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RFA Presents 2024 Industry Award to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack

At the National Ethanol Conference today in San Diego, the Renewable Fuels Association presented its 2024 Industry Award to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in recognition of his many years championing renewable fuels both in Washington and at home in Iowa.

“Today, the entire ethanol industry extends its sincere appreciation to Secretary Vilsack for his tireless efforts to strengthen agriculture through the power of renewable fuels,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “He has always recognized the pivotal role ethanol plays in bolstering rural America and sustaining our farming communities. His visionary leadership has underscored the importance of a sustainable energy future while empowering farmers to contribute to environmental stewardship and energy independence. We are immensely grateful for Secretary Vilsack’s unwavering commitment to ensuring a brighter, more resilient future for rural America.”

In his time at USDA, Sec. Vilsack has been a strong and effective proponent of the Renewable Fuel Standard and greater consumer access to lower-carbon fuel blends like E15. His leadership helped the renewable fuels industry recover more quickly from the COVID-induced collapse of energy and ag markets in 2020. He also led the effort to secure an unprecedented investment in infrastructure for higher biofuel blends. More recently, Sec. Vilsack has played a pivotal role in advancing sustainable aviation fuel initiatives through collaborative efforts with industry stakeholders and federal agencies.

As governor of Iowa from 1999 to 2007, Vilsack recognized the economic significance of biofuels and actively promoted ethanol production as a homegrown, renewable fuel source that reduces dependence on imported oil. He supported policies providing incentives for ethanol production and support for ethanol infrastructure, as well as making higher blends more accessible.

This year marks Sec. Vilsack’s fourth as USDA secretary under President Biden, and he served the same role in the Obama administration, from 2009-2017. Prior to his two terms as the governor of Iowa, he served as a member of the Iowa State Senate and as mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Between his leadership roles at USDA, Vilsack served as president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

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