New Poll Shows Iowans Support RFS

“We wanted a poll to tell us the truth about where caucus voters stand. This isn’t a Republican thing or a Democrat thing. This is an American thing. This represents the future,” said Eric Branstad the Iowa State Director of America’s Renewable Future (ARF) during a press call to release the results of a new poll.

Dupont_ARF_Infographic_FinalThe results find that a majority of caucus-goers from both political parties would be more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who supports the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and biofuels, specifically ethanol. The poll also found that 61 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Democrats would be more likely to support a candidate who supports progress in these areas. The poll was commissioned by ARF and DuPont and conducted by Selzer & Company who is best known for their Iowa Poll on behalf of the Des Moines Register.

“The idea behind this poll was to get clean reads on what people are thinking in this space very generally and then unpack the rationale behind some of the feelings they have,” said Anne Selzer, president of Selzer & Company when discussing the poll methodology.

In addition to Selzer and Branstad, comments were also made from Brooke Coleman, founder and executive director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council and Jan Koninckx, global business director, biofuels for DuPont.

Listen to the press conference here: Iowa Caucus Voters RFS Poll Press Conference

After being asked their views on the RFS without introducing any information about the policy, the poll delved in a bit more as a means to understand how caucus goers viewed renewable fuels and the RFS specifically. Results show several reasons why voters believe the RFS should continue: Continue reading

White Paper Released on Farm Income and the RFS

Leaders of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the National Farmers Union (NFU) jointly released a new white paper Thursday on how the EPA’s proposed rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is threatening farm income and rural economies across the United States.

ncga-smallerThe paper cites the latest USDA data on net cash income for American farmers and ranchers, which is forecast to decline by 26 percent in 2015 from peak levels in 2013, as proof that the EPA proposal is impacting the farm economy. “That devastating forecast is worse than originally projected, and it represents the lowest farm income levels in nearly a decade, and it could get worse,” says the paper.

“There are factors other than the RFS,” said NCGA president Chip Bowling of Maryland. “(But) it has changed the basis, the price received for our corn, it has changed the way we’re buying equipment … most of that is due to the uncertainty in the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

nfu_logo2EPA is expected to release the final rule at the end of November and NFU president Roger Johnson says they have heard nothing to indicate they will change that time line. “They agreed to that in the court order,” said Johnson. “It’s hard to say what to expect from them.”

Johnson stressed that the so-called blend wall should not be included in any determination for volume requirements under the RFS. “When the RFS was put in place it was never intended that it would stop at ten percent,” he said. “It was always the intent that it would go way beyond ten percent.”

Bowling says corn growers have responded to the demand for more corn to produce ethanol and another record crop is expected this year. “We’re still expecting yields of 162 bushels per acre at minimum,” said Bowling. “We have carry over that’s growing and without a strong Renewable Fuel Standard demand for corn is going to decrease.”

Listen to the announcement from NCGA and NFU here: Press call on RFS/farm income white paper

California LCFS Opens Opportunities for Biodiesel

nBBThe National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is very pleased with the decision last week by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to readopt the Low Carbon Fuels Standard and the increased role biodiesel will play in that standard.

The new standard finds that biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent and often by as much as 81 percent versus petroleum, giving it the best carbon score among all liquid fuels.

“Biodiesel is the most sustainable fuel on the planet,” said Don Scott, National Biodiesel Board director of sustainability. “Low carbon alternatives can also be low cost alternatives when we use diverse supplies of renewable resources. This validates that California’s carbon reduction goals are obtainable.”

Scott took part in a conference call today with University of California-Davis Extension Agronomist Stephen Kaffka, who is director of the California Biomass Collaborative. “The production of low carbon intensity feedstocks from all sources is important,” said Kaffka. “The fuels that have the best carbon performance are the ones that should have a market in California.”

Kaffka adds that the standard allows for “innovation and competition” to create new fuels from new pathways. “These fuels can come from any number of sources, including agricultural crops, but also the conversion of forest residues, lumber harvesting and thinning, and the recycling and conversion of organic wastes from urban sources,” he said. “Diesel can be made from both crops and from residues of various sorts.”

Listen to the conference call here: National Biodiesel call on California LCFS

New Holland Focus on Clean Energy at Expo Milano

cnh-expo-tractorThe centerpiece outside the New Holland Agriculture Sustainable Farm Pavilion at Expo Milano is a prototype methane-powered tractor that the company is developing to help farmers run their equipment on self-generated energy.

