After visit with MSGA director, Rep. Craig pushes for legislation

Congresswoman calls for expansion of biodiesel tax credits

After visiting the farm of Brad Hovel in Cannon Falls, and hearing about the importance of biofuels production in Minnesota’s farm economy, U.S. Rep. Angie Craig continued her fight for stability in the biofuels market by submitting a statement for the record to the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Craig urged the Committee to swiftly extend the biodiesel tax credit for biodiesel facilities, providing market certainty for Minnesota farmers.

“Farmers in the Second Congressional district have fed, fueled, and clothed our communities for generations. They deserve economic security and market access for their products that will sustain their businesses,” said Rep. Angie Craig. “Extending tax credits for biofuels will increase production and boost economic growth for farmers across Minnesota. These fuels reduce costs for consumers, and diversify America’s fuel supply. I will continue to offer my strong support for the bipartisan work of this Committee to advance the future of biofuel innovation.”

Rep. Angie Craig visited MSGA director Brad Hovel’s farm on June 1.

Rep. Craig visited Hovel Farms because, as she said, Hovel has been active in his district on farm issues.

“Brad is a strong advocate for Minnesota farmers and specifically for farmers in our district,” Rep. Craig said. “He has spent a great deal of time advocating for his fellow soybean growers – a key part of the Second District’s farm economy. I wanted to reach out to him because I knew he’s a leader in the Second District and an expert on the issues impacting the district’s farmers. Plus, he seemed like a guy who would tell me like it is.”

Among the topics discussed were the current trade war and its impact on Minnesota soybean farmers; the recently signed Farm Bill; the biodiesel tax credit; rural mental health as well as the division of politics in Washington, D.C.

On a more local level, Hovel talked about the need to address the basis in the new round of aid payments, and the need to invest in the infrastructure farmers need to move their products.

“Fortunately we have the river close by, but that’s a challenge, too,” Hovel said in regards to how the basis works in Southeast Minnesota compared to Northwest Minnesota. “The infrastructure is really old. It not just what we send down the river, it’s what is sent up the river as well. That’s why big cities are on rivers. It’s commerce.”

In response to the new Rep. Craig urged the House Ways and Means Committee to extend the biodiesel tax credit, the National Biodiesel Board and the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association weighed in.

“National Biodiesel Board and its members thank Rep. Angie Craig for conveying the urgency of renewing the biodiesel tax incentive to the Committee on Ways and Means,” said Kurt Kovarik NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs. “Farmers and biodiesel producers in Minnesota and across the United States are waiting on Congress to take overdue action on the tax incentives and provide some much-needed economic certainty.”

MSGA Executive Director Joe Smentek said quick passage of the biodiesel tax credit is needed.

“The biodiesel industry adds 63 cents to every bushel of soybeans grown by farmers in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District,” Smentek said. “Minnesota is a leader in the production and use of biodiesel. We thank Rep. Craig for her leadership and support on legislation that will help increase soybean prices in these difficult economic times for farmers.”

With farmers facing market uncertainty from the on-going trade war and record low commodity prices, Rep. Craig said it is important the biodiesel tax credit is passed to provide stability for farm commodities. That’s why she has:

• Cosponsored the Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension Act of 2019 to protect Minnesota’s biodiesel industry and Minnesota soybean markets,
• Joined a bipartisan letter to urge the administration to end its unfair practice of issuing small refinery waivers to big oil companies, which is a handout to big oil companies on the backs of family farmers,
• Joined the bipartisan Congressional Biofuels Caucus.

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