No 2018 Tax Credit for Biodiesel

Cindy Zimmerman

The omnibus spending bill agreed to in Congress to fund the government leaves the biodiesel industry in the lurch again by failing to include a reinstatement of the biodiesel tax credit.

“The lack of urgency by Congress to extend this expired tax credit continues to frustrate the producers, blenders and marketers of biodiesel,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). “We will work to educate members of the economic and environmental benefits of increased use of biodiesel, so that Congress is poised to drive investments in this American energy industry.”

Last month, Congress passed a retroactive extension of the biodiesel tax incentive for 2017 only. But producers continue to operate in 2018 without a tax credit, as they have for the past several years, waiting for a retroactive extension. NBB has engaged in aggressive legislative outreach on this issue, participating in a recent Congressional hearing on the issue and sending multiple letters to Congressional leaders making the case for renewal of the biodiesel tax incentive so the industry can operate with more certainty going forward.

Biodiesel, NBB

Sen. Ernst Visits ACE Ethanol Champions

Cindy Zimmerman

Senator Joni Ernst has earned the title of “ethanol champion” for her work on behalf of the industry to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), but she took the time today to visit with people she thinks are the real champions – the grassroots farmers, producers, retailers and investors who make up the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE).

“You are all out there making a difference,” said Sen. Ernst in her address to ACE members in Washington DC.

Her main remarks centered around the continuing debate over the RFS and Renewable Identification Number prices and her own discussions with Sen. Ted Cruz and others on the idea of a “win-win” solution for both ethanol and refiners. “Their ‘win-win’ is to cap RINs. That’s not a win for us,” said Ernst. “For us the “win-win” is the RVP waiver and going to E-15 year-round….The president thought that was a brilliant idea.”

During an interview, Sen. Ernst says she believes the White House is “backing away” from the RIN cap idea and leaning toward sending the whole issue to Congress to resolve. “We have had a strong coalition in Congress as well that pushes back against any efforts to weaken the RFS,” she said.

Listen to her remarks and my interview below:

Sen. Joni Ernst remarks to ACE

Interview with Sen. Joni Ernst

2018 ACE DC Fly-in Photo Album

ACE, Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Sen. Heitkamp Opposes RIN Price Cap

cindy zimmerman

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) is one of several lawmakers on Capitol Hill who received a visit from a team of American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) members in DC for their annual fly-in, and she was overjoyed to be presented with one of the organization’s special corn kernel cracking display for her office.

Sen. Heitkamp is obviously a friend of ethanol, speaking out this week against the idea of a cap on Renewable Identification Number (RIN) prices. “If the administration takes this action, it would undercut our farmers and biofuel producers at a time we should be bolstering our renewable fuel industry – not sabotaging it,” Heitkamp said. “While I’ve long pushed for the year-round sale of E15 to support biofuels, the artificial RIN cap reportedly being considered by the administration could tank biofuel prices and cost North Dakota jobs. We must keep fighting for our rural communities and farmers, and I urge the administration to reject a RIN price cap.”

Listen to the senator explain why a RIN cap is a bad deal:
Interview with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp

2018 ACE DC Fly-in Photo Album

ACE, AgWired Energy, Audio, Ethanol, Government

ACE Fly-in Takes Off Despite Bad Weather

Cindy Zimmerman

Nearly all of the members registered to attend the 10th annual American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Fly-in are here and ready to hit The Hill in D.C. despite very inclement weather that has shut down the government.

ACE CEO Brian Jennings says this year is the most critical for the industry in all the ten years they have been coming to Washington D.C. to talk ethanol with lawmakers and they have a pretty direct message. “Don’t mess with the RFS, and call the president and call EPA and tell them we do not want any damage done to the RFS,” Jennings said.

He says the whole RIN price issue is so fluid at this point, it is hard to know what is happening from day to day. “It’s a challenge to get ready for an event like this when things are changing so rapidly.”

ACE members already heard this morning from Bill Wehrum, EPA Assistant Administrator for Air & Radiation, who was gracious enough to brave the weather and answer some tough questions.

Listen to my interview with Brian here:
Interview with Brian Jennings, ACE CEO

2018 ACE DC Fly-in Photo Album

ACE, Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Sec. Perdue Comments on RFS and RINS

Cindy Zimmerman

Not much was said publicly during National Ag Day on Tuesday about the continuing RFS/RIN price dispute which is still being discussed at the very highest levels of government. But Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue did give an update during his remarks at the National Press Club Ag Day event.

“We’ve been in fairly intense discussions about the solution,” said Perdue. “The president has been involved in those and his commitment to the corn producers, biodiesel, biofuels industry is still solid.”

However, Perdue says the president has to consider the allegations of job loss in the refinery sector so the challenge is to reduce the Renewable Identification Numbers without hurting the renewable fuel volume,” he said. “We are hoping that we can resolve it where we will not see RINs capped.”

Perdue noted that when the RINs issue first started in October, the RIN price was 98 cents. “They were 38 as of last Friday so the conversation itself has already been helpful in driving RIN prices down.”

Reports were circulating that Perdue was going to meet Tuesday with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to discuss options to present to the president.

Listen to Perdue’s comments on RINs here: Secy Perdue comments on RFS/RIN price issue

2018 National Ag Day Photo Album

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFS, RINS, USDA

Ethanol Helps Celebrate National Ag Day

Cindy Zimmerman

The CEOs of Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) were among the distinguished industry guests who attended the USDA National Agriculture Day Proclamation ceremony Tuesday with remarks from Vice President Mike Pence.

