Ethanol and Motorcycles Mix at Sturgis Rally

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At the 2017 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally last week, the Renewable Fuels Association stepped up its efforts to provide motorcycle owners with the facts about the use of ethanol their engines – mainly that ten percent ethanol is approved by every major motorcycle manufacturer.

This was ninth year for the ethanol sponsorship at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip Campground and it just keeps getting better. This edition of the Ethanol Report includes comments from RFA VP of Industry Relations Robert White, Buffalo Chip Campground owner Rod Woodruff, RFA chairman Mick Henderson and some bikers who filled up during Free Fuel Happy Hours.

Learn what was new at the Ethanol Report from 2017 Sturgis Rally

2017 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally photo album

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Miss South Dakota Pumps Ethanol

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Probably no other contestant at the 2017 Miss America pageant September 10 can say that they have pumped 10 percent ethanol fuel for bikers at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. But Miss South Dakota can.

Miranda Mack is from Redfield, home to Redfield Energy and the South Dakota Ethanol Producers Association, (SDEPA) which is a big sponsor of Miss South Dakota. “They sponsor my fuel costs as I travel all over the state this year,” she said, as she helped pump fuel and hand out t-shirts, looking only slightly out of place in her heels and tiara!

SDEPA president and Redfield Chief Administrative Officer Dana Siefkes-Lewis arranged for Miranda’s appearance at the Free Fuel Happy Hours sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip Campground.

Audio file: Interview with Miss South Dakota Miranda Mack

2017 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally photo album

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Iowa Farmer is 1st Woman to Chair USGC

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Iowa farmer Deb Keller was elected as U.S. Grains Council (USGC) chairman at the organization’s 57th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting in Vancouver, Washington earlier this month. She is the first female selected for the role in the organization’s nearly 60 year history.

Keller’s experience as a strong advocate for trade will amplify the Council’s mission of developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives. “Thinking ahead, I see so many areas for growth, but I also see challenges that will take much time and patience to see through,” Keller said in her incoming chairman’s remarks. “After working with our delegates, the board and our staff both internationally and domestically, I know we can be successful together.”

Keller has a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Purdue University and has farmed in Wright County, Iowa, for more than 25 years with her husband, Gary, whom she met while working in a corn field.

Learn more about the new chair in this interview from Tony St. James – All Ag, All Day. Thanks Tony!

Interview with USGC chair Deb Keller

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ACE Helps POET-Big Stone Celebrate 15 Years

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The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) helped member plant POET Biorefining – Big Stone celebrate its 15-year anniversary this week at the Speedway Event Center in Milbank, South Dakota.

ACE executive vice president Brian Jennings spoke at POET Big Stone’s annual meeting along with Northern Growers LLC CFO Bob Narem and POET representatives Seth Artz and Blaine Gomer. POET Biorefining – Big Stone is majority owned by Northern Growers of Milbank with Broin Investments of Sioux Falls also an investor. After becoming fully operational in June of 2002, the 79 million-gallon-per-year (MGPY) plant will produce its billionth ethanol gallon later this fall.

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RFA Chairman Pumps Fuel for Bikers

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Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) chairman Mick Henderson was a long way from his old Kentucky home this week, pumping 93 octane 10 percent ethanol fuel for bikers at the Buffalo Chip Campground for the 77th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, SD.

“Back in Kentucky you might say that bourbon is the place to put your corn, but we drink the best and burn the rest,” said Henderson, who is general manager of Commonwealth Agri Energy in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. “And we have a real opportunity here to educate the motorcycle riding public about ethanol.”

It was Henderson’s first time attending the legendary motorcycle rally that RFA has been helping to sponsor for nine years now and he had a great time pumping fuel, giving away free t-shirts and beach balls with fuel cards, but he especially enjoyed just talking with the bikers. “You just talk to them about where they are from, what they do, why they are there,” said Henderson. “There’s still a lot of misinformation here and it’s fun to share that knowledge.”

Audio file: Interview with RFA Chairman Mick Henderson

2017 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally photo album

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USDA Forecast Optimistic Despite Conditions

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U.S. farmers are expected to produce a record-high soybean crop this year, according to USDA’s August Crop Production report released Thursday. Soybean production is forecast at 4.38 billion bushels, up two percent from last year, while corn growers are expected to decrease their production by seven percent from last year, forecast at 14.2 billion bushels.

Soybean yields are expected to average 49.4 bushels per acre, down 2.7 bushels from last year, while the average corn yield is forecast at 169.5 bushels per acre, down 5.1 bushels from last year. Yields for both crops are expected to be lower or the same in the major producing areas, but record high in non-traditional states like Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

But with corn condition ratings the lowest they have been since the 2012 drought, some analysts believe the yields will be lower than USDA is saying now. “It seems like they’re being very conservative with this,” said Doug Werling of Bower Trading during the MGEX crop call following release of the report. “You can’t have a crop condition rating that continues to fall and a yield that improves or only falls marginally two months in a row. It just doesn’t really add up.”

