About Chuck Zimmerman

Chuck Zimmerman is the professional agriblogger, farm podcaster and President of ZimmComm New Media.

Abe Hughes Joins POET

Abe HughesCongratulations to our good friend Abe Hughes for his new career opportunity with POET. I just spoke with Abe by phone to find out more about what he’s doing now as POET Senior Vice President of Business Development. From the release:

In this role, Hughes will help guide POET’s strategies for continued growth, whether through independent initiatives or partnerships, both in the U.S. and abroad.

“I’m excited to join the experienced and visionary leadership team at POET to help further shape the future of the biorefining and alternative energy industry,” Hughes said. “I look forward to helping POET continue its leadership, innovation and growth through unique partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, licensing and international expansion opportunities.”

“Abe’s experience and his personality are a great fit at POET,” CEO Jeff Lautt said. “There are exciting opportunities ahead in this industry, and I know Abe will help us make the most of them.”

Prior to joining POET, Hughes was Vice President North America for New Holland Agriculture and Construction, a world leader in the manufacture and sale of tractors, combines, hay tools and other agricultural and construction equipment.

Listen to the excitement in Abe’s voice as he tackles this new challenge with POET: Interview with Abe Hughes, POET

Winner of American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen

Winner American Ethanol 200The winner of the 2015 American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen is Erik Jones. This is his fifth victory in 26 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races and first in 2015.

The photo is Erik’s team along with the folks from Syngenta/Enogen. The winner’s circle is THE place to be! In my photo album I’ve got over 300 photos from today’s activities that I hope you will enjoy and share.

It has been a long day so I’m calling it quits now. However, expect to see and hear more from Iowa Speedway this coming week. I have a number of interviews to share that I think you will enjoy.

2015 American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen Photo Album

Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 sponsored by Enogen
Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 is sponsored by Enogen

Enogen Press Conference at Iowa Speedway

Engine Press ConferenceToday Syngenta announced a major donation to the Prime the Pump fund, an industry initiative to help early retail adopters of high-level ethanol blends through grants to reduce their initial investment in infrastructure. On the pane (l-r) are Chris Tingle, Syngenta; Ray Defenbaugh, Prime the Pump; Kelly Manning, Growth Energy; Delayne Johnson, Quad County Corn Processors and Chris Soule, Iowa farmer and star of ABC’s The Bachelor and Dancing With the Stars.

Syngenta says it will donate approximately $600,000 to the initiative by contributing $1 for every acre planted with Enogen corn enzyme technology. This effort stated in 2013 and is being extended to 2016. Besides the money being raised for the Prime the Pump initiative, the FFA students here today helping collect money for the fund will be receiving matching dollars for the money they raise. So, when you look at the value to the ethanol plants of Enogen corn which already has a vital enzyme for processing which saves the plant money; the fact that farmers growing Enogen corn are receiving a significant bonus incentive on the price of their corn; the fact that this initiative is helping expand the market and use of ethanol and local FFA chapters are benefitting, it seems like a win-win for everyone.

I have recorded the full press conference for you to listen to here: Syngenta Enogen Press Conference

2015 American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen Photo Album

Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 sponsored by Enogen
Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 is sponsored by Enogen

American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen

Syngenta Enogen FFAIt’s NASCAR race time with the American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen. I’m on location at Iowa Speedway and the race is tonight. Right now we’re in a lull between practice sessions. I’m here courtesy of Syngenta Enogen and will be covering their events.

One of this things is the effort Syngenta is doing with Iowa FFA members again this year. They are raising money and awareness for flex fuels and FFA benefits too.

Money raised for flex fuel infrastructure by FFA members at the Iowa Speedway on race day will be matched by Syngenta, with a portion of the proceeds going to participating FFA chapters. “Engaging the public about ethanol and renewable fuels is a good opportunity for my students,” said Miranda Johnson, advisor of the Twin Cedars FFA Chapter. “They are the future and they understand the importance of conservation and preservation of our land and resources – and the vital role farmers play in feeding and fueling our country.”

