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Randy Feenstra helps Iowa thrive

He’s championing biofuels in Washington, D.C.

The ethanol and biodiesel industries are significant contributors to Iowa’s economy. Our state is a leader nationally in the production of these fuels. Iowa manufacturers produce nearly 4 billion gallons of ethanol each year and about 351 million gallons of biodiesel.

The positive significance of the ethanol and biodiesel production for the Hawkeye State’s farmers is huge. It is estimated that approaching 40 percent of the 13.2 million acres of Iowa farmland devoted to growing corn supports ethanol production. Soybean growers also sell heavily to biodiesel manufacturers.

These biofuels industries add roughly $4 billion to our state’s economic activity annually. That’s about a 2 percent contribution. They also help keep Iowa’s farmers prosperous.

U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra, who represents Iowa’s 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, is a strong champion of biofuels. He is working hard to make sure that the importance of biofuels to our nation’s future is understood in Washington and appropriately supported by lawmakers there and assisted by federal bureaucrats.

Feenstra is doing much more than telling the biofuels story. He is making positive things happen. For example, Feenstra recently secured support for biofuels research in the $3.5 trillion spending bill now being considered by Congress. Two amendments he advocated gained committee approval. One adds biofuels to the list of bioenergy technologies the U.S. Department of Energy will develop and demonstrate. That allows the department spend some of its budget on advanced biofuel projects. The second amendment directs NASA to include biofuels in its research into sustainable aviation fuels. These research initiatives could well result in a broadening of the biofuels marketplace.

Additionally, Feenstra has just introduced legislation that could have huge ramifications in the not too distant future, the Biofuel Cell Research Act, H.R. 5090. According to the congressman, “This bill directs the Secretary of the Department of Energy … to establish a research, development and demonstration program for a commercially viable fuel cell system that uses biofuels as the main fuel source.”

As the potential for biofuel cell systems grows, this research could prove extremely beneficial to Iowa’s biofuels manufactures as well as the state’s farmers. Feenstra is thinking creatively about Iowa’s agricultural future. That’s an exciting and welcome development.

The Messenger commends Feenstra for these efforts and for his many energetic efforts on behalf of not only biofuels, but also for the agricultural community in general. He is proving to be a highly successful congressman who is able to work effectively with his colleagues in both parties to achieve results. Feenstra’s achievements in Washington deserve support and applause.

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