Letter: By supporting biodiesel, Hagedorn stands up for Minnesota farmers

Published 8:30 am Friday, May 24, 2019

Rep. Jim Hagedorn deserves thanks for supporting farmers in Minnesota’s First Congressional District by sponsoring the Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension Act of 2019 (HR 2089). This bipartisan legislation would provide a two-year extension of the biodiesel and renewable diesel tax incentive.

Cleary, Congressman Hagedorn understands and appreciates that agriculture is the economic backbone of southern Minnesota. As a soybean farmer in his district, I applaud the congressman for standing up for producers as we continue enduring low commodity prices amid a prolonged trade war with our largest trading partner.

Many industries – from farmers and biofuel producers, to fuel blenders and truckers – rely on the value of the tax incentive. If biodiesel production slows down, it would impact all of these sectors. Biodiesel production supports more than 60,000 jobs throughout the United States and nearly 5,400 jobs in Minnesota alone. The two biodiesel plants in the First District produce more than 80 million gallons of biodiesel each year. Biodiesel, which is the only advanced fuel recognized by the U.S EPA, contributes approximately $1.7 billion in economic activities in Minnesota. As the national leader in biodiesel, Minnesota needs to continue promoting the biodiesel industry and supporting jobs across the country.

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Congress has traditionally renewed the tax credit for one or two years at a time, but allowed it to expire in 2017. We have now waited 15 months for Congress to take action. A predictable, long-term tax incentive would be best for everyone. This two-year extension is desperately needed and I hope Rep. Hagedorn will convince his congressional colleagues to follow his lead by supporting this vital piece of legislation.

Michael Petefish farms in Claremont and is a president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association