US biofuels body appeals to Trump for funds as demand for fuel drops

The US biofuel industry has asked the Trump administration for funds from the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) commodity credit corporation to help it survive a demand slump triggered by the growing coronavirus outbreak.
The funds could be used to offset a portion of the industry’s corn and soy bean purchases, or as direct assistance to companies to help them retain staff, according to the April 1 letter addressed to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, as reported by Reuters.
The letter, signed by representatives of the nation’s top biofuel trade groups including the Renewable Fuels Association, said that “collapsing demand” for fuel during the outbreak had idled some 3.5 billion gallons of annualised ethanol output at a quarter of the nation’s production facilities.
“The biofuels industry has been hit especially hard by the sharp decline in fuel demand across the country, as residents follow local, state, and federal guidance to practice social distancing and minimize travel,” it said.
“With these realities in mind, we ask that USDA use its commodity credit corporation authority to directly assist biofuel producers,” it said.
The biofuels groups pointed out that the US ethanol industry accounts for about 40% of US corn demand, making it an important market for farmers.

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