USDA’s McKinney Optimistic About Ethanol Exports

Cindy Zimmerman

USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney says he will leave “no stone unturned” in his quest to increase U.S. agricultural exports, including ethanol.

McKinney spoke to the Renewable Fuels Association National Ethanol Conference Wednesday about the markets where he sees the most potential for ethanol, including China, Mexico, Brazil, and India.

Listen to his remarks:
RFANEC USDA Undersecretary Ted McKinney 23:13

RFANEC USDA Undersecretary Ted McKinney interview 6:16

2020 National Ethanol Conference photo album

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Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy Receives RFA Industry Award

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) presented Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy (SIRE) with the 2020 Industry Award at the 25th annual National Ethanol Conference Wednesday. The award is presented annually to a member company that has provided a unique contribution to the industry’s success through technological, marketplace, or advocacy excellence.

SIRE is being recognized this year for their critical role in hosting the President of the United States along with multiple cabinet officials, federal, state and local officials and national news media for a tour of their facilities and a celebration of new regulations permitting summertime sales of E15. The event convened industry leaders and policymakers, providing an opportunity for the Trump Administration to hear first-hand accounts of the positive impact that expanding the use of E15 would have, as well as accounts of the damage being done to the renewable fuels industry by the unprecedented number of small refiner exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Listen to RFA CEO Geoff Cooper present the award and comments from SIRE Chairman Karol King
RFANEC Industry Award - SIRE 6:15

2020 National Ethanol Conference photo album

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Implications of the 10th Circuit Court’s SRE Decision

Cindy Zimmerman

As the ethanol industry focuses forward in the new decade, a big bright spot is the very real potential that EPA’s generous allocating of Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) may be coming to an end, thanks to the recent 10th Circuit Court decision.

The lead counsel in the case brought by Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), National Corn Growers Association, and National Farmers Union outlined the potential impacts of the decision during the National Ethanol Conference on Tuesday. Matthew Morrison, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, referenced comments made by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler last week that the decision has the potential to completely change the small refinery program.
EPA Admin Wheeler comments on SRE court decision

Listen to Morrison’s remarks here:
RFANEC Remarks from Matt Morrison, RFA Counsel 23:00

2020 National Ethanol Conference photo album

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Ethanol Industry Ready to Focus Forward

Cindy Zimmerman

Still riding the high of hearing from former President George W. Bush, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper addressed attendees of the 25th annual National Ethanol Conference in Houston today with his annual State of the Industry remarks.

“2019 marked just the third time in the last three decades where output fell from the preceding year,” Cooper said. “Previous decreases in annual output—in 1996 and 2012—were both tied to historic droughts, short crops, and record high corn prices. The drop in ethanol output this time was caused by a disaster of an entirely different sort: policy uncertainty, bureaucratic meddling, and aggravating marketplace barriers.”

In the face of demand-destroying regulatory barriers and political uncertainty, Cooper highlighted how the ethanol industry continued to serve as a vital source of good-paying jobs and economic activity in hard-hit rural communities in 2019, citing key statistics from RFA’s annual study on the economic contributions of the ethanol industry. Released on Monday, the study measures the industry’s sizable economic footprint.

Cooper also touted the removal of regulatory barriers that had banned the sale of E15 during summer months and the marketplace’s enthusiastic response as a win attributable to the industry’s tenacity and ability to “focus forward.” He went on to point out that 2020 is already off to a good start with US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruling in favor of RFA in a decision that could ensure the EPA is finally held accountable for their abusive practices in issuing small refinery waivers.

Read Cooper’s remarks here, listen to them below.
RFANEC RFA CEO Geoff Cooper remarks 32:00

You can watch the video of Geoff’s remarks from our Facebook Live video here:


2020 National Ethanol Conference photo album

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43rd President Visits National Ethanol Conference

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association was honored to welcome George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, to the 25th Annual National Ethanol Conference today in Houston.

By championing an all-of-the-above approach to domestic energy production while in office, President Bush put the United States on a course toward greater energy security and made an indelible mark on agriculture and the renewable fuels industry.

RFA Senior Strategic Advisor Bob Dinneen was thrilled to be able to hear from the former president who signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, creating the original Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In December 2007, he signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which extended and greatly expanded the RFS. Between these two signature events, in April 2006, President Bush spoke to RFA members in Washington, D.C., where he addressed the importance of energy independence and security.

We have no photos or audio from the president’s appearance as no media were permitted to attend, but Dinneen shared his impressions and reflections in this interview.

RFA Senior Strategic Advisor Bob Dinneen reflects on 25th NEC and 15th RFS anniversary
RFANEC Interview with Bob Dinneen, RFA Senior Strategic Advisor 11:46

2020 National Ethanol Conference photo album

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Ethanol Groups Partner to Expand Pollinator Habitat

Cindy Zimmerman

At the National Ethanol Conference in Houston Monday, the Renewable Fuels Association announced the launch of a pilot project in collaboration with Nebraska corn and ethanol groups and Pheasants Forever to expand critical pollinator habitat as part of the ethanol industry’s commitment to improving biodiversity in key production regions.

