Mycogen Supports Ethanol at Brickyard 400

mycogen-nascarMycogen Seeds and Richard Childress Racing (RCR) have unveiled a new paint scheme for the No. 3 Mycogen Seeds Chevrolet SS, which Austin Dillon will drive at the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on July 26.

“Mycogen Seeds is proud to partner with RCR to support the legacy of the No. 3 car,” says Damon Palmer, U.S. Seeds marketing director, Dow AgroSciences. “As one of America’s fastest-growing seed companies, we’re excited to be at the Brickyard 400 to cheer on one of the quickest-rising stars in NASCAR, Austin Dillon.”

Palmer says the company’s support of the No. 3 Mycogen Seeds Chevrolet SS goes deeper than its new red paint scheme. The car runs on 15 percent ethanol-blended fuel, which has powered every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car since 2011. In 2014, ethanol production used more than 5 billion bushels of American-grown corn.

NASCAR drivers have traveled more than 7 million miles on the track with ethanol-blended fuel since its adoption. Ethanol use increases race car horsepower and reduces emissions.

“Just as NASCAR is improving efficiency on the track, Mycogen Seeds is improving productivity in the field,” Palmer says. “We provide American farmers with high-performance grain corn hybrids. Ethanol, which helps fuel the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, is an important market for U.S. corn.”

The 2015 Brickyard 400 is set for Sunday, July 26, at 3:30 p.m. ET at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and is scheduled to air live on NBC Sports.

Hope for Renewable Energy Tax Credits

The Senate Finance Committee is set to vote Tuesday on a two-year extension of tax benefits, including the production tax credit for wind power, and credits for biodiesel and cellulosic biofuels production.

wyden-hatch“This markup will give the Committee a timely opportunity to act on extending a number of expired provisions in the tax code that help families, individuals and small businesses,” Hatch said. “This is the first time in 20 years where a new Congress has started with extenders legislation having already expired, and given that these provisions are meant to be incentives, we need to advance a package as soon as possible.”

“The tax code should work for, not against, Americans,” Wyden said. “We need to extend these tax provisions now in order to provide greater certainty and predictability for middle class families and businesses alike. However as we look beyond next week, it’s critical we all recognize and take action to end this stop and go approach to tax policy through extenders.”

A group of biofuel trade organizations have sent a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) encouraging extension of the critical advanced biofuel tax incentives. The incentives include the Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit, the Special Depreciation Allowance for Second Generation Biofuel Plant Property, the Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Fuels Credit, and the Alternative Fuel and Alternative Fuel Mixture Excise Tax Credit. Groups supporting the extensions are the Advanced Ethanol Council, Advanced Biofuels Association, Algae Biomass Organization, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, and Renewable Fuels Association.

EPA Chief Defends RFS Proposal to Corn Growers

ginaSpeaking to members of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) meeting in Washington DC this week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy defended her agency’s proposed volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) while at the same time thanking farmers for their strong voice on the issue.

“I know RFS matters deeply to corn growers,” said McCarthy. “You know we held a hearing in Kansas and I know you knew it because you showed up. Last month you were there in force. And I want to thank you for being out there.”

McCarthy told the farmers that “EPA is deeply committed to the RFS” and to the industry. “You might have heard that we are trying to shrink or kill this program, but the truth is we are committed to growing it,” she said. “The volumes we’ve proposed for 2015 and 2016 are designed to bust through any blend wall – even if you don’t believe it exists!”

McCarthy was invited to address the summer Corn Congress session by NCGA President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Newburg, Maryland. “I invited her to Corn Congress because I wanted farmers to hear from her directly,” said Bowling. “To her credit, she had the courage to show up and talk to farmers face to face.”

In her address, McCarthy also talked about the EPA’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which is also a major issue of concern for corn farmers. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy at NCGA Corn Congress

UNICA Joins Global Renewable Fuels Alliance

global-rfaThe Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) with its president Elizabeth Farin has become the newest member of the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA).

“Brazil is truly a trailblazer in the global biofuels industry, not only as one of the world’s largest producers of biofuels, but one of the first,” said Bliss Baker, spokesperson for the GRFA. “As the largest ethanol producer in Brazil, we are honoured to have UNICA join our ranks to represent the industry on the world stage.”

UNICA is the largest organization in Brazil representing sugar, ethanol and bioelectricity producers. UNICA members represent more than 50% of all ethanol produced in Brazil and 60% of overall sugar production.

“As a global leader in ethanol production, UNICA is proud to be a member of the GRFA,” said Ms. Farina. “We look forward to working with the other members of over 44 biofuel producing countries to collectively promote the expanded use of renewable fuels throughout the world and advocate for sound public policy and responsible research.”

The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting biofuel friendly policies internationally. Alliance members now represent over 90% of the global biofuels production from 45 countries.

Biodiesel Industry Testimony on RFS

While ethanol got most of the attention at the recent EPA hearing on proposed volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), biodiesel producers had their say as well.

At least two dozen biodiesel representatives from across the country testified at the hearing to thank EPA for increasing volumes in the latest proposal while at the same time calling for further growth in the final rule set to be released in November.

epa-hearing-jobe“The biodiesel industry can do much more to make the whole program stronger,” said National Biodiesel Board (NBB) CEO Joe Jobe in an interview at the hearing. “Biodiesel is the only domestic, fully commercialized, advanced biofuel and we’ve helped the advanced biofuel category meet its goals nearly every year of the program.”

