New Nebraska Ethanol Board Member

Cindy Zimmerman

Scott McPheeters has officially joined the Nebraska Ethanol Board as the business representative, appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts last month and sworn in by the state legislature last week.

McPheeters has a family farm operation southwest of Gothenburg, producing food-grade white and yellow corn for Frito-Lay, as well as soybeans and alfalfa hay. His family also has rangeland for beef production. While little of his corn crop actually ends up in ethanol production, he is still passionate about promoting renewable fuels.

“I’m looking forward to working with a board that has been so effective at helping our state build 25 ethanol plants and increasing knowledge and promotion of ethanol use, because it is a win for all parties,” McPheeters said. “It’s good for farmers, livestock producers, consumers, and the environment.”

McPheeters is a founding member of KAAPA (Kearney Area Ag Producers Alliance) and has been involved in ethanol since 2000. Currently, he serves on the KAAPA board of managers and was also recently elected to the American Coalition for Ethanol board of directors.

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News

NFU Honors Merle Anderson

Cindy Zimmerman

Merle Anderson at 2016 American Coalition for Ethanol meeting

Ethanol industry pioneer Merle Anderson was one of three individuals honored this week with the National Farmers Union (NFU) Meritorious Service Award for outstanding leadership and service to family agriculture.

Anderson is Chairman Emeritus of the board of directors for the American Coalition for Ethanol, which he co-founded in 1977. Known as the “Father of Ethanol”, Anderson grew up on his family’s farm in Polk County, Minnesota, where he helped his father grow potatoes before taking over the operation himself. At the age of 95 he still makes it to the annual ACE meetings whenever possible.

NFU honored Anderson as one who has “gone above and beyond to ensure that success and the well-being of family farmers, ranchers and rural communities.” Congratulations for a well-deserved honor!

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News, NFU

Governors Ask Trump to Support Biofuels

Cindy Zimmerman

The Governors’ Biofuels Coalition sent a letter to President Trump Monday asking him to support efforts to expand biofuel production and to help the states “harvest its economic and environmental benefits.”

“We write on behalf of governors from states across the nation who believe that two of America’s great treasures are agriculture and renewable fuels,” the governors wrote. The letter is signed by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, and South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard.

Specifically, the governors are asking the president to direct EPA to remove barriers to the use of higher ethanol blends, enforce the Renewable Fuel Standard as approved by Congress, revise outdated biofuels’ lifecycle carbon findings to accurately reflect environmental benefits, and “correct the motor vehicle emission model’s (MOVES) mistaken conclusions about ethanol’s contribution to air pollution.”

The governors also wrote to President Trump shortly after he was elected.

Ethanol, Ethanol News

ACE Adds New Communications Director

Cindy Zimmerman

Former bioenergy magazine editor Katie Fletcher has joined the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) staff as Communications Director. Fletcher has been a writer for Ethanol Producer Magazine and Biomass Magazine and editor for Pellet Mill Magazine.

“We are excited that Katie Fletcher is bringing her exceptional communication skills, experience in agriculture and biofuels, and enthusiasm for ethanol to the ACE team,” ACE Executive Vice President Brian Jennings said. “Katie is going to develop a stronger and more recognized communications strategy for ACE and our membership.”

Fletcher grew up on the farm of a North Dakota corn grower and holds a Bachelor of Arts in both Communications and Political Science from the University of North Dakota.

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News

#Classic17 Features #Propane Power

Cindy Zimmerman

Propane power was on display at the Commodity Classic in many forms. We had the opportunity to walk through what’s new in propane with Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) director of agriculture business development Cinch Munson. Watch the video below and listen to the interview to learn more about propane autogas use on the farm, the new Quick-Connect Nozzle, the changes in the Farm Incentive Program.

Learn more in this interview and the video below: Interview with Cinch Munson, Propane Education and Research

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Enogen Corn Footprint Growing

Cindy Zimmerman

Recently appointed head of Syngenta Enogen Ron Wulfkuhle was at the recent National Ethanol Conference to talk about his new job and the increasing footprint of Enogen corn.

Wulfkuhle, who was formally head of GreenLeaf Genetics, says he jumped at the chance to step into this role at the end of last year. “It’s a really cool place to be in the market because it’s where seed actually comes together with technology, comes together with ethanol,” he said. “We’re creating a market that didn’t exist before.”

