Yoder to McCain and GOP: “Don’t take people like me for granted.”

This is a guest editorial from Fred Yoder, a past president of the National Corn Growers Association from Ohio .  It was published on the Buckeye Ag Radio Network website yesterday morning.  He is a staunch Republican who is very unhappy with McCain.  It’s worth reading.

09/11/08 – Editor’s Note – I mentioned earlier in the month a surprising change in the platform of the Republican Party outlining a shift in policy regarding biofuels. After many years of staunch support for ethanol and the renewable fuels industry, the party announced a major change in their stance on this valuable resource.

Fred Yoder, a dear friend of mine and Past President of the National Corn Growers Association and Ohio Corn Growers Association, submitted this open letter to the party in response.

This is an open letter to the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee.
As a farmer who has been a life-long Republican, I have been very involved in our country’s agriculture policy development and implementation for a long while. I have seen many good people work very hard from both sides of the aisle to develop policy for new and alternative fuels to help wean us from our dependence on foreign sources of energy. I am very proud of both the Energy Security Act of 2005, which provides a floor for ethanol use to help build the refining infrastructure in our heartland, and also the Energy Act of 2007, which goes even further, encouraging not only biofuels made from corn, but also those made from other sources such as wood chips, corn stover, and switch grass. It also includes incentives to further develop the wind and solar energy industries.

I was very surprised and upset to learn that the RNC slipped into their Republican Platform at their convention a plank that basically opposes the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the part in both energy bills that mandates the use of alternative liquid fuels. Back during the 2004 Republican convention, there was strong support for building and using alternative fuels to help us be less reliant on foreign oil. What has changed in the last 4 years? The RFS has worked exactly like it was designed to do. Without the current use of 8 billion gallons of ethanol to stretch gasoline supplies, Merrill Lynch has estimated gasoline at the pump would be at least 15% higher, or roughly 40 to 60 cents a gallon.

The more experience we receive in using current models of biofuel refinement, the more we can learn about other possibilities, such as growing algae for biodiesel, and capturing greenhouse gases and turning them into high-value liquid fuels and electricity. The point is any new industry that will benefit so many people needs some help to get started. Why would we pull the plug on such a promising and important industry?
The Obama campaign has been very clear with their positions on alternative liquid fuels. Senator Obama has stated “I am strongly committed to advancing biofuels as a key component of reducing our dependence on foreign oil.” Senator McCain has stated he would end “mandates, subsidies, tariffs and price supports that focus exclusively on corn-based ethanol” and let the free market identify the best alternative fuels. Who is he kidding? What incentives will there be to sink enormous sums of money into research to develop these new fuels if there is no ready market for them? Remember, we currently rely on our oil friends to blend and market our home-grown ethanol because they have to. In essence, by taking away the RFS, there will be a national mandate to use only gasoline. How does that help in reducing our reliance on imported oil?

What I am asking the McCain campaign is please do not take people like me for granted. I may have conservative social values, but don’t expect me to stand by quietly and let the most promising and effective rural development tool that we have seen in years, as well as a significant contributor to reduce our reliance on foreign oil, be disassembled after all of the great bipartisan support and cooperation it took to make it happen in the first place.

Fred Yoder is a farmer from Plain City .

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One Response to “Yoder to McCain and GOP: “Don’t take people like me for granted.””

  1. […] that can sustain themselves in harsh conditions without the use of pesticides. A great example of a biotech farmer is Fred Yoder, a 4th generation farmer who grows biotech corn, soybeans, and wheat on his farm of 1500 acres near […]

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