement
**The renewable fuels industry is expressing frustration with the EPA's proposal to make additional cuts to biodiesel in the Renewable Fuel Standard.
According to Brownfield, Monte Shaw of Iowa Renewable Fuels Association warns it could have a "ripple effect" on the federal ethanol mandate.
The EPA says it's concerned the expiration of the biodiesel tax credit and a potential decline in biodiesel imports could cause domestic biodiesel prices "to increase significantly". Shaw isn't buying that argument.
**Congress is being asked to tighten enforcement of conservation compliance, increase spending on conservation programs and revise crop insurance rules to encourage more cover crops.
According to Agri-Pulse, the requests come from a coalition of environmental groups, joined by the National Farmers Union and National Sustainable Ag Coalition.
The eight-page set of farm bill proposals calls for making the 2014 farm bill's Sodsaver provision nationwide.
Currently limited to six states, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska, the provision slashes crop insurance premium subsidies to farmers who convert native prairie to crop production.
**Senate Democrats are pushing Ag Department officials to support increased funding to boost rural economic development and fight the opioid crisis.
In an Agri-Pulse report, Ranking Ag Committee Democrat, Senator Debbie Stabenow says "Rural communities are often the first to feel effects of an economic downturn and the last to see the impacts of an improving economy."
USDA officials also were urged to work to expand rural broadband access.