Biodiesel Drives Manufacturing

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The biodiesel industry is celebrating Manufacturing Day℠ today – a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers that occurs on the first Friday in October each year.

Biodiesel is a driving force in America’s manufacturing sector, supporting more than 64,000 good paying, clean energy jobs across the country. These jobs are contributing to a vibrant manufacturing sector, reinvigorating rural economies and driving innovation.

“Manufacturing Day 2017 is an appropriate time to reflect on the biodiesel industry’s economic contributions,” said Donnell Rehagen, National Biodiesel Board CEO. “With nearly 90 NBB-member plants, American-made biodiesel is produced in almost every state in the country. There are countless real-life examples of the power of biodiesel supporting the American economy and jobs throughout the supply chain. From the farmers who grow the feedstocks, to the producers who make the fuel, to the marketers and distributors who ensure it gets to the end users – biodiesel is an economic and job creation success story.”


Ethanol Industry Leader Calls on EPA to Maintain RFS

Cindy Zimmerman

RFA chairman Mick Henderson talks with biker filling up with E10 at Sturgis

In an op-ed published this week in The Hill, the chairman of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) urges EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to stick with President Trump’s vision for an America First energy policy and keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) strong.

Pointing to EPA actions and rumors of actions in recent weeks to reduce volume obligations and lower demand for ethanol, Commonwealth Agri-Energy general manager Mick Henderson said Pruitt apparently “has not gotten the memo from the White House that the RFS is to be protected and allowed to grow the market for biofuels, while providing consumers with more choice and savings at the pump.”

Henderson was just re-elected as chairman of the RFA this week during the organization’s annual meeting in Des Moines. Henderson’s ethanol plant, located in Hopkinsville, Ky., produces 35 million gallons of ethanol per year from 12 million bushels of corn. Henderson has been with Commonwealth Agri-Energy since 2003 and has served on the RFA Board of Directors since 2006.

RFA also elected Neil Koehler of Pacific Ethanol as Vice Chairman, and Charles Wilson of Trenton Agri-Products as Treasurer.

EPA, Ethanol, Opinion, RFA

ACE Partners with EPA Smart Sectors Program

Cindy Zimmerman

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is one of the participants in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Smart Sectors program launched this week to provide a platform for collaboration with regulated sectors to help the agency develop forward-thinking ways to improve environmental outcomes.

“The Smart Sectors program is designed to effectively engage business partners throughout the regulatory process,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “When industries and regulators better understand each other, the economy, public, and the environment all benefit.”

Smart Sectors is partnering with trade associations from 13 industry sectors selected for their environmental and economic impacts. ACE represents biofuels under the oil and gas sector as the only ethanol industry association representative invited to partner in the launch.

“We’re grateful Administrator Pruitt invited ACE to participate in this Smart Sectors program given the timely and critical ethanol issues currently under consideration at EPA,” said Brian Jennings, ACE Executive Vice President. “We will take advantage of this opportunity to work with EPA to ensure that RFS implementation grows demand for biofuels, to continue pushing for RVP relief for E15 and higher ethanol blends, and to position high-octane fuel as a solution to fuel economy and emissions standards.”

Organizations chosen to represent the agricultural industry in the program are the American Farm Bureau Federation and CropLife America.

ACE, Ag group, EPA

Help Finally on the Way for USDA

cindy zimmerman

Secy Perdue greets McKinney and Censky before Senate hearing (USDA Photo)

Over five months after he took office, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue finally has some help on the way.

Yesterday, the Senate voted to formally approved the nominations of Stephen Censky as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, and Ted McKinney as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs.

“I am pleased that the U.S. Senate was able to work in a bipartisan and swift manner to confirm Stephen Censky and Ted McKinney,” said Senate Agriculture Committee chair Pat Roberts (R-KS). “Secretary Perdue, help is on the way.”

“I commend the Senate for confirming these two experienced, prepared, and capable nominees, who will provide the steady leadership we need at USDA,” said Secretary Perdue in a statement. “We eagerly await their arrival at USDA, and urge the Senate to continue to act on other nominees who are awaiting confirmation.”

The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing with both nominees on September 19. Tomorrow, the committee will hold a hearing on the nominations of Greg Ibach of Nebraska to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, and Bill Northey of Iowa to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services. No hearing has been scheduled yet for Sam Clovis of Iowa, President Trump’s controversial pick for Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics.

AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, USDA

Groups Urge Trump to Stop EPA Changes to RFS

Cindy Zimmerman

Biofuels stakeholder organizations have sent a letter to President Donald Trump, urging him to “act quickly to prevent actions” at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that threaten to undermine future growth of the biofuels industry under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“If the proposed changes are finalized, EPA’s actions would cause severe harm to our industry, undermining your efforts to drive economic growth and secure America’s status as the global leader in biofuel production,” wrote the 11 organizations, which include the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), National Biodiesel Board (NBB), and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).

The letter is a response to rumors of EPA considering “drastic, unprecedented changes” designed to benefit petroleum refiners in which U.S. biofuel export volumes would count towards compliance with the RFS, on top of EPA’s reduction in the total 2018 RFS renewable fuel blending requirements below the levels required in 2017 and consideration of further reductions to the 2018 RFS volumes.

“President Trump has been a strong and consistent supporter of fuel ethanol generally and the RFS specifically,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “However, recent proposals by EPA appear to run counter to the president’s renewable energy vision.” Click here for Dinneen’s comments on EPA’s consideration of further reductions in the RFS.

In the letter, the groups clarified that they oppose any weakening of the 15 billion gallon conventional biofuel requirement, believe the proposed reduction of the 2018 advanced biofuel requirement is unwarranted and the current treatment of imports and exports under the RFS should be maintained.

