December Ethanol Exports Surge

According to a blog from Geoff Cooper, senior vice president for the Renewable Fuel Association (RFA), U.S. ethanol exports did well in December 2015 with 81.7 million gallons (mg) of product exported, 39 percent higher than November 2015. Canada was the top destination receiving 21.3 mg followed by Oman (13.4 mg), China (10.6 mg), the Philippines (8.8 mg), and the Netherlands (8.8 mg). U.S. ethanol exports totaled 836 mg in 2015—identical to the 2014 final tally according to recent report from RFA that includes details on top export destinations, shifts in the marketplace, ethanol import volumes, the value of exports, and other key data regarding U.S. ethanol trade in 2015.

Monthly US Ethanol Exports and ImportsDenatured fuel ethanol exports totaled 50.3 mg in December, the highest monthly total of the year and up 57 percent from November. At 19.3 mg, Canada was again the leading importer of denatured product. December exports of undenatured fuel ethanol tallied at 28.6 mg, up 18 percent from November. The Philippines (8.8 mg), Brazil (6.4 mg), the Netherlands (4.5 mg), Belgium-Luxembourg (2.6 mg), and Mexico (2.2 mg) were the top five markets for undenatured product in December.

U.S. fuel ethanol imports fell to 9.4 mg in December, less than half of the November import volume. Total imports of fuel ethanol finished the year at 93.2 mg, up slightly from 2014. Brazil represented more than 99 percent of the December imports with the remaining imports coming from Germany.

Exports of U.S. distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product manufactured by dry mill ethanol plants increased slightly in December, with 988,356 metric tons (mt) of outbound shipments. That was up 5 percent from November, but still well below monthly export levels recorded from May through October. DDGS exports finished the year at 12.55 million mt, a new annual record.

China remained as the top market for U.S. DDGS exports in December, despite setting an 11-month low. China received 226,049 mt, down 20 percent from November and less than one-quarter of the DDGS volume imported as recently as July. However, other markets saw big increases including Mexico, South Korea, Canada, and Vietnam. For the full calendar year, China was the top market followed by Mexico.

South Dakota Gets Grant to Increase Ethanol Use

The USDA Commodity Credit Corporation has given a $1.5 million grant to the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) to increase the state’s use of ethanol. The program receiving the funds is the state’s Ethanol Infrastructure Program that helps fuel retailers install blender pumps to sell mid-level and high-level ethanol blends such as E15 and E85. With the additional funds, retailers will be able to receive 90 percent of the first $29,000 in costs for each blender pump. The goal is to have 74 new blender pumps installed statewide with the support of the USDA grant.

EthanolBlenderPumpinSouthDakota“As the ethanol industry continues to grow, we feel it is imperative to utilize more of this environmentally friendly renewable energy source. The grant monies we received from the USDA will help facilitate this initiative,” said GOED Commissioner Pat Costello.

Another change to the program allows for additional funding for the state’s storage tank installation program that assists stations purchase and install additional fuel storage if needed for the installation of new ethanol blender pumps. The storage tank program will now pay costs of a new tank at 90 percent of the first $40,000 in costs.

To help promote and manage the application process, the GOED has contracted with Project Solutions, Inc. (PSI), a company based in Rapid City. “PSI will become our front line in working with station owners on questions about the program. The company will help walk them through the application process, as well,” said Costello who added their number one goal is to increase ethanol usage in South Dakota.

The first round of applications is now being accepted, and the deadline to apply is March 1, 2016 with a fully completed Formal Application will need to be submitted by March 15, 2016 to remain in the first round cycle. Additional application round deadlines are scheduled for April 15 and June 15, if required.

Donnelly ‘Friend of Farmers’ for Support of Ethanol

in-corn-donnellyA U.S. senator’s support of ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard has garnered him the inaugural “Friend of Farmers” Award from the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Growers Association. This news release says Sen. Joe Donnelly was recognized for his unwavering support of Indiana farmers’ policy efforts.

