The biofuels industry had a rough year in 2020. We realize it was a big club. However, when you look at the decrease in traveling because of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is easy to see why the industry is hurting. However, it has been very tough to get assistance to the industry as any part of agriculture stimulus. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley talked about the possibilities available for assistance in the latest round of stimulus.
Senator Grassley said that legislation pushed by himself and Iowa Senator Joni Ernst allows for the USDA to use some of the stimulus monies received to help the ethanol industry but repeats that United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue has been arguing that he does not have the authority to offer such assistance to biofuels.
Grassley says that the authority is there and that if Secretary Perdue is not willing to use the authority, they will appeal to presumed-incoming Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to use it. Grassley is confident that with Vilsack being an Iowa native, he will understand the importance of helping the biofuels industry.
Grassley is also cautious about the speed at which the stimulus monies will be paid out. He does not know if there is a push to get it moved before the new administration comes in later this month.
The ethanol industry estimates that the pandemic has cost the industry in excess of $4 billion dollars.