ACE, Biodiesel, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, NBB, NCGA, RFA, RFS

Crappie Masters Tourney Educates Boaters on Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

The Crappie Masters Tournament Trail recently ended its 2017 season with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) as co-title sponsor of the event in an effort to educate boaters, conservation enthusiasts and consumers about using ethanol in boats and other marine applications.

The 2017 tournament trail kicked off in January and ran through late September, with 18 events in multiple states, highlighting the boating community’s use of 10% ethanol.

In addition to being a co-title sponsor of the tournament, RFA sponsored one of the teams, Terry Richard and Casey Rayner of Louisiana. “Traveling tournaments, we couldn’t do it without our sponsors,” Richard said after the championship weigh-in on September 23 in Greenville, MS. “We’ve traveled about 14 tournaments this year and there’s good turnout at every tournament.”

Richard says every tournament they used 10 percent ethanol (E10) in their boat. “We have a 56 gallon tank on our boat,” he said. “We’ve put over 1200 gallons of (E-10) fuel in our boat and had zero fuel-related issues with our boat…so if ethanol’s causing that big an issue and I’m running 1200 gallons of fuel through my boat I should have already had an issue.”

RFA plans to continue its co-title sponsorship of the 2018 Crappie Masters Tournament Trail, along with Bass Pro Shops. Other sponsors of the tournament include Missouri Corn Growers and American Ethanol.

RFA Crappie Masters team Terry Richard and Casey Rayner

Crappie Masters National Championship photo album

Audio, Boats, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

It’s Pink at the Pump Month in Iowa

Cindy Zimmerman

Over 30 Iowa E15 retailers are pretty in pink this month, participating in the 2nd annual Pink at the Pump™ campaign to raise funds for breast cancer support services and research while increasing consumer awareness about E15.

“As a breast cancer survivor, I encourage everyone to make a difference in someone’s life by choosing to use E15 and reduce the cancer-causing pollutants in our environment – it’s easy, it’s simple, it can save the life of someone you love,” said Kathy Buckman Gibson, breast cancer survivor and President of Buckman Laboratories International, which provides biofuels plants with technologies and tools to reduce energy and water use.

Participating E15 retailers will donate three cents of every gallon of E15 sold from October 1 through October 31 to National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) and The Hormel Institute.

“During Breast Cancer Awareness Month we often look for ways to help stop this terrible disease,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Managing Director Lucy Norton. “By choosing E15 consumers can fight breast cancer right at the gas pump. Ethanol is the world’s cleanest source of fuel octane. More clean ethanol means less toxic chemicals are needed to boost octane. And what’s better, E15 has an 88 octane rating and is typically priced five to 10 cents less than 87-octane E10.”

Pink at the Pump™ is a joint effort between IRFA and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board in partnership with National Breast Cancer Foundation and The Hormel Institute. For the entire month of October, participating locations will feature pink nozzle guards for E15, pink promotional t-shirts for staff, and many other pink point-of-sale materials.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA

GROWMARK Announces 2018 Essay Contest Theme

carrie muehling

For the past 25 years, GROWMARK has challenged students to think creatively about the future of agriculture and how cooperatives can continue to thrive and contribute to the industry through an annual essay contest.

This year’s 2018 GROWMARK Essay Contest asks students “How can cooperatives demonstrate their value to the next generation of agriculturists?” All high school FFA members in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin can participate.

GROWMARK invites students to submit essays online by November 10, 2017. Winning students in each state receive $500, with the winner’s FFA chapter receiving $300.

Agribusiness, AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, FFA, GROWMARK

Rumors Send RIN Markets Plunging

Cindy Zimmerman

A news report this week that EPA was considering a policy change to count ethanol exports toward Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS) caused their prices to dive on the market. That, on top of EPA’s announcement this week that further cuts in the volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) were being considered, caused some to question the administration’s commitment to biofuels, but others say there is no need to panic, yet.

“This is a town that thrives on rumors,” said Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “But if true, the notion of allowing exported biofuels to qualify towards an oil company’s RFS renewable fuel volume obligation would be a gross misinterpretation of the letter and spirit of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, designed to enhance—not export-U.S. energy security.”

Currently, RINs are not associated with exported U.S. ethanol, and if they were it could add another billion ethanol (D6) RINs annually. The change is reportedly being sought by Valero Energy and other oil interests, including presidential advisor Carl Ichan, who was the basis of the rumor earlier this year that EPA planned to change the point of obligation in favor of refiners, which never happened.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, RFS, RINS

Tri-State Governors Conference Highlights Biofuels

Cindy Zimmerman

There was a big focus on biofuels at the 15th annual Tri-State Governors’ Conference in Sioux City, Iowa this week. The governors of Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota get together for this biannual event to discuss the issues impacting their respective states and the Siouxland region, and since the three states together produce almost half of the nation’s ethanol, that is definitely a big priority for them.

Each of the governors shared initiatives their states are implementing to support the use of ethanol-blended fuels during the conference. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds mentioned a test program for E30 in the Iowa Energy Plan. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, who recently keynoted ACE’s 30th annual conference in Omaha, expressed his optimism in working with the administration and the opportunity the biofuels industry possesses to further grow rural economies. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard mentioned a state bid to bring E30 into the main state fleet fuel locations in Pierre, Brookings and Sioux Falls. He also mentioned that a greenfield ethanol plant, Ringneck Energy, is being constructed in Onida, South Dakota.

Also on the conference program was American Coalition for Ethanol member Pam Miller of Siouxland Ethanol, who thanked the governors for their ethanol industry advocacy through their involvement on the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition and asked for their consideration of a plan to lead a Midwestern-focused E30 demonstration program in which states would receive a waiver from the EPA, which has already been requested, to allow E30 use in non-flex fuel vehicles.

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News