Werling also comments on the wheat production forecast, which is down 25 percent overall.

Audio file: Crop commentary from Doug Werling of Bower Trading

The August report also includes the first production forecast for U.S. cotton, at 20.5 million 480-pound bales, up 20 percent from last year.

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ACE Announces Scholarship Winners

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The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) has announced its 2017 scholarship winners. Each student receives a $1,000 scholarship through ACE’s Scholarship Program to help further their collegiate education.

Carrie Kemmet of Eleva, Wisconsin, will be attending Purdue University, where she is enrolled in the first-year engineering curriculum and the Honors College. Carrie is the daughter of Neal and Lucinda Kemmet. Her father Neal is employed with ACE ethanol producer member plant Ace Ethanol in Stanley, Wisconsin.

Hailea DeJong is from Madison, South Dakota, and will be pursuing nursing at the University of South Dakota. Hailea is the daughter of Jeff and Jennifer DeJong. Her mother Jennifer works for ACE member East River Electric in Madison.

Keithen Drury from Blue Hill, Nebraska, is a junior at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Keithen is the son of Terry and Penny Drury. His father Terry is employed at ACE ethanol producer member Chief Ethanol Fuels in Hastings, Nebraska.

ACE has awarded $50,000 since the scholarship program was started in 2004 for employees and dependents of employees and shareholders of ACE member companies and organizations.

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PERC Announces New Propane Farm Incentive Program

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If you’ve been thinking about switching to propane, now is the time, says Cinch Munson, director of agriculture business development at the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC).  The Propane Farm Incentive program has been newly revised, taking it from a two-step process to one-step where farmers receive their application packet from the dealer when they purchase a piece of qualifying equipment.  “We wanted to make things easier,” Munson said.

The purpose of the program is to offset the costs of purchasing propane-powered equipment and to gather valuable information about increasing efficiency and the development of new equipment.  Currently propane equipment in the ag space includes irrigation engines, prime power generators, heating systems for greenhouses and animals, and a few grain dryers.  To find a list of qualifying purchases, visit

Two new offerings have also been brought to market by Origins Engines.  The new 5.7 L and 6.2 L engines provide higher horsepower that was previously lacking.  “We’re pretty excited to see that come to market because more choices are always a benefit for the consumer,” Munson told Cindy.

As with all good things, this offer will come to an end.  Currently it’s set to continue through 2017, but if you’re thinking about it, do it now, Munson advised.  There are lots of positives and very few negatives.

“It’s a good size incentive on an engine that, in most every case, costs considerably less than the latest Tier 4 engines.  So by choosing propane you save money on the cost up front.  Participating in the Farm Incentive Program you save even more money, and then the operating costs on those engines- we’ve seen over the last five years- by using propane instead of diesel, an operation can save 30 to 50 percent on their operating costs.”

Listen to Cindy’s full interview with Munson here: Interview with Cinch Munson, PERC

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Remembering the Original RFS

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Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen keeps a signed copy of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which included the original Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), hanging on the wall of his office as a reminder of how far the industry has come since then. It was signed 12 years ago this week by President George W. Bush at a signing ceremony held in New Mexico to honor then-Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM), co-author of the bill.

The original RFS called for up to 7.5 billion gallons of biofuel by 2012. Because of the tremendous growth and the numerous benefits, Congress expanded the RFS in 2007, requiring oil companies to blend increasing volumes of renewable fuels with gasoline and diesel, culminating with 36 billion gallons in 2022. In the 12 years since its existence, the RFS has made tremendous progress towards its goals of energy security, clean air and boosting local economies.

Read Bob’s RFS anniversary reminiscing.

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RFA Sponsors Charitable Legends Ride

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The Sturgis Buffalo Chip Legends Ride celebrated 10 years of getting bikers together for a ride in the Black Hills while supporting the Black Hills Special Olympics and other charities, donating nearly half a million dollars in the past decade.

The Renewable Fuels Association helped to sponsor this year’s anniversary ride, and also donated $500 of free fuel to Black Hills Special Olympics and welcomed the Special Olympians to the rally. “We’ve been a sponsor of the Legends Ride for nine years, we missed the first year, but we’re happy to be part of this effort,” said RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White.

The Olympians will be able to get that free fuel at the new self-serve Buffalo Chip filling station, which is dispensing 93 octane, 10 percent ethanol fuel.

Audio file: Legends Ride presser

2017 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally photo album

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