Growth Energy held a series of roundtable discussions on the ethanol industry during an Executive Leadership Conference this week in Phoenix.
The conference kicked off on Monday with a discussion on the national security implications of continuing America’s dependence on foreign oil. The panel featured Gen. Wesley Clark, Co-Chairman of Growth Energy, and Dr. Gal Luft, Executive Director for the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.
“Today, oil is the most strategic commodity in the world and it controls the world’s economy,” said Dr. Luft. “If we want to preserve the future of this country we need to give consumers a choice at the filling station. Giving consumers a choice means that oil can no longer control prices and we will begin to grow a competitive market for ethanol.”
The final discussion on Tuesday included a detailed presentation about the future market outlook for grain, ethanol and distillers from industry experts, including Randy Ives, Senior Vice President of Distillers Grains, Hawkeye Gold, LLC; Tom Dorr, President and CEO of U.S. Grains Council; and Bob Casper, President of POET Ethanol Products.
Dorr noted the important role that international trade plays in the ethanol industry. “As producers build out their industry they have to expand their focus to incorporate international trade policies,” Dorr said. “These policies are not easy but there are huge opportunities just waiting to be tapped.”
Ives said the industry needs to continue promoting and educating the public about the value of DDGs. “Distillers grains are not just a byproduct, they are a co-product and we need to start running our businesses under that assumption,” he said.
The goal of Growth Energy’s Executive Leadership Conference was to bring members together to assess the organization and the state of the ethanol industry.