GREEN Team Newsletter - Issue #212
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) recently hosted the 7th Annual Biofuels: Science and Sustainability Tour which brings Washington, D.C. decision makers to Iowa for an up-close, hands-on experience with today’s renewable fuels industry. This year’s tour took a record amount of participants on an engaging biofuels journey, visiting an ethanol plant, biodiesel production facility, a cellulosic ethanol ethanol facility, a family farm, and so much more!
With debate and deliberation on the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) at fever pitch, and Iowa’s first in the nation status in regards to renewable fuels production, the tour allowed policy makers to discuss important issues facing the renewable fuels industry, including the RFS, tax policy, the Farm Bill, the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership, and more.
Tour participants represented the offices of Representatives Rod Blum (Iowa), Matt Cartwright (Pa.), Tom Emmers (Minn.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Steve King (Iowa), Dave Loebsack (Iowa), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Adrian Smith (Neb.), David Young (Iowa), Senators Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Mike Rounds (S.D.), the Senate Committee on Agriculture, the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
September 17, 2015
Monday, August 17: Iowa State Fair
Tour participants visited the Iowa State Fair, and heard from Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and several Future Farmers of America (FFA) students on the importance of renewable fuels and agriculture to the state of Iowa. Later, tour attendees were able to visit many Iowa State Fair attractions, including the Des Moines Register Soap Box, the Sukup Animal Learning Center, the Future Farmers of America (FFA) building, and much more.
September 17, 2015
Tuesday, August 18
At the Monsanto Huxley Learning Center in Huxley, Iowa, attendees participated in an interactive tour that provided an in-depth overview of modern farming practices, including advancements in seed technology that improve yields, precision ag equipment that ensures proper seed to soil contact and seed placement, and big data programs that help farmers know more about their fields than ever before.
Participants toured Lincolnway Energy, a 55 million gallon per year capacity ethanol production facility in Nevada, Iowa. At the facility, participants learned all about the ethanol production process and ethanol co-products, including protein-rich distillers grains that are sold into livestock feed markets.
Later, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Senior Vice President Geoff Cooper provided an “Ethanol Myth Busters” presentation, dispelling a host of often repeated myths and misinformation about ethanol and the RFS. To view Cooper’s presentation, please click here.
Couser Cattle Company
At Couser Cattle Company in Nevada, Iowa, attendees were able to get up-close and personal with what owner Bill Couser calls, “the full circle of agriculture.” Couser Cattle Company is a multi-faceted livestock and row crop operation that finishes 5,000 to 6,000 head of cattle, while also farming about 5,000 acres of corn and soybeans.
Participants learned about row crops, raising cattle, feeding distillers grains, and the latest environmental stewardship practices from the 2011 National Cattlemen’s Foundation Environmental Stewardship Award winner, Bill Couser.
September 17, 2015
Wednesday, August 19
At REG-Newton, a 30 million gallon per year capacity biodiesel production facility, participants toured the plant, and learned about the biodiesel production process, biodiesel co-products, and biodiesel’s positive impact on air quality from Renewable Energy Group (REG) Vice President of Manufacturing Brad Albin.
At REG-Newton, tour attendees also heard from National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Director of Federal Communications Ben Evans on
biodiesel’s status as a clean-burning, advanced biofuel, the importance of a strong and growing federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to the young biodiesel industry, and an effort currently underway to modify the expired federal biodiesel blenders’ credit to a multi-year producers’ credit in order to provide certainty in the marketplace and incentivize domestic biodiesel production.
Participants also visited and toured the Iowa Speedway, a state-of-the-art 7/8-mile tri-oval race track and motorsports facility designed by NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace. At the race track, in Newton, Iowa, attendees heard from NASCAR on it’s “Go Green” initiative to make the sport more environmentally friendly. A part of the “Go Green” program, NASCAR is taking advantage of the high octane and clean-burning properties of ethanol by using E15, a blend of 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline, to power it’s vehicles.
Tour attendees received a firsthand experience with soybeans, corn, ag equipment and an Iowa family farm on a visit to Kimberley Farms in Maxwell, Iowa.
Participants received a presentation and tour from Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) Director of Market Development and Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) Executive Director Grant Kimberley. Kimberley not only discussed the history and aspects of Kimberley Farms, he also allowed participants to get an up-close look at his crops and farm equipment, and provided an overview of the benefits of using biodiesel on the farm.
September 17, 2015
Thursday, August 20
On the final day of the tour, attendees visited Iowa State University‘s (ISU) Biocentury Research Facility and Sorenson Farm in Boone, Iowa.
At ISU’s Biocentury Research Facility, tour participants learned about the newest techniques and experiments going on in the world of biomass production and processing, and received a presentation from ISU Professor Dr. Robert Brown on his book, “Why Are We Producing Biofuels?” that examines the question and takes an indepth look at the energy market.
At ISU’s Sorenson Farm, attendees toured several demonstration plots of corn and soybeans, as well as dedicated energy crops like giant miscanthus, sweet sorghum, and others, to discuss the potential these other crops provide to the biofuels world, and what ISU researchers have discovered when working with these non-traditional crops.