USDA Sees Increased Corn Use for Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

USDA’s February World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report shows an increase in corn use for ethanol this marketing year.

This month’s 2016/17 U.S. corn outlook is for increased food, seed and industrial (FSI) use and reduced stocks. Corn used to produce ethanol is raised 25 million bushels to 5,350 million based on the most recent data from the Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report, and strong pace of weekly ethanol production during January as indicated by Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. Non-ethanol FSI is raised 10 million bushels. Corn ending stocks are lowered 35 million bushels from last month. The projected range for the season-average corn price received by producers is narrowed 10 cents on each end to $3.20 to $3.60 per bushel, with the midpoint unchanged at $3.40.

The crushings and co-products report released last week showed corn for ethanol production in December 2016 was up six percent from both the previous month and the previous year. Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 2.10 million tons during December 2016, up 5 percent from November 2016 and up 8 percent from December 2015.

corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, USDA

#Ethanol Report on Export Picture

Cindy Zimmerman

ethanol-report-adEthanol exports are in the news this week. First we heard about record net ethanol exports for 2016 in a new report from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), followed quickly by an industry letter to President Trump drawing attention to China’s trade barriers that are shutting out U.S. exports of ethanol and distillers feed co-products.

In this Ethanol Report, RFA CEO Bob Dinneen talks about the export situation for the industry and how the upcoming National Ethanol Conference will be focused on growing markets. Ethanol Report on Exports

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Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, Exports, RFA

Trump Urged to Address China #Ethanol Trade Barriers

Cindy Zimmerman

Ethanol and grain trade organizations are urging President Donald Trump to put America first and address “China’s recent implementation of protectionist trade barriers that are shutting out U.S. exports of ethanol and distillers dried grains (DDGS).”

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy sent a letter to the president this week calling his attention to China’s recent imposition of anti-dumping duties and tariffs on U.S. ethanol and distillers feed co-products, which have had a negative impact on prices for both. “It is widely believed that raising these tariffs will put an immediate end to ethanol exports to China, erasing the significant progress our industry made in developing that market over the past several years,” wrote the groups to Trump. “[W]e respectfully ask that reform of these punitive ethanol tariff rates be included in any potential upcoming trade negotiations with China.”

China has grown to be a top export market for both U.S. DDGS and ethanol, accounting for over half of total U.S. DDGS exports in 2015, and ranking as U.S. ethanol industry’s third-largest export market at the end of 2016. Ethanol prices have fallen 15 percent since mid-December 2016 while DDGS prices are currently approximately 40 percent lower than in June 2016.

Distillers Grains, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, RFA, USGC

#Ethanol Exports Top One Billion Gallons in 2016

Cindy Zimmerman

Net U.S. ethanol exports topped a billion gallons last year to set a new record, according to a summary of 2016 ethanol trade just published by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

Net ethanol exports totaled 1.01 billion gallons in 2016, while gross U.S. ethanol exports totaled 1.05 billion gallons, second only to 2011’s record of 1.19 billion gallons. U.S. ethanol exports were valued at $2.02 billion in 2016, up 13 percent from 2015 and the third-highest on record.

Meanwhile, ethanol imports were only 34 million gallons last year, the lowest since 2010. Brazil was the leading destination for U.S. ethanol exports, followed by Canada and China. Together, the three countries accounted for 68 percent of total ethanol exports.

“Our industry produced 15.2 billion gallons of ethanol last year, and while we continue to meet our domestic needs, ethanol exports are essential for future growth,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Just a few years ago, the U.S. was a net importer of Brazilian ethanol, but as U.S. producers have become more efficient and world sugar prices have risen, Brazil is now the top recipient of our domestic product.”

Printed copies of the analysis will available to attendees at the upcoming National Ethanol Conference, Feb. 20–22 in San Diego. The conference will also serve as host to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program (IBP).

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, RFA

NBB Names New Chief Operating Officer

Cindy Zimmerman

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) has promoted Doug Whitehead to Chief Operating Officer, after 10 years in various roles with the organization, most recently as the Director of Operations and Membership.

“Doug has admirably served the biodiesel industry in his various roles at NBB over the years and his experience and expertise in operations, membership, strategic thinking, and management uniquely position us to continue our growth as an organization and as an industry,” said NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen. “His deep understanding of the day-to-day operations of the organization allow us to continue serving our members in a highly effective, efficient way as a member association.”

As Director of Operations and Membership, Whitehead managed the planning, implementation, administration, and reporting of all contracts for funding and subcontracting. He was also responsible for recruiting new members to the organization and served as the main point of contact for current members.

Whitehead is a native of Jefferson City, Missouri and a graduate of the Professional School of Architecture at Kansas State University. Prior to his time with NBB, he was a business development and management consultant where he worked with a wide range of non-profit and for-profit organizations, and he spent 15 years on the Jefferson City Public Schools board of education, serving as president of the Missouri School Board’s Association in 2014/2015.

