RIPPEY- Corn farmers have recently been dealing with the declining demand for E-85 and E-15 fuels. And with President Trump’s Friday endorsement of oil, some fear things could take an even more pronounced downturn.
“Biofuels are an important part of our bottom line, not only on our farm, but also in rural communities.,” said Tim Bardole, a farmer in Rippey. “So, it’s very important.”
Tim Bardole has about 1,100 acres of corn on his farm. All of that corn gets driven over to an ethanol plant in Grand Junction.
“Since the RFS really took off, the majority of our corn went to ethanol plants because they have a little better payoff than co-ops,” said Bardole.
Lately though, since demand for ethanol at the pump has dropped, Bardole hasn’t been getting the same bang for his buck, or even the same need from the plant for his corn.
“And that hurts us because we can’t get our corn hauled that we need to haul to pay off those notes at the bank,” said Bardole.
He’s not alone either. Farmers all across Iowa could be scrambling to find new sources for their corn, if ethanol demand continues to drop.
“Instead of moving those volumes, requirements to other refineries, they just go away, and that’s been devastating to the biofuels market, not only ethanol but biodiesel,” said Bardole.
Bardole will stay in a holding pattern for now, hoping to move whatever he can to the local refinery.
“I’ve already sold it to the plant, so I can’t take it anywhere else,” he said.. “So, I have to wait. When they’re open, I deliver, and when they’re not, I do other things.”
And after decades on the farm, he knows patience will be his biggest ally as he weathers this possible storm.
“In agriculture, there’s always ups and downs, and the downs come quick and the ups go very slowly up and they don’t last very long,” said Bardole.