Syngenta announced earlier this year that it has reached agreements with ethanol plants from Arizona to Ohio with a combined total capacity of nearly 2 billion gallons. “We’re up to about 24 plants that are using Enogen,” said Wulfkuhle. He adds that Enogen is gaining in popularity because of the value it delivers and the opportunity it provides corn growers to be enzyme suppliers for their participating local ethanol plants.

Learn more in this interview: Interview with Ron Wulfkuhle, Syngenta Enogen

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ACE DC Fly-in During Ag Week

Cindy Zimmerman

fly-in-2017The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is holding its annual Washington, DC fly-in March 22-23 during National Ag Week – the first week of spring.

ACE Director of Strategic Projects Shannon Gustafson says there will be lots going on in the nation’s capitol that week so it is a great time for ethanol supporters to be there. “We are trying to coordinate our messages with some of the other groups that are going to be out there,” said Gustafson. National Ag Day activities are being held on March 21.

This is the 9th annual fly-in and coming during the first 100 days of the Trump presidency gives ethanol advocates a timely opportunity to discuss maintaining the Renewable Fuel Standard and expanding market opportunities for higher ethanol blends. “It gives our members an opportunities to share their stories,” said Gustafson who was at the Commodity Classic last week encouraging farmers to attend. “Even if it’s last minute, we’re happy to have you.”

Click to get registration and hotel information and listen to my interview with Shannon from Classic here: Interview with Shannon Gustafson, ACE

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Bipartisan Bill Would Allow E15 Sales All Year

Cindy Zimmerman

U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) this week introduced legislation that would extend the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to ethanol blends above 10 percent, which would allow retailers across the country to sell E15 and other higher ethanol blends all year.

“It would also ensure a fair playing field for higher ethanol blends, expanding fuel choices and strengthening our energy diversity,” Fischer said.

“Biofuels give consumers more options and reduce fuel prices at the gas pump,” said Donnelly. I am proud to join my colleague Senator Fischer, along with Senator Grassley, in a bipartisan effort to eliminate the senseless restriction on ethanol producers and consumers,”

“The EPA has never acted on its authority to grant a Reid vapor pressure waiver for E15,” added Grassley. “This bill proposes a legislative fix to fill the void.”

Extending the RVP waiver is a top priority for the ethanol industry.

Ethanol, Ethanol News

RFA CEO Speaks Out

Cindy Zimmerman

After sending the ethanol industry into an uproar this week over his talks with a Trump administration adviser about potential changes to the point of obligation under the RFS, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen visited the Commodity Classic in San Antonio to talk about the issue.

“We remain opposed to changing the point of obligation because we are concerned that it would undermine the integrity of the program by creating a compliance mechanism that is unworkable, or that in a transition there would be disruption in the marketplace that would hurt the industry,” said Dinneen. “If – and only if – those two concerns can be addressed, we’d be okay with moving the point of obligation.”

If the industry is at the same time able to secure additional opportunities for ethanol, Dinneen says “it would be malpractice not to pursue those opportunities.” In addition, Dinneen says there could be an opportunity to require the EPA to revisit carbon profile modeling to reflect benefits of corn ethanol.

Dinneen says he has been discouraged by the way some in the industry have reacted this week without all the facts. “I believe that once the industry fully appreciates what these discussions have been about and understand the narrow parameters we’re talking about that people will appreciate the value it presents,” he said.

Dinneen explains more in this interview and will also talk about the issue on Agri-Talk Friday. Interview with Bob Dinneen at Commodity Classic

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#Ethanol Controversy Talk at #Classic17

Cindy Zimmerman

The controversy that erupted this week within the ethanol industry over alleged backroom deals with the Trump administration to change the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has generated a lot of discussion this week at the annual Commodity Classic in San Antonio. The event is the annual meeting for thousands of corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum farmers from around the country.

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) president Wesley Spurlock of Texas says they are talking with all sides about the issue which has pitted ethanol organizations that corn growers support against each other. “I think we set and watch and let cooler minds prevail,” said Spurlock.

Maintaining the RFS remains a top priority for NCGA, as is getting EPA to waive the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) requirement to allow the year round use of ethanol blends higher than 10 percent in all markets, but the organization has never taken a stand on the point of obligation change that was requested by oil refiners. “We know that there is a definite monetary value if we get the RVP fixed,” said NCGA first vice president Kevin Skunes of North Dakota. “We don’t have enough information now to take a stand on the point of obligation.”

NCGA CEO Chris Novak says they want to look at what impact changing the point of obligation might have. “That may change (retailers’) incentive for offer higher blends,” he said.

Listen to comments about the issue during a Commodity Classic press conference: NCGA press conference - ethanol

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