Weather Causes Early End to FPS18 Day One

cindy zimmerman

There’s always something new at Farm Progress Show and this year a big storm caused something that has never happened before – an evacuation and shut down of the show before noon.

Rain had been in the forecast for the day, but everyone was hoping it would either miss us or not be too bad. However, when the storm was within minutes of hitting, reports of hail, strong winds, and lightning in the area forced organizers to shut everything down and and try the get people out as quickly and safely as possible. Unfortunately, the downpour created muddy conditions in the parking areas almost immediately and dozens of vehicles become stuck in the mud, which made leaving a lot more difficult.

Day two is like day one all over again, since everyone is now a half day behind and struggling to reschedule activities scheduled for yesterday afternoon, plus we have Secretary Sonny on the grounds starting at noon.

Watch this video from the Bayer tent as Pam Fretwell was moderating the farmer panel and got the word to tell everyone to evacuate.

2018 Farm Progress Show Photo Album

Content Creation at the Farm Progress Show brought to you by Farm Progress Show content creation courtesy of John DeereCoverage of the Farm Progress Show is sponsored by GrowmarkCoverage of the Farm Progress Show is sponsored by Bayer CropScience
AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Bayer, Farm Progress Show, Video, Weather

Iowa RFA Hosts 10th Annual Biofuels Tour

Cindy Zimmerman

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) recently hosted the 10th Annual Biofuels: Science and Sustainability Tour, taking nearly 40 participants representing members of Congress from around the country on a biofuels journey through the state, including visits to an ethanol plant, biodiesel plant, family farm, soybean crush facility, and an Iowa fuel retailer.

The tour began at the Iowa State Fair with an address from Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig on the importance of renewable fuels and agriculture to the state.

Tour attendees visited Renewable Energy Group’s (REG) newly-expanded biodiesel plant in Ralston and toured the LANDUS Cooperative soybean crush facility next door which supplies the soybean oil REG uses to make biodiesel at the Ralston plant.

The group also heard from National Biodiesel Board Director of Public Affairs and Federal Communications Paul Winters, who discussed federal policies relating to the biodiesel industry – including the biodiesel blenders tax credit and the RFS.

Renewable Fuels Association Executive Vice President Geoff Cooper gave a presentation on how ethanol as a source of fuel octane during a visit to Little Sioux Corn Processors, a 165 million-gallon-a-year ethanol plant in Marcus. Attendees learned about how conventional ethanol is made from corn starch as well as how the plant produces cellulosic ethanol from corn kernel fiber. The tour also included information about ethanol co-products dried distillers grains (DDGs) – a high-protein animal feed – and corn oil, which can be used to produce biodiesel.

IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw concluded the tour with a presentation on the importance of ethanol to rural economies in the state and the need for a stable Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as well as year-round sales of E15.

Read a full recap of the tour from Iowa RFA.

Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA, NBB

Senators Ask EPA to Increase Biodiesel Volumes

Cindy Zimmerman

A bipartisan group of nearly 40 U.S. Senators led by Patty Murray (D-WA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have sent a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase volume obligations for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuel and ensure any small refiner economic hardship exemptions are appropriately accounted for in its final rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The EPA’s June 2018 proposal would raise the biomass-based diesel volume for 2020 to 2.43 billion gallons and increase the advanced biofuel volume for 2019 to 4.88 billion gallons.

“While these proposed increases are encouraging, these volumes continue to underestimate the existing potential of the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries in our states,” the senators wrote. “We believe the biodiesel industry can do more and that EPA should demonstrate more confidence in the RFS program’s ability to drive growth. Increasing biomass-based diesel and advance biofuel volumes would encourage investment in capacity and new fuel development. Further, EPA must accurately account for small refiner economic hardship exemptions in the final rule. … It is critical that EPA appropriately account for any small refiner economic hardship exemptions that it reasonably expects to grant during the 2019 compliance year in the final rule, or EPA will not be able to fulfill its duty to ensure RVOs are met.”

Read the letter.

National Biodiesel Board vice president of federal affairs Kurt Kovarik thanked the senators for their support and particularly calling for EPA to account for small refiner hardship exemptions.

