A Few Minutes with ‘The Father of Ethanol’

Joanna Schroeder

Two dear friends: Merle Anderson with Shirley Ball, EPAC

Two dear friends: Merle Anderson with Shirley Ball, EPAC

“I thought it would take one-and-a-half years to get things done but now its been 22 years for me,” said Merle Anderson during our conversation at the 22nd Ethanol Conference & Trade Show. Merle is often known as ‘the father of ethanol,’ and with good reason. He helped to start the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) in 1977. As a farmer, he was involved in all the commodity groups and this gave him the idea to start an organization to promote agriculture.

“When you look back at it, I think we’ve done well. We’ve done some really good things,” said Anderson. “I think we’ve helped farmers an awful lot. I think we’ve done what’s right for America. When you talk about the transfer of wealth, I think we’ve helped a little bit –could of and should have done more. And I always have an interest in supporting our troops.”

Wealth distribution, our money going to terrorist countries, is one of the biggest reasons why we need to get off of oil. That has to change says Anderson, and he even has a way to do it, and quickly. “Have the auto industry stand up and admit that their vehicles will operate successfully on higher blends.”

Speaking of higher blends, it’s the answer to the problem of too much production and not enough demand. “We’ve been successful in creating production. We haven’t worried enough about selling the product, and we have got to solve this if the industry is going to move forward.”

That’s why ACE, in conjunction with the Renewable Fuels Association, and the National Corn Growers Association has announced a program to install 5,000 blender pumps in the next three years. The program is called BYOethanol. Anderson helped to get the first blender pumps installed in his region in Climax, Minn. and he knows that “higher blends is the answer to our problems.”

You can see photos from the conference in our Flicker photo album.

ACE, conferences, Ethanol, Ethanol News