The ethanol industry is mourning the loss this week of pioneer and advocate Ray Defenbaugh, who was a founding member, president, CEO, and chairman of Big River Resources, with facilities in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
Defenbaugh served on the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) board since 2005 and was a member of the Executive Committee.
“Ray’s contributions to rural America, the ethanol industry, and RFA are truly immeasurable, and he tirelessly endeavored to improve the lives of farmers and the livelihood of communities across the Midwest,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Ray also had a special talent for uniting people and stimulating cooperation, and his leadership always helped the industry get through trying times.”
In addition to his service at RFA and Big River Resources, Defenbaugh also held leadership roles at Absolute Energy, LLC; the U.S. Grains Council; the National Grain and Feed Association; the Illinois Renewable Fuels Association; the Urban Air Initiative; the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE); and Growth Energy, among others.
“We will always remember Ray’s relentless spirit — his honesty, optimism, humor, and especially his fierce, fierce loyalty,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.
In 2015, Defenbaugh participated in a producer panel at the annual ACE conference where he talked a lot about the future of the industry, both for agriculture and ethanol.
His remarks give an idea of Ray’s uncommon wit and wisdom, as well as his great passion for the industry. Listen here: Ray Defenbaugh, Big River Resources