Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds thank­ed Iowa Farm Bureau members for their strong support of biofuels and international trade, and challenged them to continue to work for a brighter future for Iowa agriculture and the state’s rural communities.

“Solving the problems of the next 100 years requires us to think differently,” said Reynolds as she addressed the members at the 101st Iowa Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting last week in Des Moines. “It’s up to us to shape the challenges of uncertainty into opportunities for growth. That will require continued innovation, diversification and collaboration.”

A key opportunity for Iowa agriculture, and the entire state, is continued growth of biofuels, Reynolds said. Using more ethanol and biodiesel reduces the country’s dependence on foreign oil, improves the environment, provides a reliable market for Iowa corn and soybeans and creates high quality jobs in rural communities, she said.

However, Reynolds said, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has failed to follow through on the Trump administration’s promise to ensure the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is upheld and to enforce the requirement that at least 15 billion gallons of ethanol are annually blended into the nation’s fuel supply.

“As the number 1 producer of ethanol and biodiesel, we will continue to lead the charge to defend the RFS and holding the EPA to the terms of the deal that was negotiated with President Trump in September,” Reynolds said. “I won’t rest, we won’t rest, until our message is understood that 15 billion gallons means 15 billion gallons.”

During her address, Reynolds sign­­ed an executive order requiring all state vehicles with diesel engines be purchased from manufacturers that support the use of B20, a fuel mix that is 20% biodiesel.

“Iowa is the leader in biodiesel and should also be a leader in ensuring the diesel engine manufacturers also support it, thereby furthering Iowa’s economy, environmental sustainability and value-added agriculture,” Reynolds said.

The governor also urged Iowa Farm Bureau members to keep up the pressure on Congress to pass the proposed trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, called the USMCA. 

“It’s been a year since the USMCA was signed, and it’s long past time for Congress to pass it,” Reynolds said. “Every day that goes by that it is not passed is a missed opportunity for farmers, families and small businesses.”

Reynolds urged Farm Bur­eau members to make their voices heard. “If more than a century of the Iowa Farm Bureau has taught us anything, it’s that farmers cannot simply sit back and hope someone else fights for our interests,” she said.