Photo: Adobestock
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Andrew Wheeler, administrator with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approved sorghum oil as an eligible feedstock under the Renewable Fuel Standard during a signing event on July 24 at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., with National Sorghum Producers leadership and Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska) and Congressman Roger Marshall (R-Kansas).

The EPA’s announcement marks a significant step toward leveling the playing field for ethanol plants extracting oil from sorghum, said the NSP, which has worked closely with the EPA for over two years to establish a biofuels pathway for sorghum oil in the RFS.

Don Bloss, chairman of the NSP

Don Bloss, chairman of the NSP, said the announcement provides new market access for the crop.

“This is a great day for U.S. sorghum farmers and our partners in the ethanol and biodiesel industries,” said Bloss, a sorghum farmer from Pawnee City, Nebraska, U.S. “NSP has worked tirelessly for over two years to make this happen. A pathway for sorghum oil opens new markets for ethanol plants extracting oil from sorghum and ultimately adds value to the grain farmers produce.”

In December 2017, the EPA released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) concerning renewable fuels produced from sorghum oil under the RFS program followed by a 30-day comment period. The EPA’s analysis showed biodiesel produced from sorghum oil has greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings of 82%. This will give ethanol plants extracting oil from sorghum access to sell into the biodiesel market.

Tom Willis, NSP board director and chief executive officer of Conestoga Energy

“This pathway for sorghum oil reaches far beyond the farmer,” said Tom Willis, NSP board director and chief executive officer of Conestoga Energy. “This is an avenue for creating jobs in rural America we so desperately need, and it helps provide energy security from a renewable water-conserving source.”

In addition to the nine ethanol producers already extracting oil from sorghum, several other facilities will now be able to purchase and use sorghum. The pathway also makes possible additional investments in fuel infrastructure in the Sorghum Belt.

Tim Lust, CEO of the NSP

“We owe a significant amount of gratitude to several individuals and entities for making this possible,” said Tim Lust, CEO of the NSP. “This includes EPA acting administrator Andrew Wheeler and his staff, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Senators Jerry Moran, Deb Fischer, Pat Roberts, Roy Blunt, Clair McCaskill, and Ben Sasse and Congressmen Roger Marshall, Jodey Arrington, Kevin Yoder, Mac Thornberry, Adrian Smith, Lynn Jenkins, Frank Lucas, Tom Cole and Blake Farenthold who all signed support letters and made phone calls on our behalf. We also extend our thanks to ethanol trade groups and numerous ethanol plants, fuel marketers and technology providers. This wide swath of support was key to this effort, and we sincerely appreciate the leadership of each one.”