Corn Commentary

President Reaffirms Support for Biofuels

obama poetStanding next to a front end loader filled with corn at an ethanol plant in Macon, Missouri on Wednesday, President Obama stressed his administration’s goal to more than triple America’s biofuels production in the next twelve years, and noted that “there shouldn’t be any doubt that renewable, homegrown fuels are a key part of our strategy for a clean energy future.”

Missouri Corn Growers Association CEO Gary Marshall was thrilled that the president visited a corn-based ethanol plant in his state. “It’s fantastic, primarily because it is the first time since he’s been sitting as president that he’s toured an ethanol plant, so I think it bodes very well for future of the corn-based ethanol industry in this country,” Gary said in an interview with Agwired’s Chuck Zimmerman. “This symbolic visit to a corn-based Midwest ethanol plant could really drive a lot of the issues we’re working on at the national level. Whether it’s re-doing the tax credits for ethanol, whether it’s E15 which we think we need to go to because we’re maxed out on the blend wall, or even moving corn-based ethanol forward as an advance biofuel. This just kind of kicks off that entire effort for us.”

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Gary here.

Watch the president’s speech here and see photos from the event in this Flickr photo album, courtesy of Agwired.

Corn Growers Get Blender Pumps in SD

Thanks to the “Blend Your Own” BYO Ethanol campaign, motorists in Sioux Falls, SD now have more fuel choices at the pump with the installation of four new ethanol blender pumps at a Kings Mart gas station in the city.

BYOThrough a joint effort between the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council (SDCUC), the station now offers a variety of fuel blends including unleaded gasoline and E10, and E30 and E85 for Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs).

“This a huge accomplishment for the corn and ethanol industry to unveil a blender pump in Sioux Falls. Corn farmers take great pride in helping to produce over a billion gallons of ethanol in our great state, and installing infrastructure like this moves our industry in the right direction,” said David Fremark, President of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council.

The BYO Ethanol campaign was launched last year as a partnership between ACE, the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Corn Growers Association and leading corn-producing states such as South Dakota. The campaign works to show gas station owners the benefits of blending ethanol and using blender pumps to provide choices for motorists.

The Sioux Falls blender pump location joins 40 other locations across South Dakota and around 150 nationwide. ACE offers an on-line map of blender pump sites.

Free Grocery Giveaway

For the price of a few minutes worth of education about agriculture, people in several different states have a chance to win $5000 worth of groceries. Seems like a pretty good deal!

Farmers Feed UsAgricultural organizations in Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa and Ohio have banded together for the ag literacy sweepstakes on “” featuring poster farmers and ranchers for each state. You have to watch at least one of the videos to enter the contest, and to do that you just click on your state and choose from producers of dairy, beef, pork, corn, soybeans, poultry, eggs, and more.

One would hope that a year’s worth of groceries would be good incentive for anyone to take a few minutes and watch a video about food production. What is crazy is that we even have to do this. Farmers and ranchers should be out on the job putting food on our tables, instead of having to resort to bribery to educate the public about how that food is produced. Agriculture is having to bribe people to learn about what we do, because what they don’t know can and already does hurt us. We are hoping that if they know us better and understand better how food is produced that people won’t pass laws that hurt our ability to feed the world.

Let’s hope it works!

MO Corn Gets Grant for Ethanol Corridors

MCGAWith the goal of providing drivers with more choices at the pump, the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC) has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to expand the number of ethanol stations along major thoroughfares in the Show-Me State.

DOE awarded eight grants to five entities nationwide this week, investing $1.6 million in fueling infrastructure for ethanol blends. Through the Missouri Ethanol Blends Infrastructure Project (MoEBIP), 16 blender pumps (pumps that dispense ethanol blends ranging from 10 to 85 percent, as well as regular gasoline) are to be installed across the state, with the potential to displace an estimated 10.1 to 15.1 million gallons of petroleum.

The blender pumps will be installed across five major fueling corridors in the state, focusing on regions with large numbers of Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs). FFVs are able to run on regular unleaded gasoline, E85 (blend of 85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline) and any blends in between. With 115 of the state’s 4,200 fueling stations currently offering E85, the project will expand fueling options for FFV drivers along portions of I-70, I-44, I-29, Hwy 40/61 and Hwy 63.

Read more here.

Iowa Corn Fed Winner

Captain Cornelius delivered an early Christmas for Judy Koons of Webster City, Iowa who was the grand prize winner this month in the Iowa Corn Fed GameDay DriveAway campaign. Her name was drawn to win a victory red, 2009 Flex-Fuel Chevy Silverado at the Iowa vs. Iowa State basketball game December 11 in Ames.

The Iowa Corn Fed GameDay DriveAway was part of a GameDay partnership that included the Iowa and Iowa State football, basketball, and wrestling seasons. Consumers could enter the drawing from July 10 through November 21 for a chance to win the 2009 Flex-Fuel Chevy Silverado. Other prizes awarded included $500 cash and a year’s worth of ethanol blended fuel from Kum and Go.

“We’ve reached thousands of people with the Iowa Corn Fed GameDay DriveAway promotion,” said Shannon Textor, director of market development for the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) and the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA). “Ethanol use was just one benefit featured in the program, which included food and feed uses for corn and messages about corn’s importance to Iowa’s economy, environment and energy independence.”

Missouri Gets Blender Pumps

fastlaneThanks to the efforts of the Missouri Corn Growers Association, the Show-Me state now has its first ethanol blender pumps.

Warrenton Oil Company recently unveiled four new pumps at its FastLane station in Moscow, MO. The blender pumps offer E20, E30 and E85 along with gasoline.

