I want to draw attention to distress in the rural economy across the Grain Belt. States like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Iowa are experiencing the impact of international trade wars, regulatory mismanagement and skyrocketing farm bankruptcies. Plummeting grain prices resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic are further adding to the pressure we’re facing.

Grain production is an important part of Wisconsin’s agricultural economy, accounting for roughly 30,000 jobs across the state. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) single-handedly destroyed a major source of rural income by granting small refinery exemptions, which let oil companies push biofuels out of the market. Thankfully, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled against the abuse of these waivers. The exemptions, which have quadrupled over the last several years, benefit corporations like Exxon and Chevron at the expense of Wisconsin farmers.

The EPA must now apply the 10th Circuit decision nationwide and effectively end these harmful exemptions. Perhaps then they can start to fulfill President Trump’s promise to stand with those of us in rural America who feed and fuel our country.

— Ryan Sawyer, Melrose