“The United States produces an abundance of food, feed and fuel, benefiting not only our nation, but the entire world,” said Pence in his remarks.

“Growth Energy is pleased to join the chorus of voices thanking America’s farmers for their contributions to our economy on National Agriculture Day,” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said. “There has never been a more important time to reinforce rural America’s role in producing clean energy. Biofuels provide a vital growth market for America’s vast agricultural output.”

“American farmers are the foundation for the renewable fuels industry, producing a robust sustainable feedstock used to create clean, green, homegrown biofuels,” said RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “American farmers are the foundation for the renewable fuels industry, producing a robust sustainable feedstock used to create clean, green, homegrown biofuels.”

Dinneen and Skor both say talks about still on-going with the administration to find a solution to the issue of RIN prices but both say they are just not sure how it will shake out at this point.

2018 National Ag Day Photo Album

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Growth Energy, RFS, RINS

President Proclaims National Ag Day

chuck zimmerman

This morning U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, along with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, presented a proclamation signed by President Trump naming the first day of spring National Ag Day. Cindy was attending and will have more to add later today. The photo is courtesy of @SecretarySonny‘s Twitter account! Also pictured with the proclamation is Spencer Flood, Minnesota FFA.

This year marks the second year that the administration has publicly recognized the first day of spring as National Ag Day as a salute to the contributions of America’s farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses.

In his remarks, Vice President Pence highlighted the critically important role America’s farmers and ranchers play in helping to feed, clothe and fuel not only 326 million people in the United States, but millions of people around the world. He applauded the tremendous output and resourcefulness of today’s farmers and ranchers, noting that one farmer today producers enough to feed 165 people, and that American’s spend far less for food compared to other countries – just 10 percent of their disposable income.

Listen here: /Pence_Ag_Day_Speech_3-20-18.mp3′>Vice President Mike Pence Ag Day Remarks

2018 National Ag Day Photo Album

Watch USDA’s abbreviated video of the proceedings:

Ag Day, AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Audio

Stand Off Over RFS and RIN Prices Continues

Cindy Zimmerman

The stalemate continues in Washington D.C. over what, if anything, should be done to lower Renewable Identification Number (RIN) prices designed to help oil refiners comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Late last week, Midwest Republican senators requested a meeting with President Trump as rumors continued to circulate that the administration might take action to cap RIN prices. And members of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) are heading to the Hill this week to discuss the issue with lawmakers, including Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) who will address the group on Thursday.

Speaking to members of the National Grain and Feed Association meeting in Arizona Monday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he has been working with “the corn producers, the Renewable Fuels Association, all the biodiesel people about what are some creative ideas we can do to help the president resolve this issue.” Perdue added that “we have to be careful we don’t do anything to create demand destruction for ethanol.”

The National Corn Growers Association has been running a major advertising campaign in the nation’s capital with the theme “Mr. President: Don’t Cap Our Future.” The effort, which has now been underway for more than a week, targets the White House, Congress, government Departments and Agencies and politically active individuals in and around Capitol Hill.

ACE, Biodiesel, Ethanol, Ethanol News, NCGA, RFA, RFS, RINS

RFA and Paul Jr. Designing Custom Ethanol Bike

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has enlisted the talent of Paul Jr. Designs to develop a signature ethanol-powered motorcycle that will be featured on the return of AMERICAN CHOPPER to Discovery Channel this year.

After a six-year hiatus from reality TV, Paul Teutul, Jr. and his legendary team of motorcycle craftsmen are returning to Discovery Channel with the premiere of AMERICAN CHOPPER on May 27 and RFA’s signature, themed chopper that runs on ethanol will be part of the show.

“RFA has been fighting the misinformation campaign surrounding ethanol in motorcycles for years, and this is our next step,” said RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White. “Partnering with Paul Jr. Designs allowed us to create a unique tool to further carry our message and ensure that the quality of the design and build is unmatched. Combined with the global brand and broadcast power of American Chopper, our message will be loud and clear.”

Discovery Channel crews will film the unveiling of RFA’s signature build on Saturday, March 24 at East Kansas Agri-Energy (EKAE), an RFA member ethanol plant in Garnett, Kan. RFA expects to draw a large crowd for the 3pm CT reveal, which is open to the public. Motorcycle parking is allowed at the EKAE plant; other vehicle parking is available at Anderson County High School with free event shuttles running 1-2:30pm CT. Attendees will be required to check-in upon arrival and are asked to not wear logos.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Motorcycle, RFA

Upcoming Ethanol Emergency Response Webinars

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and TRANSCAER® have three more ethanol safety webinars coming up this year for ethanol emergency response teams.

The “Train the Trainer” webinars are funded through a Federal Railroad Administration / TRANSCAER® grant and designed as a “pay-it-forward” program so that a single webinar can train a group of individuals, who can then turn around and pass that information forward, equipping entire communities with the knowledge necessary to respond to any potential ethanol-related emergency.

The webinar, led by national hazardous materials trainer Joel Hendelman, is 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 is intended to develop instructors to lead operations-level training.

The next webinars are scheduled for March 28, May 23, and July 25 and will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 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.

For more information or to register, visit

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, safety