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Minnesota Corn Will Work to Shape 45Z Guidance

By Amanda Bilek

The U.S. Department of the Treasury released long-awaited guidance for the 40B tax credit. This tax credit was authorized under the Inflation Reduction Act and is geared towards blenders of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Although MCGA was disappointed in the guidance, it is important to note that the 40B tax credit expires at the end of 2024, and with just a couple SAF blenders in the country, the benefit of this credit to corn farmers is limited. Consequently, Minnesota Corn is devoting time and resources to help shape the 45Z tax credit guidance.

Minnesota Corn sees the emerging SAF market as a significant opportunity for future corn demand. New demand could be met with ending stocks of corn instead of new cropland. A common argument against using agriculture feedstocks for renewable fuel production is conversion of non-ag land into crop production, but those detractors overlook available feedstock supply now and into the future.

According to projections completed in October 2023 by the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS), ending corn stocks for the 2023/2024 crop year could exceed 2.1 billion bushels. Due in part to improvements in corn hybrids, ending corn stocks could climb even higher in the 2024/2025 crop year to 2.6 billion bushels and 2.7 billion bushels in the 2025/2026 crop year. ERS also projects a corresponding decline in the price of corn as stocks increase. Identifying new uses for corn is integral to ensuring financial sustainability for Minnesota corn farms.

Minnesota Corn’s part in the future of SAF

Minnesota has big aspirations for SAF. Public policy leaders see SAF development as a significant opportunity for Minnesota due to a combination of abundant agricultural feedstocks, a strong biofuel production system, a major airline hub airport and existing fuel refining assets. Last year, the state legislature approved an SAF tax credit to help bolster the production and use of SAF. GREATER MSP launched an SAF hub with partners from Delta, Ecolab, and Bank of America to create a model to scale SAF. Minnesota Corn joined the hub earlier this year.

Partnerships will be key to help SAF take off in Minnesota. There’s a lot of work to do to fully realize the promise of SAF in Minnesota. Investments need to be made in research, demonstration and pilot projects, expedited environmental permitting, additional environmental permitting reform, and complementary public policy. All of this will need to be implemented in a relatively short period of time to take advantage of the federal tax credits. Minnesota Corn will be sharing more in the coming months about specific activities and projects we will be undertaking to help take advantage of this opportunity for Minnesota’s corn farmers.

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