Renewable Energy Group – Newton Seeds Monarch Fueling Station

Contact: Cassidy Walter

JOHNSTON, IOWA – Iowa’s spring planting season is just around the corner and the Renewable Energy Group (REG) biodiesel plant near Newton is getting a head start with a unique kind of planting.

Local Pheasants Forever representatives recently conducted a seeding of native grasses, milkweed, and other plants that attract pollinators. The mixture has a special emphasis on milkweed plants, the only plant monarchs can lay their eggs on.

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Habitat Establishment Coordinator Kevin Reynolds helped REG get started with the project last year. He said while the majority of the plants will spend the first growing season developing roots, there will be some growth in the spring.

“It will take the habitat a few growing seasons to become fully established but some species will pop up as early as this coming spring,” Reynolds said. “It takes some patience in the beginning but after the first few years REG will be on their way to making an important impact for the monarch butterfly.”

REG – Newton’s Monarch Fueling Station spans one and a half acres. To prepare for seeding, plant employees previously focused on eliminating non-native grasses from the area.

“This is an exciting next step that is bringing us closer to the goal of providing important habitat for Iowa’s monarch butterflies,” said Plant Manager Daniel Schoenfelder. “We are looking forward to seeing how this project will impact Iowa’s natural environment and provide a boost to the monarch butterfly.”

The Monarch Fueling Station Project was established by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) in partnership with the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium in December 2017. It is a program to help Iowa’s ethanol and biodiesel plants establish patches of monarch habitat on plant grounds. To learn more about the IRFA Monarch Fueling Station Project, contact IRFA at or 515-252-6249.

A local Pheasants Forever representative plants a seed mixture for monarch butterfly habitat at REG – Newton’s Monarch Fueling Station.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association represents the state’s liquid renewable fuels industry and works to foster its growth. Iowa is the nation’s leader in renewable fuels production with 43 ethanol refineries capable of producing over 4.5 billion gallons annually – including 34 million gallons of annual cellulosic ethanol production capacity – and 11 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 400 million gallons annually. For more information, visit the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association website at: