Nebraska Sens. Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse are among a number of U.S. senators urging the Environmental Protection Agency to reject petitions for Small Refinery Exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard for past compliance years.

In a letter, the senators warn that granting these petitions would worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the biofuels industry and demand the EPA apply the 10th Circuit decision nationally.

“We urge you to reject these petitions outright and respond in writing to our questions about recent use of SREs under the RFS,” the senators wrote. “These petitions should not even be entertained because they are inconsistent with the 10th Circuit decision, Congressional intent, the EPA’s own guidance, and — most importantly — the interests of farmers and rural communities who rely on the biofuel industry.”

In their letter, they said the approval of SREs for past compliance years. at this moment, would only “worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the biofuels industry and the rural communities that it supports.”

“EPA must deny these petitions and apply the 10th Circuit decision nationally,” the senators wrote.

In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled in Renewable Fuels Association v. EPA that EPA had exceeded its authority in granting SREs under the Renewable Fuel Standard to three refineries in 2016 and 2017, and that moving forward, EPA may only issue SREs to refineries that have continuously received exemptions for every compliance year since 2011.

Recently, the EPA confirmed it has received 52 new petitions for retroactive SREs that, if granted, would bring oil refiners into compliance with the ruling by allowing them to establish a continuous string of exemptions.

 Nebraska hog inventory up 3%

Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on June 1 was 3.85 million head, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This was up 3% from June 1, 2019, and up 1% from March 1.

Breeding hog inventory, at 440,000 head, was down 4% from June 1, 2019, but unchanged from last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 3.41 million head, was up 4% from last year, and up 1% from last quarter.

The March through May Nebraska pig crop, at 2.22 million head, was down 3% from 2019. Sows farrowed during the period totaled 200,000 head, unchanged from last year.

The average pigs saved per litter was 11.10 for the March-May period, compared with 11.50 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 185,000 sows during the June through August quarter, down 5% from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago.

Intended farrowings for September through November are 185,000 sows, down 5% from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago.

Nationwide, inventory of all hogs and pigs on June 1 was 79.6 million head. This was up 5% from June 1, 2019, and up 3% from March 1, 2020.

Breeding inventory, at 6.33 million head, was down 1% from last year, and down 1% from the previous quarter.

Market hog inventory, at 73.3 million head, was up 6% from last year, and up 3% from last quarter.

The March through May pig crop, at 34.9 million head, was up 1% from 2019. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.17 million head, up 1% from 2019. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50% of the breeding herd.

The average pigs saved per litter was a record high of 11.01 for the March-May period, compared with 11.00 last year.

U.S. hog producers intend to have 3.12 million sows farrow during the June through August quarter, down 5% from the actual farrowings during the same period one year earlier, and down 2% from the same period two years earlier.

Intended farrowings for September through November, at 3.09 million sows, are down 5% from the same period one year earlier, and down 4% from the same period two years earlier.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with more than 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 49% of the total United States hog inventory, up 2% from the previous year.

Nebraska cattle on feed down 1%

Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.41 million cattle on feed on June 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 1% from last year.

Placements during May totaled 410,000 head, down 11% from 2019. Fed cattle marketings for the month of May totaled 355,000 head, down 38% from last year.

Other disappearance during May totaled 15,000 head, down 5,000 from last year.

Nationwide, cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head June 1. The inventory was slightly below June 1, 2019. This is the second highest June 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

Placements in feedlots during May totaled 2.04 million head, 1% below 2019. Net placements were 1.97 million head.

During May, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 375,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 305,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 485,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 532,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 235,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 105,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during May totaled 1.50 million head, 28% below 2019. Marketings were the lowest for May since the series began in 1996.

Other disappearance totaled 66,000 head during May, 8% below 2019.

Nebraska layers down in May from previous year

All layers in Nebraska during May totaled 8.43 million, down from 8.87 million the previous year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Nebraska egg production during May totaled 166 million eggs, down from 223 million in 2019.

May egg production per 100 layers was 1,970 eggs, compared with 2,516 in 2019.

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