Sustainable Aviation fuel - A challenge for farmers

Jun 13, 2024

Regulatory hurdles delay growth of promising biofuel


Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) offers a promising alternative to traditional jet fuel, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation industry.  Its development faces challenges related to tax treatment and regulations, creating uncertainty for farmers who could be key suppliers of the biofuel's feedstock.

Biofuel producers and farmers are eagerly awaiting finalization of the Clean Fuel Production Credit rule by the Treasury Department. This rule would clarify tax benefits for SAF production, making it more financially attractive.

Additionally, recent legislative efforts, like the Farm to Fuselage Act, aim to address challenges faced by farmers interested in growing SAF feedstock crops.

The Farm to Fuselage Act, introduced by Texas Representative Jasmine Crockett, seeks to remove barriers for farmers by creating a biofuel crop exception within crop insurance and planting regulations.

This would allow farmers to plant SAF feedstock crops on fallow land without jeopardizing their insurance status.

While acknowledging the potential of SAF for agriculture, House Agriculture Committee Chair Glenn Thompson highlights jurisdictional issues that prevent the committee from directly addressing the fuel itself. He emphasizes the committee's support for providing feedstock but acknowledges limitations in its authority regarding fuel definition and use.

The urgency for a solution is underscored by the ambitious goals of airlines like Southwest Airlines, which aims to replace 10% of its jet fuel with SAF by 2030.

Achieving such goals hinges on a robust and reliable supply of SAF feedstock, which farmers are positioned to provide if regulatory hurdles are addressed.

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