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Readers’ Views

Where’s support for ag?

To the Editor:

As a lifelong farmer and former long-term officer on the local corn, soybean and Farm Bureau boards, I believe one of the actions most needed by Congress to turn around our farm economy is getting the United States/Canada/Mexico trade agreement ratified. This agreement would be a big boost to Martin County, allowing exports greater and more efficient market access.

This trade deal was completed on Aug. 27, 2018; agreed to by all three countries on Nov. 30, 2018, subject to ratification by all three governments. On March 1, 2019, every major agricultural organization came out in favor of passing it quickly to help the struggling rural economy.

Did you know Mexico is No. 1 and Canada is No. 5 worldwide in both corn and pork imports from our country? What makes our Martin County economy prosper? Profits in pork, as the No. 1 pork-producing county in Minnesota and in the top 10 in the United States. Martin County also gains income from corn, with two large ethanol plants helping us get full-use value out of every bushel raised locally.

So, where are we today on getting this valuable deal passed and helping our rural economy? Nowhere.

Democrat Dan Feehan, a wannabe U.S. representative, and his Twin Cities-based Democrat representative comrades all are claiming they feel for the rural farm financial crisis. They blame low prices on the trade wars and President Trump. Yet all they do is continue to fully support Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her power brokers in Congress who refuse to do the real work of the country and bring up the USMCA, which would be a win for America.

Republican Congressman Jim Hagedorn was the first Minnesota representative to support USMCA. He continues to do all he can to try to get this “do nothing but investigate Trump Congress” not to waste another year of lost income for our region but instead bring USMCA up for a vote. He is part of the solution, not the problem.

Farmers and rural citizens shouldn’t be fooled. The goal of the current Democrat-led Congress does not include a boost to the local economy with good actions like ratifying USMCA, or any other future fair trade deal the Trump administration proposes. Instead their opposition to Trump and his congressional supporters reveals their primary goal, regardless of the cost to rural America. It is gaining power by getting their candidate in the White House in 2020.

Jerry Fast

Truman

­Striking out cancer

To the Editor:

The Fairmont Bowling Association officers would like to thank the Ladies Commercial, Ladies Stars and Strikes, and Men’s American bowling leagues of the association for participating in the Strike Against Cancer fundraiser for 2019 held the week of Oct. 21.

Our donation of $380 will be designated for the infusion department at the Mayo Clinic Health System hospital in Fairmont to aid cancer patients.

Special thanks go to the men’s bowling league for its participation this year.

Thanks to our FBA bowlers, we can help keep our infusion department equipped with supplies needed to help the cancer patients. Thank you for all your support and donations.

Sue Moore, director

Fairmont Bowling Association

Big losses for farms

To the Editor:

My family’s multi-generational corn and soybean farm depends on the ethanol market to survive. Each year, we bring our corn to two ethanol plants, providing us a local buyer that benefits our Greater Minnesota community.

We have seen a local ethanol plant close this year after attempts by the Environmental Protection Agency to destroy ethanol demand finally took their toll.

Since 2018, the EPA has removed 4 billions gallons of ethanol from the nation’s fuel supply by granting 85 Renewable Fuel Standard exemptions to oil refineries, which relieves them of their RFS responsibility to blend biofuels. This is a win for Big Oil that has led to big losses in farm country.

More than 5 billion bushels of corn go the ethanol production each year. Reducing the amount of biofuels added to the nation’s supply by billions ended demand for roughly 1.4 billion bushels of corn — almost equal to total corn production in Minnesota last year.

In an effort to stop these attacks on the ethanol market, more than 700 Minnesota farmers contacted the EPA in September with a simple demand: Follow the law and keep the RFS whole by meeting the volume requirements.

The White House announced a biofuels package that, on the surface, appeared to address our concerns. Waived gallons would be accounted for on the front end, ensuring the RFS is followed and volumes are met.

We soon learned this wasn’t the case. The EPA would account for waived gallons based only on recommendations by the Department of Energy, not the actual waived gallons. Over the last three years, the EPA has waived nearly double the amount of gallons recommended by the DOE.

Minnesota’s farmers once again must make their voice heard to address the latest form of deceit from the EPA. Visit mncorn.org today to participate in the current comment period, which may be one of the last opportunities we have to demand the EPA follows the law and commits to the RFS.

Stephan Melson

Odin

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