His testimony is as follows:
Chairman Thompson, Representatives of the Minnesota delegation, and members of the House Committee on Agriculture:
My name is Brian Werner and I am the Executive Director of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association. On behalf of our eight ethanol production facilities in the state of Minnesota, we appreciate the opportunity to offer public input on the 2023 Farm Bill.
In 2022, Minnesota’s ethanol industry produced 1.34 billion gallons of ethanol, which according to University of Minnesota Extension helped to generate $8 billion of economic activity through sales including $1.9 billion in direct income for Minnesota residents. The industry supports nearly 26,000 jobs across the state.
Since it was first included in the 2002 Farm Bill, the Energy Title has served as a critical complement to the Renewable Fuel Standard by supporting USDA programs that promote the production of American-grown, American-produced bioenergy. We urge you to reauthorize this important title of the bill while maintaining its mandatory funding and discretionary budget authority.
Additionally, Congress provided $500 million in grant funding to support the development of biofuel infrastructure through the USDA’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program, which provides for infrastructure improvements for blending, storing, supplying, or distributing higher blends of ethanol. Earlier this summer, USDA began implementing these funds, which included 17 projects totaling $8.63 million in Minnesota. These funds will increase the availability of lower-cost, lower-carbon E15 and we ask that you avoid rescinding or rolling them back in the Farm Bill.
Lastly, we know that biofuels can do even more to help increase energy security and reduce costs for consumers while providing environmental benefits. To fully capitalize on the recent and future USDA biofuel infrastructure investments and unlock additional demand, it is critical for Congress to once-and-for-all pass the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act to permanently allow for the year-round, nationwide sale of E15.
Our sincere thanks to Representative Craig for leading the introduction of this bill in the House with Representative Adrian Smith of Nebraska and our appreciation to Representatives Finstad and Fischbach for cosponsoring this critical piece of legislation.
Mr. Chairman and Committee members, thank you for the opportunity to provide input and for your support of the biofuel industry in Minnesota.