Celebrating 15 Years of Renewable Fuel Standard: A Triumph for Economy, Environment, and Energy Independence

By Trish Svoboda

Members of the Kansas Corn Growers Association (KCGA) are celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Renewable Fuel Standard’s success. The RFS, established in 2005 and expanded in 2007 (RFS2), has significantly contributed to the nation’s economy and environment through the promotion of renewable fuels.

Contrary to the initial fears in 2007 about the Renewable Fuel Standard 2 (RFS2) leading to corn shortages, increased corn acreage, deforestation, prairie loss, and increased water usage, the actual results have been positive. U.S. cropland acreage has decreased, while grasslands and forests have grown. Grain availability for animal feed and exports has increased. Renewable fuel production has tripled, and 10 percent ethanol fuel is now the standard for regular unleaded fuel across the U.S. This has led to economic growth, lower fuel prices, and reduced dependence on foreign oil.

Meanwhile, U.S. cropland acreage has decreased, but corn yields have increased due to technological advancements. Despite fluctuations, the use of irrigation in corn farming has dropped, particularly in Kansas, due to sustainable farming practices and biotech seed innovations.

According to USDA data, from 1998 to 2018, there was a significant shift in agricultural practices. The amount of water utilized for corn irrigation saw an 18% reduction, total corn production witnessed a 47% surge, and ethanol production experienced an increase of 1,045%.

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