Biodiesel falls under the Biomass-based Diesel category of the RFS, which is a subset of the overall Advanced Biofuels category. The EPA proposal would gradually raise biodiesel volumes by about 100 million gallons per year to a standard of 1.9 billion gallons in 2017. Because of biodiesel’s higher energy content, this would count as 2.95 billion ethanol equivalent gallons under the RFS. The overall Advanced Biofuel standard would rise to 3.4 billion ethanol equivalent gallons in 2016. NBB had requested more aggressive growth to a biodiesel standard of 2.7 billion gallons by 2017, along with additional growth in the overall Advanced Biofuel category.

Listen to Jobe explain more in this interview: Interview with Joe Jobe, NBB

EPA RFS Public Hearing photo album

Coverage of EPA RFS Hearing is sponsored by
Coverage of EPA RFS Hearing sponsored by RFA

American Ethanol Driver Safe After Daytona Crash

american-ethanol-dillonAmerican Ethanol driver Austin Dillon had a wild July 4th weekend, earning his first career win at Daytona in Friday night’s Xfinity Series race and then ending a rain-delayed Coke Zero 400 race with a car upside down and in pieces just moments before Dale Earnhardt, Jr. crossed the finish line after 2:40 am.

Dillon, who was not driving the American Ethanol car in the race, had only minor injuries in the horrific crash that tore down fencing and threw debris on fans. The grandson of racing legend Richard Childress, Dillon afterward thanked “the good Lord for taking care of me and for what NASCAR has done to make the sport this much safer.”

American Ethanol is a partnership with NASCAR and all races are run on 15% ethanol-blended fuel. Dillon is an official spokesperson for American Ethanol and drives the No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet SS in select races.

American Farmers and Energy Independence

flag-fuelThanks to American farmers, our nation is closer than ever to energy independence. As you celebrate this weekend, remember the farmers who have helped make this country great for nearly 240 years!

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Wishing you a safe and blessed Independence Day!

Ethanol Report on RFS Hearing and Rally

rfs-worksHundreds of ethanol supporters turned out for a rally and public hearing in Kansas City, Kansas last week on the EPA’s proposed volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In this edition of the Ethanol Report, we hear from some of those who attended.

ethanol-report-adThe report includes comments and testimony from Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) senior vice president Geoff Cooper, RFA chairman Randy Doyal of Al-Corn Clean Fuel in Minnesota, Jeff Oestmann of East Kansas Agri-Energy and Chris Grundler, Director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality.

Listen to or download the Ethanol Report here: Ethanol Report from EPA RFS Hearing and Rally

Citizen Testimony at EPA RFS Hearing

epa-hearing-austinOf the more than 240 stakeholders who testified at the EPA hearing last week on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), at least 35 were citizens who spoke about why they felt it was important for our nation to continuing increasing the use of biofuels.

One of those was Austin Ludowese (pictured far left) of Stewart, Minnesota, who was raised on a family farm and is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stout majoring in business administration. “I was here representing a lot of young farmers who have the desire to come back to the farm,” said Ludowese who told EPA how the RFS encouraging ethanol production has helped his small community.

Ludowese says he was encouraged by the turnout at the hearing. “It really is overwhelming to see all the different supporters come from all the different areas, whether it’s an ethanol plant or just a simple farmer,” he said. “It’s a lot of the same message just expressed in different ways.”

He added that he does believe the EPA is listening and paying attention to what the stakeholders have to say about the RFS.

Interview with EPA hearing witness Austin Ludowese

EPA RFS Public Hearing photo album

Coverage of EPA RFS Hearing is sponsored by
Coverage of EPA RFS Hearing sponsored by RFA

EPA’s Grundler Visits #RFSWorks Rally

rfs-rally-grundlerThe EPA official in charge of last week’s hearing on proposed volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) proved to be open and engaged and truly interested in listening to what stakeholders had to say about the proposal.

Chris Grundler, EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality Director, even left the hearing for a time and walked down the street to listen at the #RFSWorks rally and spend some time talking one on one with those in attendance, including Renewable Fuels Association chairman Randy Doyal.

In his opening statement, Grundler said EPA set the volume levels lower than the RFS statute requires because the law allows reductions under certain circumstances. “We believe those circumstances are upon us,” he said, noting specifically the fact that cellulosic biofuel has not come on line as fast as hoped. “Simply setting the standards at the levels targeted by Congress and trusting this will sufficiently incentivize the market to achieve the mandates … would be irresponsible.”

At the same time, Grundler acknowledged that the statutory volume targets “were intended to be ambitious” and EPA believes the standards they have proposed for 2014, 2015 and 2016 are “ambitious but within reach of the responsive marketplace.”

Grundler listened attentively to testimony presented by stakeholders at the hearing and also encouraged written comments to be sent in to the agency by July 27.

Listen to Grundler’s opening remarks here: EPA's Chris Grundler remarks at RFS hearing

EPA RFS Public Hearing photo album

Coverage of EPA RFS Hearing is sponsored by
Coverage of EPA RFS Hearing sponsored by RFA