The Friend of Farmers Award was established by ICGA’s Board of Directors and ISA’s Membership and Policy Committee to recognize a public official at the state, federal, or local level who advocates for agriculture.

“Senator Donnelly has been among the top supporters of ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard of anyone in Washington,” said Mike Nichols, a farmer from Spencer County and president of the Indiana Corn Growers Association. “At a time when big oil is funneling millions of dollars to kill this law that increased demand for the corn we grow, reduces our dependence on foreign oil, and promotes rural economic development, Senator Donnelly has stood strong for Indiana corn farmers.”

Donnelly also led a charge in 2015 to roll back the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

“When the EPA overstepped its authority by regulating farm fields and roadside ditches, Senator Donnelly was one of the first to stand up for farmers and introduce legislation to stop this overreach,” said Jeanette Merritt, a farmer from Peru and chair of ISA’s Membership & Policy Committee. “Regardless of party, Senator Donnelly has been a bipartisan leader for Indiana farmers.”

Donnelly says working on behalf of agriculture is one of the most important parts of his job.

“Hoosier farmers are growing the food and fiber that drive our economy, strengthen our local communities, and help feed the world. As I’ve always said, I’m the hired help and I’m committed to listening to Hoosier farmers and working together for commonsense, bipartisan solutions that promote agriculture,” said Donnelly. “I am honored to receive the inaugural Friend of Farmers award, and will continue working on behalf of all Hoosier farmers and our agriculture community.”

Phibro Animal Health on Ethanol and FSMA

PhibroEthanol performance and animal health go hand in hand at Phibro Animal Health Corporation, which is why the revised FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations are an important focus for the company right now.

Phibo Animal Health Senior Vice President for scientific and regulatory affairs Richard Coulter says many ethanol producers are concerned about what impact the new regulations have on their plants and the distillers grains by-products they produce that are used for animal feed. “We see a lot of confusion at the moment in producers looking to adopt FSMA regarding the FDA’s approach to antimicrobial use for controlling bacterial contamination in ethanol production,” said Coulter in an interview with Domestic Fuel. “The reason that confusion is arising is that the FDA simultaneously has another initiative, Guidance 209, involving veterinary medicine and the use of antibiotics in food animals.”

phibro-coulterGuidance 209 requires that no antimicrobials may be used after the end of 2016 in food animals without the specific authorization of a veterinarian. “So a number of ethanol producers have thought that since they’re making ethanol, and since they’re making distillers grains, and distillers grain is an animal’s feed, that they may need a veterinarian to write them a prescription or a veterinary feed directive to allow them to use antimicrobial products in ethanol, but that’s not true,” says Coulter, explaining that Guidance 209 relates only to veterinary drugs.

Ethanol plants use antimicrobials such as the Phibro Ethanol Performance group product Lactrol to reduce bacterial contamination during alcohol fermentation and Coulter says regulations are very clear that the use of most antimicrobials in ethanol production are still authorized as safe under the new FSMA regulations.

“Lactrol has a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) designation, so it may be used in ethanol, and when its used in accordance with the label it is GRAS and the distillers grain that arises from that ethanol production may be used in animals with no impact from FSMA,” Coulter explained. “The issue that many producers are concerned about is that if Lactrol is used in ethanol production to control bacterial contamination, would there be unacceptable residues or unhealthy or harmful dangerous resides of Lactrol that would persist into the distillers grains that would cause a hazard to animals or food that they would produce, and the answer is no.”

Learn more in this interview: Interview with Richard Coulter, Phibro Animal Health

#Ethanol Exports Steady as She Goes

growth-exportsThe U.S. ethanol industry exported 836 million gallons of ethanol worth $1.8 billion in 2015, according to a new summary of ethanol trade statistics released by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). The final tally for 2015 was identical to the 2014 export total.

The RFA publication, which draws data from several U.S. government entities, offers a succinct overview of U.S. ethanol export and import trends in 2015 and prior years. RFA’s new statistical summary will be distributed to attendees of the upcoming National Ethanol Conference (NEC), including prospective ethanol importers attending the International Buyer Program (IBP).