The project, with Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, is designed to establishe pollinator habitat and demonstration sites in collaboration with Nebraska ethanol plants. The project will provide support to local corn growers, with the goal of expanding similar habitat with partnering farmers and impacting a minimum of 1,000 acres.

Renewable Fuels Nebraska executive director Troy Bredenkamp says the participating ethanol plants will provide an educational showcase for local farmers in the area by hosting pollinator workshops to increase awareness of these conservation practices. The project will also work to accelerate the adoption of pollinator and wildlife habitat on private lands through financial and technical assistance by leveraging existing Pheasants Forever habitat partnership programs.

Learn more from Bredenkamp in this interview:
RFANEC Interview with Troy Bredenkamp, Renewable Fuels Nebraska 7:29

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Wheeler: Court Decision Could Change Small Refinery Program

Cindy Zimmerman

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the recent 10th Circuit Court decision regarding small refinery exemptions may have a significant impact on the program.

“That (court decision) has the potential to completely, of changing the small refinery program,” said Wheeler to reporters during a visit Friday to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) meeting in San Antonio. “We’re taking a close look at the 10th circuit decision and the ramifications to the program and we’ll have something out on that shortly.”

Specifically, Wheeler says the court found for three refineries that “they were ineligible for the program under the law” because according to the statute “you have to have received the small refinery exemption year after year.”

Listen to Wheeler’s exchange with reporter Spencer Chase of Agri-Pulse.
EPA Admin Wheeler comments on SRE court decision

That court decision will be a big topic of conversation at the National Ethanol Conference next week in Houston.

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RFA Reports Detail 2019 Ethanol and Distillers Grains Exports

Cindy Zimmerman

New reports from the Renewable Fuels Association summarize 2019 export and import data for U.S. ethanol and distillers grains.

The export/import trade summary report on ethanol provides annual and monthly data on U.S. ethanol exports, highlighting the fact that 1.47 billion gallons—9.3 percent of the ethanol produced here—were exported in 2019, second only to 2018’s record of 1.7 billion. This ethanol, valued at $2.42 billion, was shipped to more than 70 countries on six continents. Top destinations for U.S. ethanol exports (Brazil ranking first, followed closely by Canada) are also discussed in the report, along with information on the impact of trade barriers on shipments to certain markets.

The second report covers U.S. exports of distillers grains, a high-protein co-product of dry mill ethanol production used in feed for livestock and poultry, which totaled 10.79 million metric tons in 2019, the sixth straight year these exports exceeded 10 million metric tons. Mexico remained the top destination for U.S. distillers grains, representing 19 percent; however, U.S. distillers grains exports to China continued to see a significant drop since the country imposed punitive anti-dumping and countervailing duties against U.S. products in 2016. U.S. distillers grains exports had an aggregate value of $2.2 billion in 2019, the fifth highest on record.

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Kansas Ethanol to install Whitefox ICE™

Cindy Zimmerman

Whitefox Technologies announced this week that Kansas Ethanol will become the ninth facility to install Whitefox ICE™ membrane dehydration system, at its 77 million gallons per year (mmgy) plant in Lyons, Kansas.

The company says the addition of Whitefox ICE™ will enable Kansas Ethanol to improve their overall efficiency and “increase production by an average rate of 30,000 gallons per day.”

Whitefox Technologies CEO, Gillian Harrison, said, “It’s great to be working with the team at Kansas Ethanol to further improve their energy and operational efficiency. It will be our first plant in this important state and our ninth ICE solution. This takes us to over 100 mmgy of installed membrane capacity, which is an exciting milestone.”

Ethanol, Ethanol News

Packed Agenda for 25th National Ethanol Conference

Cindy Zimmerman

With a theme of “Focus Forward,” the 25th annual National Ethanol Conference is shaping up to be an historic event next week in Houston, Texas, the “energy capital of the world.”

“We’re thrilled to have such a terrific program this year, with speakers and panelists representing a wide range of interests and viewpoints from around the world,”” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “There will not just be ‘something for everyone,’ but many things for everyone—so many ways to learn, connect, share and get more involved as we focus forward on the exciting future for high-octane, low-carbon renewable fuels.”

RFA CEO Geoff Cooper (:55)

Among the highlights will be “A Special Conversation with President George W. Bush – The Challenges Facing Our Nation in the 21st Century and the Power of Freedom,” which will take place Tuesday morning. There are extremely strict rules in place for this conversation allowing no media coverage at all and “no photography, recording or social media use by the audience will be allowed during the session.” So, if you really want to hear what the 43rd president of the United States has to say about ethanol, you will just have to be there in person.

Political analyst Bill Kristol, Director of Defending Democracy Together, will talk politics at the Tuesday luncheon. U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney will talk trade on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Timely session topics include implications of the 10th Circuit Court’s SRE decision, octane, low carbon fuel standards, ethanol off-road, exports and more.

Registration is still open for the conference Feb. 10-12 at the Marriott Marquis Houston.

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