I’ll be until the winner’s circle tonight so keep an eye on photos. I’m collecting photos from today’s activities here: 2015 American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen Photo Album

Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 sponsored by Enogen
Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 is sponsored by Enogen

Austin Dillon Proud of American Ethanol Affiliation

nh-daytona-dillonAmerican Ethanol NASCAR driver Austin Dillon is proud of his affiliation with homegrown ethanol and pleased with the performance of E15 on the track.

“I really support what we’re doing with American Ethanol,” said Dillon in an interview this weekend. “It’s funny that you wouldn’t think NASCAR would be a “green” sport” but what we’ve done with American Ethanol has helped us be the leader in sports with green American Ethanol.”

Dillon drove the number 33 car in the Xfinity Series Alert Today Florida 300 race at Daytona Speedway on Saturday, finishing 4th, and is driving the #3 car in the Daytona 500 race for Richard Childress Racing. Prior to the race on Saturday, Austin spent some time with a group of New Holland dealers. New Holland is a strong supporter of American Ethanol.

Listen to my interview with Austin here: Interview with NASCAR driver Austin Dillon

NFL Hall of Fame Member Supports Ethanol

nec15-houstonJoining in the golf tournament prior to the start of the Renewable Fuels Association’s National Ethanol Conference last week was NFL Hall of Fame member Kenny Houston.

Houston finished his career with the Washington Redskins in 1980 and played in 12 Pro Bowls and the more than 30 teams at NEC 2015 golf tournament really enjoyed hanging out with him. For his part, Houston enjoyed learning more about the ethanol industry from them. “Being from Texas I definitely know about ethanol so I jumped at the chance (to attend the conference) and I’m glad I did,” he said.

Houston agrees that ethanol has been good for the economy and helped to hold down gas prices. “I think they (the ethanol industry) work for a balance,” he said. “Right now, I think it’s a win-win.”

Listen to my interview with Kenny here: Interview with Kenny Houston

2015 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

State of the Ethanol Industry – RFA CEO Bob Dinneen

This morning at 8am central we will live stream the session from the National Ethanol Conference featuring Renewable Fuels Association CEO Bob Dinneen. Bob will deliver this annual state of the industry address a few minutes after 8am and we’ll be recording it so that you can watch and listen later if you miss the broadcast or want to review it. All you’ll have to do is click on the player button in the video embed below when we’re live.

Post Update: Below is the recording of the presentation.


Live stream videos at Ustream

2015 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

EPA Response on RFS and CARBIO Plan

EPA_LOGOI just received the following response information from the EPA attributed to Byron Bunker, Director, Compliance Division, Office of Transportation and Air Quality. The EPA representative I spoke with says the agency knows of the biodiesel industry concerns and wanted to provide a response to those concerns. The response is in the form of eight bullet points:

1. EPA is committed to getting the RFS program back on track.

We understand industry’s desire for certainty. EPA is committed to getting the RFS program back on track. We expect to take action on 2014, 2015 and 2016 this spring. We look forward to talking with all stakeholders throughout the process.

2. The CARBIO plan DOES NOT lower the RFS sustainability standards for Argentinian biodiesel producers.

Any claim that the CARBIO plan decreases environmental oversight is flatly wrong. The sustainability standards are exactly the same for all parties. This Alternate Biomass Tracking plan is simply one mechanism by which Argentinian producers can meet the record keeping requirements of the program.

The sustainability standards were defined in the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. Namely, in order to qualify for the RFS program, planted crop and crop residue used as feedstock for biofuels must be harvested from agricultural land cleared or cultivated prior to December 2007 (the date of EISA’s enactment).

The RFS regulations Congress established in 2007 apply to both foreign and domestic producers. Any foreign or domestic renewable fuel producer or renewable identification number (RIN) generating importer may meet the recordkeeping requirements for tracking feedstock from qualified lands with an alternative biomass tracking program that has been approved by the EPA. In fact, several countries already import biofuel under the existing regulations.