Biodiesel, NBB

Former White House Spokesman to Speak at #RFANEC

Cindy Zimmerman

Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer will provide a heaping helping of political analysis for lunch at the 22nd annual National Ethanol Conference, Feb. 20–22 in San Diego.

From 2001 to 2003, Fleischer was the primary spokesperson for President George W. Bush. He previously served as the Bush campaign spokesman in 1999 and 2000. In his almost four years working for George W. Bush, he served as spokesman during the historic presidential recount, September 11th, two wars and the anthrax attack. Now president of his own firm, Ari Fleischer Communications Inc., he offers advice to clients in the corporate and sports worlds on how to handle the press. He is a frequent guest commentator on many of the leading political and news shows.

Fleischer will be the featured luncheon speaker on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at the National Ethanol Conference.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, National Ethanol Conference, RFA

Confirmations Continue to Crawl Along

Cindy Zimmerman

Confirmation hearings for Trump administration cabinet members have been moving slowly, so it may be toward the end of February before Sonny Perdue is confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture, but he has been meeting with lawmakers in the meantime.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) “had a good conversation” with the former governor of Georgia last week where they discussed “regional differences in agriculture” and the importance of sound policies. “I am confident that Governor Perdue’s experience and unique perspective will prepare him well to take on the critical role of leading the USDA,” said Fischer.

You might be wondering just who’s minding the USDA during this transition time. According to a USDA memo, various career department staffers were named by outgoing Secretary Tom Vilsack to perform critical duties in the transition period. No acting secretary was named but Michael Young (Director of the Office of Budget and Program Analysis) has the title of acting Deputy Secretary of Agriculture so is the de facto head of the department without cabinet status. Michael Scuse, who was named acting secretary for the week between Vilsack leaving and the inauguration, was just confirmed as Delaware Secretary of Agriculture last week.

Working on the transition is Dr. Sam Clovis, a political science professor and talk show host from Iowa who was named Senior White House Advisor for USDA.

Government, USDA

Four Ethanol Safety Webinars Scheduled

Cindy Zimmerman

Four free ethanol safety webinars are scheduled this year for ethanol emergency response teams and the first is being held tomorrow, February 7. The Renewable Fuels Association and TRANSCAER® are hosting the “Train the Trainer” webinars, funded through a Federal Railroad Administration / TRANSCAER® grant. RFA is a founding member of the Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition (EERC) and this program is based on the EERC’s Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response.

These webinar courses are intended to develop instructors to lead operations-level training. The webinars, led by national hazardous materials trainer Joel Hendelman, are open to all professional individuals above the technical level of training who are interested in learning how to teach ethanol emergency response. These professional individuals must also have an awareness level of hazardous material storage, handing and emergency response. The webinar courses are intended to develop instructors to lead operations-level training.

Future webinars will be held April 11, June 14 and Aug. 2. All four webinars will be held from noon to 2 p.m. ET. Registration is free, but is limited to the first 100 attendees per webinar. Certificates of attendance will be awarded following the completion of the safety seminar.

Register at

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, safety, transportation

Lower Corn Prices Encouraging Ethanol Production

Cindy Zimmerman

University of Illinois agricultural economist Gary Schnitkey gave an update on the farm economy at the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau annual meeting last week, and the news overall was bleak.

“We’re seeing deteriorating financial conditions on many farms and we’re likely to continue to see that as long as we have corn prices below four dollars a bushel,” said Schnitkey.

However, those lower corn prices are helping to increase ethanol production, even as market growth in the United States is slowing. “We’ve had increasing petroleum prices and pretty low corn prices so that does make the margins of ethanol production pretty good right now,” said Schnitkey, who expects much of the increased production to head to the export market.

Learn more in this interview: Interview with Gary Schnitkey, Univ. of Ill

2017 CIRB Annual Meeting photo album

Audio, corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News

PERC Launches Autogas Newsletter

Cindy Zimmerman

The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is launching a new quarterly e-newsletter this month for transportation professionals interested in propane autogas.

“We know how busy transportation professionals are every day, so we’re going to take only the most important must-have news and information, and package it in an easy-to-consume format every quarter,” said Michael Taylor, director of autogas business development for PERC. “The Autogas Refuel will provide thoughtful material relevant to fleet owners and managers, whether they currently have propane autogas vehicles in their fleet or if they’re just now considering transitioning their vehicles.”

The e-newsletter will include propane autogas success stories; research and white papers from PERC and industry partners; new technology for propane autogas fleets; and more. The first issue of The Autogas Refuel is scheduled to be delivered Feb. 21. Sign up at

PERC, Propane