National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Bill Donald said the U.S. Senate’s vote on legislation introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to repeal the 45-cent per gallon Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) and the 54-cent per gallon tariff on imported ethanol is a giant step toward leveling the playing field for a bushel of corn.

The Feinstein/Coburn amendment passed by a 73-27 vote.

“The VEETC and the tariff on imported ethanol have put cattlemen and other end-users of corn at a competitive disadvantage to the corn-based ethanol industry when it comes time to buy a bushel of corn.

“Repealing the VEETC and the import tariff are important steps to fully leveling the playing field. We commend the 73 U.S. Senators who supported the Feinstein/Coburn amendment,” Donald said.

“Cattlemen aren’t opposed to ethanol. In fact, we support our nation’s commitment to reducing our dependence on foreign oil. But after 30 years and more than $30 billion in taxpayer support, the day has come to let the mature corn-based ethanol industry stand on its own two feet.”

Donald said with tight corn supplies and high prices, all end-users of corn should compete on equal footing for every bushel.

He said a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report is further evidence that it’s time to stop propping up the corn-based ethanol industry. According to the monthly report, 1.5 million fewer acres of corn will be planted and 1.9 million fewer acres of corn will be harvested in the United States this year leaving worldwide stockpiles at tight levels.

“Every bushel of corn is critical. Cattlemen aren’t asking for a handout from the federal government. We’re simply asking to compete head to head on a level playing field,” Donald said.

“Passing the Feinstein/Coburn amendment sends a loud signal that it’s time to take the American taxpayer off the hook for the corn-based ethanol industry. We will continue supporting this and other efforts to end taxpayer support of an industry that should be able to survive on its own.”