From the Hill: Kansas delegation is solid on USMCA, working on the other states, and ethanol, looking short, medium and long-term, with and without our oil industry partners!

From the Hill: Kansas delegation is solid on USMCA, working on the other states, and ethanol, looking short, medium and long-term, with and without our oil industry partners!

Kansas Corn, CEO, Greg Krissek, and I participated in a NCGA fly-in composed of state executives and policy directors this week in D.C. The primary purpose was to promote the passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), but we also had meetings related to ethanol and Atrazine while in town. Here is a quick breakdown of each topic.


Kansas is fortunate to have our entire Congressional Delegation in support of USMCA. The next step on USMCA ratification is for the House to vote on the agreement, followed by the Senate. Virtually every Republican in both chambers is supportive of USMCA and many democrats that hail from districts heavily dependent on trade with Canada and Mexico are supportive as well. If USMCA were to come up for a vote in the House today it would pass with a wide margin. However, it would not garner a majority of the democrat caucus, therefore Speaker Pelosi is hesitant to allow USMCA to come up for a vote.

This is where the fly-ins conducted by NCGA and many of our other industry partners are coming into play, we are spending most of our time visiting democrats that represent “non-corn” states. This week we visited offices representing Georgia, South Carolina and Massachusetts. A lot of what we hear is that the democrats are looking for additional labor and climate related conditions in the agreement. I feel that they understand how important trade is to agriculture and the Midwest.

We are hearing varying opinions on when USMCA will come up for a vote, we are strongly pushing for a vote in 2019. If this draws out into 2020 then it will be subject to even more politics by the democratic presidential candidates.


Greg and I never leave a meeting without mentioning ethanol. I thoroughly enjoy talking about the environmental and economic benefits it offers urban consumers. There are short, medium and longterm policies related to ethanol floating throughout the White House, EPA and Capitol Hill.

In the short-term we are still awaiting the release of a White House ethanol package in response to the small refinery exemptions that I wrote about last issue. We have heard a few scattered rumors of what could possibly be in that package, but since talks are ongoing, including with oil industry representatives this week, my guess is the package is not finalized.

Looking out to the next year or so its very refreshing to see our Kansas delegation working on policy to enhance ethanol demand. Congressmen Marshall and Watkins have recently co-sponsored proposed legislation that requires the EPA to uphold the RFS as intended. Congressman Estes has a solid plan in place to update and replace emissions models utilized by EPA that are outdated and do not give ethanol the proper credit for carbon and greenhouse gas reductions compared to unleaded gasoline.

Looking further into the future corn and ethanol groups including NCGA, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association are educating lawmakers on a low carbon/high octane fuel standard. A low carbon/high octane fuel standard  utilizes mid-level blends of ethanol (E15 and beyond) would greatly increase ethanol demand while providing consumers with a lower cost, cleaner burning fuel. Automakers, ethanol and the oil industry could all greatly benefit from offering vehicles and fuel with improved air quality benefits and savings to the consumer.