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Corn growers urge farmers to support ethanol waiver request immediately

The Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association are asking corn farmers and others who support expanding the use of ethanol to submit comments to the Environmental Protection Agency in support of an ethanol waiver request that was made in March.

The EPA began accepting comments on the request to increase the ethanol blend rate from 10 percent ethanol (e10) to up to 15 percent ethanol April 21. The comment period ends May 21--meaning farmers and ethanol backers have very little time to get their voices heard.

"All of this is happening in the middle of planting season, so we've been looking at ways to make it easy for farmers to respond," said Jon Holzfaster, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and a farmer from Paxton.

One of those ways will soon be arriving in Nebraska corn grower mailboxes in the form of a yellow postcard-sized mailer. Growers can simply unfold the mailer, tear off the return postcard, complete a few lines of information and drop it in the mail. Postage is already paid.

"Growers should begin receiving these yellow postcards over the next week. We know it is a busy time, but this is too important to put off," Holzfaster said. "A postcard simplifies the process, and I'd encourage growers to reply as soon as it arrives."

As another option, farmers and others can visit the two groups' websites--www.NebraskaCorn.org or www.NeCGA.org--where there are links that go to an online comment form setup by the National Corn Growers Association.

"This online form can be completed in less than a minute, and can also be customized to each farmer's thoughts and ideas," said Brandon Hunnicutt, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers and a farmer from Giltner.

"Farmers who have web-enabled phones may also be able to submit comments right from the tractor cab if they prefer," he said. "We only have a couple of weeks to get comments in, so growers are urged to take advantage of the postcard or websites right away."

The two corn groups encourage farmers and others to support the ethanol waiver request because increasing the amount of ethanol that can be blended into gasoline will expand the ethanol marketplace.

"In turn, that will create demand for idle ethanol capacity and help us along our path to becoming more energy independent, and provide a boost to rural communities through job creation," Holzfaster said.

The Nebraska Corn Board is a self-help program, funded and managed by Nebraska corn farmers. Producers invest in the program at a rate of 1/4 of a cent per bushel of corn sold. Nebraska corn checkoff funds are invested in programs of market development, research and education.

NeCGA is a grassroots commodity organization that works to enhance the profitability of corn producers. NeCGA has more than 2,000 dues paying members in Nebraska. NeCGA is affiliated with the NCGA, which has more than 35,000 dues paying members nationwide.

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