The RFA report finds that U.S. ethanol made its way to all six inhabited continents in 2015, reaching more than 75 countries. The top five countries receiving U.S. ethanol last year included Canada, Brazil, the Philippines, China, and South Korea. Notably, China emerged in 2015 as a leading destination for U.S. ethanol, and total exports to Asia are up 1,515 percent over 2012. While U.S. ethanol exports had a strong showing in 2015, imports of ethanol continued to sag. The United States imported just 93 million gallons of ethanol last year, with more than one-third entering through California ports.

“Ethanol’s value as an octane booster was in the global spotlight in 2015. Even with falling crude oil prices, ethanol remained the lowest-cost—and cleanest—source of octane in the world,” said RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen, who adds that expanding export markets for ethanol in 2016 is a priority for the industry. “With EPA failing to enforce the Renewable Fuel Standard volumes established by Congress, we must continue to aggressively seek new market opportunities around the world.”

The 2016 National Ethanol Conference being held Feb. 15–17 in New Orleans will help in that effort by serving as host to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program (IBP). “The RFA is excited about participating in the IBP, and for the opportunity the program provides to create a pathway that connects domestic ethanol producers with international markets,” said RFA board chairman Randall Doyal, RFA Board of Directors Chairman. “By providing a forum to establish these important business-to-business relationships, the NEC will serve as the premier destination for U.S. ethanol producers who are looking for opportunities to promote their products on the world stage.” Prospective ethanol buyers from Brazil, India, Mexico, Peru, and the Philippines are expected to attend.

More information about the NEC can be found at NationalEthanolConference.com.

ACE #Ethanol Ready to Soar into DC

ace16-flyinMembers of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) are getting ready to soar into Washington, DC this year for their annual legislative fly-in. The 8th annual ACE fly-in will be held on April 13-14, with the Washington Court on Capitol Hill serving as the host hotel for the event.

“The most persuasive and effective spokespeople for our industry are real people, whose everyday life experiences and authenticity illustrate how the decisions made in Washington, DC impact their businesses and communities,” said ACE Executive Vice President Brian Jennings. “Given how much is at stake for biofuels in 2016 between the election, RFS implementation challenges, and regulatory hurdles impacting consumer access to E15, flex fuels, and the clean octane in ethanol, we encourage supporters to join us for this important event.”

Fly-in registration information is available at this link on the ACE website.

Ethanol Plays Key Role in Iowa Campaigning

caucusSen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) won the Republican ticket in Iowa last night with Donald Trump coming in second despite Cruz’s ambiguity on ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). However, compared to the campaigning four years ago, ethanol has gained a significant amount of positive ground according to a press conference held by Growth Energy. The Iowa Caucus kicks off the beginning of the nomination process for the next U.S. president.

Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy, noted on the call that the oil industry is calling the results proof that Iowans don’t care about ethanol. However, he says the facts are, “Over 80 percent of the votes yesterday in Iowa were cast for candidates that are in favor for the RFS.” The results find that there were more pro-RFS votes made in Iowa this year than in 2012.

For example, in 2012 in Iowa, anti-RFS candidate votes were cast for Ron Paul: 21.5 percent; Rick Perry: 10.4 percent; and Michele Bachmann: 5 percent for a total of 36.9 percent. Whereas in 2016, anti-RFS votes were for Ted Cruz: 27.7 percent and Rand Paul: 4.5 percent for a total of 32.2 percent.

According to Paul Tewes, political strategist, who has been a keen observer of the campaigning process, said he has never seen ethanol more talked about, perform better as a whole, or have a politician like Ted Cruz be more contorted about how to talk about it than this one. “This was a race here where ethanol was put on the map, where candidates had to talk about it and most of the candidates moved either completely for it, or the few that didn’t, moved towards it.”

He also noted that if Cruz is the Republican nominee, then he believes Democrats will take the state in November.

Monte Shaw, executive director for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) added that the effort to support the RFS in Iowa has always been more than about one candidate. “It was about trying to get candidates to understand the reality of the support oil gets from the government and how the RFS cracks through that monopoly.”

