This week, NCGA helped attendees of an Ethanol Industry 101 workshop explore the history of national politics as they relate to ethanol. This session, which covered political discourse from the initial development of the first Renewable Fuel Standard through the expiration of the blender tax credit, provided attendees with the background necessary to fully grasp the impact of Washington politics on the ethanol industry.
The panel leading “Ethanol in Washington: The Policies and Players that Created the Road to Commercialization” included NCGA Director of Biofuels Pam Keck. Keck brought the corn farmer’s perspective on ethanol to the table, from the history and basic composition of corn plus a simple backgrounder on corn production to an in-depth look at production projections, and helping explain the grower perspective on ethanol-related legislation and politics.
”My presentation addressed the basics that someone entering the ethanol industry without previous experience in corn would need to work productively with the farmers who supply their main feedstock,” said Keck. “The attendees appreciated this approach. By explaining something as simple as the difference between sweet and feed corn, we can cultivate better communications.”
In this section, Keck covered a variety of topics including the RFS, food and fuel, and livestock issues. Her explanation focused on the specific areas where the situations faced by corn farmers also affect the ethanol industry, thus showing the many areas where the groups’ interests overlap thus creating important opportunities for cooperation.
In addition to Keck, American Coalition for Ethanol Executive Vice President Brian Jennings, Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper and Growth Energy Chief Executive Officer Tom Buis also participated in the panel, which was moderated by Van Ness Feldman Senior Director Mark Palmer. Together, these industry-leading experts presented not only a detailed history of how happenings in the nation’s capital have impacted the ethanol industry, but also provided the insight necessary to apply the lessons of history to current situations.
Held Monday, the Ethanol Industry 101 was created to help bring newer industry members up to speed on the history, science, production and market basics of the industry. Featuring presentations by some of the industry’s most recognized professionals, the session also offered important opportunities to connect within this smaller setting.