“We are a clean energy leader company,” said New Holland Agriculture Brand president Carlo Lambro. “Methane is really close to zero emission.”

cnh-carlo-welcomeIn addition, Lambro says methane is very economical. “Methane is one of the cheapest fuels that can be found,” he told a group of agricultural bloggers from around the globe during an event at Expo Milano last week.

The prototype tractor on display at Expo is based on a New Holland T6.175 standard tractor and has a total capacity of 300 litres (52kg) compressed methane, enough to operate the tractor for half a day. The biomethane powered tractor can result in fuel savings of 20-40% and has 80% lower emissions than a standard diesel tractor.

Lambro says New Holland is also looking at other alternative fuels. “In North America, we’re working more on the ethanol side as a potential fuel,” Lambro told a group of agricultural bloggers from around the globe during an event at Expo Milano last week. “Methane in Europe, ethanol in the U.S., ethanol from sugarcane in Brazil.”

Listen to Carlo’s discussion with the bloggers here: Carlo Lambro, New Holland Brand President

2015 New Holland Heroes & Bloggers Days

Growth’s Kelly Manning Shares ‘All Things Ethanol’

Growth Energy's Kelly Manning brings out the 'big guns" during his all things ethanol interview with DF blogger Joanna Schroeder.

Growth Energy’s Kelly Manning brings out the ‘big guns” during his all things ethanol interview with DF blogger Joanna Schroeder.

Growth Energy’s Kelly Manning, vice president of development, shared all things ethanol with me during the #FarmProgressShow in Decatur, Illinois and it was great to catch up after a year of the organization fighting the good fight with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) going forward. But this was not the focal point of our conversation; rather, Manning gave me updates on all the consumer and retailer education and infrastructure development they are doing around the country about ethanol.

For all the anti-ethanol boaters out there, Manning told us about Don Onken, a farmer from Illinois, who broke the speed record with his American Ethanol Mystic catamaran, topping out at speeds of 208 mph. Manning said Onken is a passionate supporter of ethanol and passionate about speed so he put the two together. His boat runs on four engines, all powered with 90 percent ethanol. Manning said that no matter what you read, ethanol is safe to use with boats and encourages people to get the facts and they would like to work with the boating industry to discuss the safety of ethanol and boats.

On to E15. Just this week all drivers of vehicles newer than 2001 can use E15 again. The industry has been working to change this so that drivers can use the ethanol blend year round. Manning noted that two years ago the conversations they were having with retailers were quite different than the conversations they are having now. He explained that E15 is “More economical at the pump overall. It’s saves them money. It drives store traffic. We have retailers who are seeing thirty percent jumps on their inside sales.”

Manning also said that the Prime the Pump program has been successful in expanding ethanol blends and today there are 23 states offering consumers E15 at the pump. Also helping is large retailers offering E15. But in terms of the issue with EPA, Manning said that this is a high priority for retailers and many have joined Growth’s advocacy efforts with the EPA to resolve this issue and allow E15 sales year round. (It’s a RVP, or Reid Vapor Pressure Issue).  He encouraged consumers to let retailers know they want the fuel, and, Fiat, the last auto manufacturer hold-out has endorsed E15.

Other topics of discussion included flex pumps (ethanol blends such as E30, E40 and E85), rolling out an auto dealership education program and the success of the NASCAR program and the new NASCAR-branded ethanol labels at the pump.

To learn more about ‘All Things Ethanol’ listen to my interview with Kelly Manning: Interview with Kelly Manning, Growth Energy

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

Illinois Corn Working to Support #Ethanol, E15

Ken Hartman-2I stopped by the Illinois Corn booth during the Farm Progress Show and had the opportunity to speak with Kenneth Hartman, an Illinois corn, soybean and wheat grower. He gave me an update on the their efforts to increase mid-level ethanol blends across the state. One such initiative is working with key players in Chicago to get 150 E15 stations up and running in the city. A piece of legislation is sitting with the Alderman and the mayor and Hartman hopes Mayor Rahm Emanuel will sign on the line for the E15 roll out yet this year.

Speaking of E15, Harmann said they are working with retailers across the state to build the infrastructure. They have been working with the American Lung Association and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board has allocated money to help with infrastructure through the Prime The Pump program. This program, he noted, provides matching funds for USDA’s BIP program. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced the allocation of $100 million in program funds.

Other initiatives include working with pump manufacturers to get equipment standardized and approved for E15 as well as consumer education.