“By partnering with Missouri Corn and the Missouri Department of Agriculture, we are offering our consumers more choices at the pump,” said Dave Baker, Warrenton Oil Company vice president of sales. “We look forward to growing this new market that supports a homegrown fuel and Missouri jobs.”

MCGAAccording to the Missouri Corn Growers Association, these blender pumps are part of a pilot program with the Missouri Department of Agriculture Division of Weights and Measures. “This is a great opportunity to utilize a product grown and refined in Missouri,” said Gary Clark, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council senior director of market development. “We are looking forward to the continued expansion of blender pump locations across the state. This will allow Missourians to experience the benefits of mid-level ethanol blends and support a product that is helping reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

There are currently 114 E85 locations, including this blender pump station, in the state of Missouri.

Iowa Corn Indy Back Again in 2010

The Iowa Corn Growers Association, the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and Pioneer are proud to announce that they have renewed their sponsorship for the Iowa Corn Indy 250, presented by Pioneer. The 4th Annual race will be held on Sunday, June 20th at the Iowa Speedway in Newton. This race marks the 4th trip to Iowa for the Indy Car Series and the 4th time the cars have driven nearly 200 miles per hour on 100 percent fuel grade
corn ethanol.

“Powering Indy Cars at top speeds is the ultimate in ethanol performance,” said Tim Burrack, a farmer from NE Iowa and Chairman of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. “Iowa Corn is at the track again this year because the cars are not only running on corn ethanol, but thousands of Iowans hear and see our messages about the power, performance, reliability, and energy independence from homegrown corn ethanol.”

Harvest Delays Lead to Trucking Waivers

According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, this year’s corn harvest is proceeding at “the slowest pace since at least the mid-1970′s, when National crop progress tables first appeared in the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin.”

As of November 1, just 25 percent of the corn was harvested nationwide, which way beats the previous slowest harvest record of 44 percent at this time of year in 1992. Average harvest progress in the main corn producing area was between four and six percent, but North Dakota made no progress compared to the previous week - continuing to lag far behind with just two percent of the crop harvested. In a normal year, the harvest would be halfway done by now in that state. Nationwide, we should be over 70 percent complete at this point.

The delay is causing some states, like Missouri, to relax transportation regulations so farmers can get move more grain out of the fields faster once they get that window of opportunity to harvest. The Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA) reports that the Missouri Department of Transportation has issued an emergency declaration that allows farmers to run their loaded trucks at 10 percent above the maximum licensed weight limit.

The harvest is gearing back up in many areas this week with drier weather, but there are still lots of fields with standing water. Some little piece of good news in the latest report from USDA is that at least all the states, except North Dakota, are finally in the double digits with harvest progress.

Nebraska Ethanol Study Finds Efficiency in Higher Blends

High ethanol blends provide better energy conversion within an engine than other fuels – meaning you can travel further on less energy, according to a study conducted by the University of Nebraska and funded by the Nebraska Corn Board.

Vehicles went through chassis dynamometer testing as part of the study. The dynamometer simulated different road and vehicle operating conditions, allowing researchers to fully measure a number of important data points to measure the performance of different ethanol blends. The report says that e85 improved energy conversion by 13, 9 and 14 percent, respectively when compared to e10, for the light, medium and heavy loaded vehicles tested.

“What this suggests is that the increased efficiency of ethanol has a more positive impact as a replacement for petroleum fuel than what it is commonly given credit for,” said Randy Klein, director of market development for the Nebraska Corn Board.

“It also suggests that e85, which contains 85 percent ethanol and only 15 percent petroleum-based gasoline, may be the most efficient and often the most cost-effective fuel for flex fuel vehicles,” he said. “Since e85 is also the cleanest fuel on the market and contains so little petroleum-based gasoline, it has a very positive impact on the environment and can significantly reduce our use of foreign oil.”

The report, which is available from the Nebraska Corn Board, said e85 improved energy conversion by 13, 9 and 14 percent, respectively when compared to e10, for the light, medium and heavy loaded vehicles tested.

The study was conducted by the University of Nebraska researchers Loren Isom, Dr. Milford Hanna and Robert Weber, with additional support provided by the State of Nebraska Transportation Services Bureau, which provided the flex fuel vehicles used in the tests, and The Shop Inc., where the tests were conducted.

Wisconsin Corn Puts on the Green

Wisconsin’s corn ethanol industry is putting on the green and walking for clean air at Milwaukee’s annual Lung Walk October 4 at the Milwaukee County Zoo and is offering free Green Team T-shirts to everyone who joins them.

“The Lung Walk at the Milwaukee County Zoo is a great family event for a worthwhile cause that calls attention to the need for cleaner air and corn-based E85 ethanol fuel is recognized as the Clean Air Choice of the American Lung Association,” says Team Captain Nancy Kavazanjian, a corn grower from Beaver Dam. “Walking as the Green E85 Team is the perfect way to show people that our locally grown and produced ethanol fuel is helping clean up Wisconsin’s air quality while it also helps boost the state economy.”

The walk is a major fund-raising event that helps the ALA, the oldest nationwide voluntary health agency in the United States, fight lung disease through education, community service, public policy and research. As part of the year’s promotional efforts supported by Wisconsin’s corn checkoff, the Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board is the official sponsor of the Lung Walk’s Green E85 Team and paid for the commemorative T-shirts shirts for all team members. Badger State Ethanol, Didion Ethanol, United Ethanol and the UWGP ethanol plant, along with several individual corn growers made major donations to the Green E85 Team effort, helping meet the team fund raising goal of $1,500.

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