Members of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) have been in Des Moines, Iowa this week to “Unite and Ignite” for their 26th annual conference. But even before they got together, they knew their message of the good ethanol does for the entire country was coming up against some pretty deep pockets of their opponents.
“We don’t have the resources that some of our opponents have in terms of dollars, in terms of personnel, to get our message to the people who make the decisions and make the policy,” Steve Petersen, a small livestock producer from Chelsea, Iowa and an advocate for ethanol, told Joanna during last March’s Biofuels Beltway event when about 70 ethanol backers gathered in Washington, D.C. to tell ethanol’s story to lawmakers. But he’s not deterred, because many congressional staffers told him they wanted to hear from people actively involved in agriculture. “We did a lot of education.”
Steve admitted that it can be a bit disconcerting that so many of those who vote on the policies that affect ethanol don’t understand the process. But he said ethanol advocates just need to work a bit harder to get that message out, and he believes if they can show these lawmakers the impacts on rural areas, they’ll win them over.
“We had a great pictorial this time of walking through the process of ethanol. I’d like to have some actual pictures from Iowa, from Wisconsin, from all of the plants around it, and all of the impact it has on jobs and the tangible benefits it has brought to our communities in the Midwest: the additional tax base, the additional jobs that a lot of these communities haven’t seen for 25 years. Ethanol and biofuels have been a tremendous boon to the Midwest … and all of our country,” he said.
Listen to Joanna’s interview with Steve here: Steve Petersen