“NBB estimates that the exemptions granted by EPA for 2016 and 2017 reduced demand for biodiesel and renewable diesel by about 300 million gallons,” said Kovarik. “That lost demand is equal to or greater than the annual production of some of the nation’s top biodiesel producing states, including Washington, Missouri, North Dakota and Iowa. The volumes that EPA sets are meaningless if the agency does not ensure they are met at the end of the year.”

Biodiesel, EPA, NBB

ACE Conference Looks at Future Fuels

Carrie Muehling

Ethanol continues to prove its value based on high octane and low carbon qualities, and has a potential role to play regarding new fuel economy and emissions standards proposals from the Environmental Protection Agency.

That was the message during a panel with Marty Ruikka of The ProExporter Network and John Eichberger of the Fuels Institute during the 2018 American Coalition for Ethanol Conference in Minneapolis, Minn.

“U.S. corn yield increases two bushels per acre per year, a 90-million-acre yield increase equals 470 million gallons ethanol,” Ruikka said. “Alongside this rapid rate increase, ethanol exports are continuing to grow and ethanol production capacity. The industry needs to continue to make sure there are new markets available for the increase.”

Panelists also shared thoughts regarding future demand for liquid fuels and electricity in the United States.

“Liquid fuels remain the lifeblood of the market, more than 90 percent of vehicles on U.S. roads in 2035 will run primarily on liquid fuels,” Eichberger said. “Demand will decline over time with improved efficiency, electrification, etc. but there is the potential to leverage high octane fuel for greater efficiency, presenting possible opportunities for ethanol.”

Listen to the “Future Fuels” panel here: ACE18 Future Fuels panel

2018 ACE Conference Photo Album

ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, Ethanol

Getting Ethanol ‘Up to Spec’

Carrie Muehling

Fuel quality and ensuring the safe arrival of ethanol to its destination were among topics on the program during the first session of the 31st annual American Coalition for Ethanol conference in Minneapolis.

Kristy Moore of KMoore Consulting led a panel called “Up to Spec,” looking at international fuel specifications and how American ethanol could further penetrate global ethanol markets.

“Looking globally, where can ethanol make a difference? Where are there regulatory markets?” asked Moore. “Where are there economic advantages?”

Moore pointed out that while introducing ethanol to global fuel markets is a top priority for the industry, it needs to be a continued focus for ethanol producers and stakeholders.

Listen to Moore’s entire presentation here: ACE18 Kristy Moore, KMoore Consulting

2018 ACE Conference Photo Album

ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, Ethanol

Export Panel at #ACEconf18 Explores Tariff Wars

Cindy Zimmerman

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) interim CEO Jon Doggett and CHS Director of Global Trading Max Thomasson explored the impact of current trade negotiations and tariff wars on the global market for corn and ethanol during a panel at last week’s American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) conference in Minneapolis.

Doggett drove home the point that if it was President Clinton in the White House rather than Donald Trump, people might be viewing the trade decisions made over the past 18 months differently. “We can’t let people have a bye just because they have an R after their name,” said Doggett. “If Hillary Clinton had done all that, we’d be talking that I word right now.”

Thomasson talked about how global demand for U.S. ethanol continues to grow, driven by mandates, and will continue to grow. “Consumption for the first time in a while is outpacing production, which is a good thing,” said Thomasson.

Listen to comments from both here:
ACE18 Exports panel

In this interview, Doggett talks about the trade situation, as well as his thoughts on Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and what it will take to please oil refiners so E15 can be approved year round.
Interview with Jon Doggett, NCGA

2018 ACE Conference Photo Album

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, NCGA

Biodiesel Board Hires Communications Manager

Cindy Zimmerman

The National Biodiesel Board welcomes new Communications Manager Samantha Turner to the staff this week. Turner comes to NBB from Monsanto, where she served as their Food and Nutrition Engagement Communications Manager. In her new role, Turner is responsible for the development of communication strategies for the team and plans to support the industry through content enhancing the biodiesel narrative.

Turner grew up on her family’s fourth generation row crop farm in Norborne, Missouri and earned her bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Education and her master’s degree in Agricultural Leadership, Communication and Education from the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Samantha has previously worked for several agriculture and membership organizations including the Missouri Soybean Association, Missouri Farm Bureau, Osborn Barr, and the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

Biodiesel, NBB

Retailers Winning With Ethanol at the Pump

Cindy Zimmerman

Retailers Glenn Badenhop and Bob O’Connor on panel with Ron Lamberty, ACE

The retailer panel is always a popular one for attendees at the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) conference to learn more about how their product is being marketed to consumers at the pump. This year, members of the ACE Marketer Advisory Panel (MAP) discussed what is working and what is not, as well as the question of how to brand higher blends, during the panel moderated by senior vice president Ron Lamberty.

