American farmers, who have been particularly hurt by President Donald Trump’s ongoing trade war with China, have protested the Trump administration’s biofuel waivers.
The leaders of 23 corn grower organizations on Friday sent a letter to Trump in which they complain that the waivers have reduced demand for their crops.
“Frustration in the countryside is growing,” the letter reads.
Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency granted 31 waivers to small refineries, temporarily freeing them from having to blend biofuels into their gasoline. Farmers immediately expressed dissatisfaction with the administration’s move and the President tweeted soon after that a “giant” ethanol package was in the works.
“The Farmers are going to be so happy when they see what we are doing for Ethanol,” the August 29 tweet read.
But corn growers say that they are tired of waiting for further details, noting in their letter that more and more ethanol plants have either closed or reduced production, which has cost over 2,700 people their jobs. Also, the decreased use of soybeans and corn affects the price farmers can get for their crops, CNN writes.
“Clearly, this has eroded support for the administration right now,” said Ron Heck, an Iowa soybean farmer who serves as secretary of the National Biodiesel Board and sits on Trump’s Agricultural Advisory Committee.
Due to the trade war with China, the U.S.’ largest soybeans importer, farmers have suffered great losses, with tons of soybeans sitting in storage unsold. President Trump appropriated $28 billion to farmers hurt by Beijing’s retaliatory tariffs, but the aid package isn’t meant to make up for their entire losses.
Farmers have nonetheless supported Trump as he seeks to reach a new trade deal with China addressing unfair trade practices. They believe that in the long run a possible trade deal would resolve their temporary problems.
However, the issue with the EPA is different, farmer says, and they demand that a solution be worked out quickly. Otherwise, they will see it as a broken promise on the President’s side.
“The President will always seek to engage with stakeholders to achieve wins for the agriculture and energy sectors,” a spokesperson for the EPA said.