3. The CARBIO program actually provides for more rigorous oversight of Argentinian producers who choose to participate in this program.

For example:

· The plan is intended to ensure that qualifying fuel can be traced to pre-identified and pre-approved lands from which “renewable biomass” may be harvested consistent with regulatory definition of that term. The alternate biomass tracking program is a robust program that covers the whole soybean biodiesel supply chain, from soybean production through intermediate processing, to biodiesel production.

· CARBIO’s method for tracking chain of custody relies on a product transfer document called a cartas de porte, or waybill that has been mandatory in Argentina since 1998. In addition CARBIO will use land cover data from satellite imagery to identify land that was cleared or cultivated prior December 19, 2007 and actively managed or fallow and non forested on December 19, 2007.

· Any volumes that would qualify under this plan would need to have all steps verified by the approved third-party auditor before a RIN can be generated.

· Any and all other necessary RFS regulatory requirements also apply per the regulations.

4. Why would Argentine producers appeal to EPA for more stringent requirements?

It’s like someone asking a professional tax preparer to do your taxes. They know the codes, the regulation and how to manage the documentation. People want certainty and protection that they are complying with the extensive laws, which most common people don’t know or understand, and so they want the protection of the professional tax preparer. This is no different for the parties in Argentina.
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Matt Blunt Delivers Message to NBB Attendees

Matt BluntIt was good to see former Missouri Governor Matt Blunt on stage today at the National Biodiesel Conference. Matt accomplished great things for the industry during his time in office. He is now the President of the American Automotive Policy Council and lives in Virginia. By the way, he also has a small herd of beef cattle.

Matt took the stage today to deliver a powerful speech. Here are a few excerpts from it and you can listen to his full speech below.

American ingenuity and perseverance are expanding energy supplies across the board– and biodiesel is no exception. Americans would much rather have American farmers working to fuel our transportation industry than foreign leaders who do not share our values or our commitment to free government.

As both a former governor and a Naval officer I can tell you energy security remains among biofuels’ most important benefits.

Sending billions of dollars every year to nations that do not share the interests of the United States is clearly not an ideal public policy

Growing our own fuel is growing agriculture in Missouri and across the country. With soybean production in 2014 at a record level of nearly a billion bushels, soybeans are the second-most-planted field crop in the United States after corn.

And the United States is the leading soybean producer and exporter.

As new fuels enter the marketplace, whether biodiesel, renewable diesel or any other product, it is important that existing fuels remain readily available to fuel vehicles currently on the road, in order to protect consumers and their vehicle warranties.

It is essential that the auto industry and government stakeholders continue to work collaboratively to ensure the diversification of the U.S. transportation fuel supply occurs in a manner that is technologically and economically feasible, and in no way harms consumers.

You can listen to Matt’s speech here: Matt Blunt speech at biodiesel conference

2015 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

NBB Chairman’s Report

Steven LevySteven Levy, Chair for the National Biodiesel Board took the stage this morning to provide an inspiring message to members who have been facing some serious odds in the last couple years. But he told everyone about how important it is to keep trying in order to obtain success using a quote from Thomas Edison.

Across the biodiesel industry, we’re not just trying to accomplish something – we are delivering. Part of the impetus for our success is the strength of our combined expertise and collaboration.

Ultimately, Edison didn’t succeed alone. He pioneered the concept of a collaborative lab, drawing on the knowledge and talent of a diverse group of creative scientists and engineers.

Likewise, NBB taps the technical expertise and business acumen of our members – and merges that powerful talent base with the specialized skills and knowledge of our leaders, our staff, and our consulting experts.

Working together, we are far more effective, far more formidable, and far more unstoppable in our mission.

You can listen to Steven’s remarks here: NBB Chair Steven Levy Remarks

2015 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album