To learn more about Illinois Corn’s ethanol initiatives, listen to my interview with Ken Hartman: Ken Hartman, Illinois Corn Interview

Check out the Farm Progress Show photo album.

Orrie Swayze Says E30 is a Child’s Best Friend

According to the Clean Air Act, Memorandum 1A it is legal for all cars to use E30, a blend of 30 percent ethanol, 70 percent gasoline, according to Orrie Swayze, a long-time ethanol advocate. He is working along side the South Dakota Farmers Union to encourage drivers to use E30 – especially for the health benefits higher blends of ethanol offer to children.

20568763580_03f060c94f_zSwayze says the language has always been there, but “like the bible is subject to interpretation”. “It’s clear to me, says Swayze, “that it is legal to use E30 in a standard vehicle because you aren’t damage emissions equipment or degrading emissions.”

E30 is often known in the industry as the “sweet spot” and according to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) is volatility neutral. NREL also classifies E30 as a super premium fuel. Ethanol runs cooler, provides better combustion and thus more power, explains Swayze.

Swayze along with the the South Dakota Farmers Union have created a special order of business to encourage farmers, and drivers, to use E30. Click here to read the proclamation.

But he notes that the biggest winners of ethanol use is not actually the drivers, but our children. E30, says Swayze who quoted an American Medical Association research report, helps to nearly eliminates engine created benzene and other known human carcinogenic emissions that destroy brain matter in growing children. He has outlined the information on his website, as an educational mechanism for consumers.

To learn more about the use of E30 and how it helps reduce air pollution, listen to my interview with Orrie Swayze: Orrie Swayze Says Use E30 for the Children

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

Ethanol Report on Growing Biofuels Infrastructure

ethanol-report-adUSDA has announced new funding for biofuels infrastructure at fueling stations and Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen thinks EPA should pay attention to that message. In this Ethanol Report, Dinneen also comments on what Congress may or may not do the rest of this session, and how another big corn crop makes keeping the RFS on track more important than ever.

Listen to this edition of the Ethanol Report here: Ethanol Report on Growing Biofuels Infrastructure

USDA Announces Funding for Biofuel Infrastructure

USDA logoAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that 21 states will receive grants through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) to help provide access to more renewable fuels for America’s drivers.

“The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership is one approach USDA is using to aggressively pursue investments in American-grown renewable energy to create new markets for U.S. farmers and ranchers, help Americans save money on their energy bills, support America’s clean energy economy, cut carbon pollution and reduce dependence on foreign oil and costly fossil fuels,” said Vilsack.

USDA estimates that the BIP grants will support nearly 5,000 pumps at over 1,400 fueling stations across the country. “Our investment will nearly double the number of pumping systems available across the U.S.,” Vilsack said. According to the list of estimated numbers of pumps that could be installed per state, Florida and Texas will be the biggest beneficiaries with 892 in Florida and 763 in Texas. Minnesota at 620 and Illinois at 428 are the largest recipients in the Midwest.

Secretary Vilsack also challenged conclusions in the American Petroleum Institute report out yesterday that he called “preposterous.”

Listen to Vilsack’s announcement here: USDA Secretary Vilsack biofuels investment

Q and A with reporters: Vilsack answers BIP questions

Association Motor Club Proudly Supports Ethanol

Gene Hammond, Co-Owner with Association Motor Club Marketing (AMCM), supports the use of E15. Over the past few years, despite evidence to the contrary, AAA does not support the use of E15. However, competitor AMCM does and the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is calling on drivers to support a company that supports ethanol.

Gene Hammond Association Motor Club MarketingHammond explained that four years after EPA approval of E15 and two years after AAA declared it was premature back in 2012, his company began looking into their claims, and not one service claim in two years was related to ethanol. As a result, Hammond approached ACE with their findings and a partnership was solidified.

Hammond was born on a farm in South Dakota and he knows first-hand what ethanol has done for America. So have others, he said. Many new customers have joined because his company supports the use of ethanol blends.

The 50+ year old motor club has more than 19 million members in 50 states and Hammond said his company’s focus is on providing unmatched service for their members. As a result, “reality” trumps all and with no car problems related to the fuel, he encourages drivers to give E15 a try.

Ethanol supporters ready to make the switch (I did) should go to and click on the “Ethanol Supporters” tab to receive a membership discount.

To learn more about the Association Motor Club Marketing and their support of ethanol, listen to my interview with Gene Hammond: Interview with Gene Hammond, AMCM

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos