Klobuchar spoke to the challenges facing rural America and the need for Congress to provide meaningful relief 

WASHINGTON – Today, at a Farmfest virtual forum, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) spoke on a panel with agriculture industry economists to discuss the current state of the Ag Economy. Klobuchar highlighted legislation she introduced in May with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to support biofuel producers.

“In these times of uncertainty and overwhelming challenges for the rural areas of our country, Congress must provide meaningful relief for the farms and rural communities that sustain us every day,” Klobuchar said.

“I believe we have to listen to the needs of rural America and act in a bipartisan way to ensure their priorities are met. The economic well-being of our nation is tied to them, and we must not leave them behind.”

As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Klobuchar has worked hard to ensure our rural economy is strong and rural communities have the tools they need to spur innovation, create jobs and opportunities, and confront the challenges posed by crises like COVID-19.

Last week, Klobuchar spoke on the Senate Floor to address the impact that the coronavirus pandemic is having on rural America—and the need to help our rural communities withstand this public health crisis and the resulting economic uncertainty.

For years, Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to strengthen the RFS to support American jobs and decrease dependence on foreign oil. Klobuchar has led several letters urging the Administration to cease issuing small refinery waivers and reject changes to the RFS that would upend stability and predictability for farmers and rural communities. 

In June, Klobuchar led a bipartisan letter joined by Smith, with Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reject petitions for Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for past compliance years.

In May, Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced legislation to support biofuel producers negatively affected by the pandemic. This legislation will require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reimburse biofuel producers for their feedstock purchases from January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 through the Commodity Credit Corporation.

In December 2019, Klobuchar led a public comment letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler expressing concern over the proposed supplemental rule establishing the Renewable Fuel Standard’s (RFS) 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations and 2021 Biomass-Based Diesel Volumes. The senators argued that the proposed rule—which determines how much biofuel is required to be blended into our transportation fuel supply on an annual basis—fails to adequately account for the waivers, including those given to big oil companies. In October 2019, Klobuchar sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking the agency to document the impact of small refinery waivers on farm income, commodity prices, and renewable fuel usage.

At a Senate Agriculture hearing in June, Klobuchar highlighted the urgent need to help farmers identify conservation techniques that would have the greatest benefit for the climate and farmers’ bottom lines.

As a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee Klobuchar successfully pushed for key climate provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill, including provisions to increase acres in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) by 3 million acres, invest in renewable energy programs including the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), protect native prairies by fixing a loophole in the “Sodsaver” program, and improve the use of conservation data so that farmers are able to make better choices about conservation practices that benefit their yields and the environment - based on her Agriculture Data Act with Senator Thune.