To learn more about Iowa voter support for ethanol and the RFS, listen to the full press conference including the Q&A here: Iowa Caucus Results Press Conference

RFA: Cruz In But Ethanol Not Out

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) may have won in Iowa last night, but according to the Renewable Fuel Association (RFS), ethanol is not out. RFS President and CEO Bob Dinneen said that his win has created a narrative that presidential candidates campaigning in the state no longer have to voice support for ethanol or the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Dinneen said this is not the case.

“The narrative comrfalogo1ing out after last night’s Iowa caucus that the domestic ethanol industry is somehow on the ropes is false,” said Dinneen. “Many people seem to have forgotten that, in the run-up to last night’s caucus vote, though Sen. Cruz stated he was opposed to the RFS he also expressed support for ethanol as a fuel. In fact the senator has discussed the need to provide American consumers better access to ethanol fuels like E25 or E30, stating that they could prove to be quite popular with American consumers who are increasingly concerned about fuel economy. The senator also called ethanol an effective additive because it increases octane and decreases harmful tailpipe emissions. That doesn’t sound like someone to me who is writing off the domestic ethanol industry. That sounds to me like someone who is just being true to his no-mandates of any kind philosophy.”

Dinneen added, “Moreover, pundits anxious to write off ethanol’s potential currency in Iowa should note that more than 85 percent of the votes cast in Iowa last night were in support of candidates who continue to champion the RFS.”

Cruz Takes Iowa Despite #RFS Campaign

America's Renewable Future logoSen. Ted Cruz of Texas finished a strong first in the Iowa caucuses, despite heavy campaigning against him by the ethanol industry and even Governor Terry Branstad saying it would be a “big mistake for Iowa to support him.” Still, America’s Renewable Future, headed by Branstad’s son Eric, took a positive tone on the caucus results, noting that 100% of Democrats and “more than two-thirds of Republicans are caucusing for a pro-ethanol, pro-RFS candidate.”

“We feel good about our results. The vast majority of our candidates and the vast majority of caucus-goers realize the economic, national security, and environmental benefits of the (Renewable Fuel Standard),” said Eric Branstad. “And even though Sen. Cruz’s position would be devastating to our economy and tens of thousands of Iowans’ livelihoods, even he, who has accepted more donations from oil than any other candidate and is personally invested in oil companies, claims that he’s pro-ethanol and wants to eliminate oil subsidies. That’s a sure sign how important the RFS and ethanol are.”

trump-iowaDonald Trump was “honored” that he placed second in the Monday caucuses in Iowa and expressed his love for the state during his speech to supporters last night, with a parting note that he could become a farmer.

“Iowa, we love you, we thank you, you’re special,” said Trump. “We will be back many, many times – in fact, I think I may come here and buy a farm – I love it!”

Listen to Trump’s remarks here: Donald Trump after Iowa Caucuses

Growth Launches TV Ads for Iowa Caucus

It’s caucus day in Iowa and Growth Energy has launched a TV and digital ad campaign highlighting ethanol’s contribution to the state and country. The spot features Iowa farmer Chris Soules, star of hit shows The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars. The ad will appear nationwide on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC.

growth-energy-logo1“Thanks to homegrown ethanol, we’re seeing major economic and environmental benefits,” said Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy. “American-made ethanol cuts our dependence on foreign oil and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, creates jobs and provides consumers with a choice at the pump. Ethanol and the RFS are crucial to continue allowing America’s farmers and innovators to produce clean, renewable energy here at home. It’s no coincidence that an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of candidates for president have all realized the immense benefits and potential of ethanol.”

“It’s important now more than ever that we recognize ethanol’s critical role in America’s energy policy. Ethanol makes up 10 percent of the current motor fuel supply and it is continuing to grow as we see widespread adoption of higher blends such as E15. Ethanol is a 21st century fuel for 21st century vehicles. We must ensure its continued support and development as we work to meet our growing energy needs,” Buis concluded.