Letter: Farmers need action, not lip service, from Rep. Hagedorn
Published 8:11 am Wednesday, April 17, 2019
During his campaigns, Rep. Jim Hagedorn has spoken of his support of agriculture and small businesses. Now that he’s an elected member of Congress, farmers in the congressman’s first district need his leadership now to renew the biodiesel tax incentive as soon as possible.
Hagedorn’s congressional colleague, Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) recently sponsored the Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension Act of 2019 (HR 2089) – bipartisan legislation that would renew the biodiesel and renewable diesel tax incentive for 2018 and 2019. Rep. Hagedorn’s district in southern Minnesota has two biodiesel plants in his district producing over 80 million gallons of biodiesel per year. Make no mistake: jobs are on the line in the congressman’s backyard if the tax credit extension falls to pass.
The situation is urgent and time is of the essence. The biodiesel tax incentive has already been expired for more than 15 months. Meanwhile, Congress signaled several times over the past year that they support renewing the tax credit, but we are still waiting. Everyone shares the value of this tax incentive, including farmers, biofuel producers and blenders.
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The tax credit has helped the biodiesel industry grow rapidly. Alas, uncertainty around the timing of its renewal is threatening that progress. What’s at stake? For starters, the nearly 5,400 jobs biodiesel supports in Minnesota across several economic sectors, not to mention the nearly $1.7 billion that biodiesel contributes to Minnesota’s economy. It also threatens the nation’s environmental goals, as biodiesel is the most widely used advanced biofuel and the only advanced fuel recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Southern Minnesota farmers like myself need the biodiesel tax credit, and we implore Rep. Hagedorn to play his part in helping to pass this vital piece of legislation before it’s too late.
Claremont farmer, president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association