March 07, 2018

Hunger Summit at ILLINOIS March 15-17

PUSH (Presidents United to Solve Hunger) is a consortium of universities from around the world that have the collective mission to end hunger and poverty, both locally and globally. Ninety university presidents from five continents have agreed to make food and nutrition security a priority on their campus—making ending hunger a core value of higher education institutions worldwide.

March 15-17 participants will meet at the i-Hotel on the University of Illinois campus. There is a free and open to the public session from 4-6pm Thursday, March 15.

Details are available online at

the following organizations are supporting PUSH

February 25, 2018

Trump’s Tax Reform May Have Already Fixed the RFS RINs Issue

a conversation with ILLINOIS Ag Economist Scott Irwin

Next Tuesday President Trump will meet with Senators Grassley, Ernst, and Cruz to discuss how ethanol RINs are related to a refinery’s bankruptcy in Pennsylvania. Secretary of Agriculture Perdue and EPA Administrator Pruitt should be in the room, too. They’re hoping to work out a fix for the oil industry. However, as you’ll hear, the gap isn’t that big anymore and the Trump tax cut may solve the issue.

read farmdocDaily article

by Scott Irwin, University of Illinois
excerpt - Implications

The political battle over the RFS has centered on the high price of ethanol RIN credits that are used to comply with the RFS conventional ethanol mandate. Independent “merchant” refiners claim that large RINs costs have materially harmed their profitability. We show in this article that high D6 RINs prices can be directly traced to conventional ethanol mandates that exceed the E10 blend wall, creating a gap that has to be filled by biodiesel.

When biodiesel takes on the role of the “marginal gallon” for filling the conventional ethanol mandate, this forces the price of a D6 ethanol RINs to equal the much higher price of a D4 biodiesel RINs. This is essentially the story of the RFS and the resulting political battles since 2012. What has received little notice is how rapidly the conventional ethanol gap has shrunk since 2014 due to the combination of: (1) the crash in crude oil prices stimulating gasoline consumption, and (2) an improving economy. For example, the latest ethanol use estimate from the EIA for 2019 implies a conventional ethanol gap of a little less than 300 million gallons.

This gap is so small that an increase in projected ethanol use for 2019 of just two percent would erase the gap completely. This means it is not out of the realm of possibility for D6 RINs prices to fall back their pre–2013 level of just a few cents without making any changes to the RFS. In this sense, “fixing” the RFS is getting easier and easier.

February 25, 2018

The Soybean Yield Gap, 63 Bushels on the Table

A university research project across the Midwest is hoping to bump soybean yields dramatically. Todd Gleason has more on how farmers can turn what they’re doing now to raise soybeans into the data feed for the project.​

February 25, 2018

French President Confronted by Farmers Over Glyphosate Ban

While I’m note sure this is exactly the moment which Emmanuel Macron is passionately telling a farmer he must ban the use of glyphosate because of the health problems he believes it may cause (cancer), it clearly shows him engaging directly. The French President visited his nation’s largest agricultural show Saturday in south Paris.

Farmers there booed him.

They are concerned about a proposed glyphosate ban, increased investment in farm land by China, and trade talks between the EU and South America.

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