American Freedom Energy owner Glenn Badenhop and JETZ Convenience Center owner Bob O’Connor shared their experiences and ideas about what ways the ethanol industry can help retailers and how they view the future of biofuels. Listen to the panel here: ACE18 Retailers panel

During the panel, Lamberty presented O’Connor with the Paul Dana Marketing Vision award. The award is presented to a company that has exhibited leadership in ethanol marketing. “I’ve been a fuel retailer my entire life, pumping gas from the age of six, and there’s been a lot of bad press put out there about ethanol,” O’Connor said. “Years ago, I was convinced of that bad press, but when I did my due diligence and started to engage with the product, I found out I was wrong. Because of this industry’s efforts, I’m now on this stage as an advocate for your brand.”

Bob O’Connor, Jetz, winner of 2018 Paul Dana marketing award –
Interview with Bob O'Connor, Jetz

Ron Lamberty discussed how ACE is helping retailers market higher blends during his address to the conference. Listen to that here –
ACE18 remarks from Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior VP

2018 ACE Conference Photo Album

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, E15, E85, Ethanol, Retailers

NFU and Urban Air Initiative Join to Expand Biofuels Use

Cindy Zimmerman

National Farmers Union, Farmers Union Enterprises and the Urban Air Initiative have announced the formation of a new alliance to expand the use of American-grown biofuels.

The three groups intend to pursue a broad spectrum of advocacy and advertising activities in furtherance of social, regulatory and legislative solutions to current barriers that limit the amount of biofuels used in the nation’s transportation sector.

“Protecting the public health and welfare—and at the same time improving the rural economy and benefiting family farmers, is a win-win for America,” said NFU president Roger Johnson.

Urban Air Initiative Director Trevor Hinz noted that the vast body of best available science proves renewable ethanol’s superior octane properties substantially reduce the most harmful mobile source air toxics (MSATs), the predominant source of which are benzene-based aromatics that refiners synthesize from crude oil. Hinz cited the mandatory provision in the Clean Air Act that requires EPA/OTAQ to reduce MSATs to the “greatest extent achievable…as technologies present themselves.”

Farmers Union Enterprises President Doug Sombke adds that the recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT/NHTSA) proposed rule requesting input on whether and how U.S. regulatory policy should require higher quality, cleaner burning fuels such as E30 provides a great opportunity to expand the use of cleaner, higher octane fuels.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, NFU, Urban Air Initiative

ACE Awards for Grassroots and Media

Cindy Zimmerman

Brownfield’s Ken Anderson receives ACE Media Excellence award from Katie Fletcher

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) honored two special individuals for their work in helping to advocate for ethanol during the 31st annual conference last week in Minneapolis.

Brownfield Ag News reporter Ken Anderson received the Media Excellence award for his work in covering news and issues important to the U.S. ethanol industry. Presenting the award, ACE Communications Director Katie Fletcher said Anderson, who grew up on a South Dakota farm, “epitomizes objective news reporting, and covers the policy, markets, events and issues that the ethanol and agricultural industries need to know.” For his part, Anderson said while he is an objective reporter, he has to admit that he sincerely loves ethanol.

Dale Tolifson, CVEC, receives ACE Grassroots award from Liz Bunkers

Minnesota farmer and Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company board member Dale Tolifson was presented with the Grassroots Leadership Award for his efforts to cultivate interest in higher ethanol blends in both their community and throughout the country.

Tolifson regularly attends ACE Washington, D.C. fly-ins where he sits down with the friends and foes of ethanol to share his story and has also dedicated almost 10 years to serving on the ACE board of directors representing the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and CVEC.

Listen to my interview with Tolifson here –
ACE18 Interview with Dale Tolifson, CVEC

Find audio of presentations, interviews, photos and video from the annual meeting on the ACE Conference virtual newsroom.

2018 ACE Conference Photo Album

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, Ethanol