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A new BLUEPRINT for corn Designing the future corn plant from the ground up

A Vital Component

The relationship between cattle, grain and fuel is ever evolving

Cleaning Up Oil’s Slick Efforts

The ethanol industry responds to a misinformation campaign

A Heritage of Helping

POET Biorefining – Hanlontown is pitching in to help others Spring 2013

POET is proud to support Austin Dillon and the No. 3 American Ethanol NASCAR Nationwide Series™ team.

The NASCAR American Ethanol™ logo and word mark are used under license by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. and Growth Energy. All trademarks and the likeness of the No. 3 race car are used under license from their owners. NASCAR® is a registered trademark of the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. The NASCAR Nationwide Series™ logo and word mark are used under license by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc., and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.


The relationship between cattle, grain and fuel is becoming more and more important as the industries evolve.


by Marcella Prokop






by Thom Gabrukiewicz With a growing demand for corn, yeild potential is one of the top research projects for seed companies and farmers alike.

by Darrell Boone For team members at the POET Biorefining – Hanlontown facility, pitching in to help others is just a way of life.


by Thom Gabrukiewicz When AAA came out against E15, the ethanol industry was quick to point out the fallacies in their statements.

Visit for the latest news, career opportunities and plant profiles.



by Marcella Prokop The ethanol industry responds to a misinformation campaign.

contents COLUMNS


by Jeff Broin




P / 605.965.2200 F / 605.965.2203






by Steve Lange

In the spirit of its continued commitment to being good stewards of the environment, POET is proud to produce Vital using 100% recycled paper, with eco-friendly soy-based ink.




POET, LLC 4615 North Lewis Avenue Sioux Falls, SD 57104

by Jeff Lautt

by Marcus Ludtke




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COPYRIGHT Vital is published quarterly by POET, LLC and other individuals or entities. All materials within are subject to copyrights owned by POET. Any reproduction of all or part of any document found in Vital is expressly prohibited, unless POET or the copyright owner of the material has expressly granted its prior written consent to so reproduce, retransmit or republish the material. All other rights reserved. For questions, contact the POET legal department at 605.965.2200. The opinions and statements expressed by content contributors and advertisers in Vital are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of POET. Neither POET nor its third-party content providers shall be liable for any inaccuracies contained within Vital, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. ©2013 POET, LLC. All rights reserved. Publication Design & Layout: Cassie Medema

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IN SIGHT by Jeff Broin, Executive Chairman and Founder of POET

So God made a farmer. You heard it on Super Bowl Sunday when Paul Harvey’s warm drawl reached tens of millions. It was said that during this Dodge commercial, all of America went silent. “It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight… and not cut corners. Somebody to seed and weed, feed and breed…and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk,” Harvey said. And our minds went back to our childhoods, to our parents, to our grandparents. So, this winter when Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack said to a group of farmers in Washington, D.C. that rural America was losing influence, it cut deep. He’s not wrong. This is something that everyone in the Midwest should be concerned about, and we need to turn it around. I grew up in rural Minnesota surrounded by some of the best black earth on the planet. Although it paled in comparison to today’s yields, we were getting about 130 bushels of corn per acre. But since supply had out-paced demand, we still had too much grain. So much in fact, the government paid us and other farmers to set aside acres of land and not produce. I’m sure many of you also remember that at the same time the government was also paying farmers to store excess grain. It’s no wonder rural America started to dwindle. And this wasn’t limited to the U.S. Our subsidized grain was being dumped into other countries at prices below their cost of production and effectively putting their farmers out of business. This forced farmers all around the world to move into already over-populated cities for low-paying jobs. But as the ethanol industry started to grow, a new market was created balancing supply and demand. Previously tilled acres that had gone fallow came back into production. Investments in research to increase





yields took off. My family was now getting 180 – 200 bushels of corn per acre on that same ground. Farming was profitable again, and rural America was becoming stronger. Ethanol brought U.S. agriculture back to prominence and I believe ethanol is the only way to keep it there. It has created profitable markets for dozens of developing countries and millions of farmers worldwide. We’ve realized more and more over the last few years how ethanol and agriculture are joined at the hip. If the ethanol industry is not allowed to grow, we will return to grain prices below the cost of production and a depressed ag economy all around the world. The everexpanding yields of corn and improved agricultural practices will have nowhere to go. It is critical to the agriculture and ethanol industries, the Midwest and our nation, that higher blends of ethanol are allowed into the market. Without new demand for ethanol, world expansion of grain production will stop and reverse, ethanol prices will remain low and oil prices will continue to rise for the foreseeable future. So, yes, rural America may be losing influence. But it’s not a trend that has to continue. With higher blends of ethanol and access to the market, we can continue to strengthen economies throughout the Midwest and around the globe. And as the Paul Harvey poem reminded us, whether you have an agriculture background or not, farming is a part of all of our lives. “And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain’n from ‘tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours.” Farmers aren’t exactly the type to give up easily. And neither are we.

Fielding Profitability from Biofuels

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“We must not forget that most successful industries and

innovations do not mature overnight. Cellphones were around since the 1970s but not widely adopted until the 2000s. And

automobiles did not replace horse-drawn carriages in just a few years. The RFS has been a key driver in this industry’s progress.


We should not, and cannot, turn back that progress now.”

“Removing energy subsidies

- Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, in a column for Politico about the

can also help prolong the

importance of maintaining the Renewable Fuel Standard.

availability of nonrenewable energy resources and strengthen incentives for research and development in energy-saving and alternative technologies.” - David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund,

3/26 “In 1997, I thought 20 dollars [per barrel oil] was reasonable. In 2006, I thought 27 dollars was reasonable. Now, it is around $100 ... and I say again it is reasonable.”

in a Washington, D.C. speech urging reform in the nearly $2

- Saudi Minister for Petroleum and Mineral

trillion in fossil fuel subsidies

Resources Ali Al-Naimi in Kuwait City at a Gulf oil



From issues relating to government policies, to infrastructure and opinion pieces, the ethanol industry has much to be reported on. Here is a representation of the past few months of news coverage. The comments do not necessarily represent the opinions of POET, LLC.






“We commend President Obama’s commitment to move America toward oil alternatives – the best way to reduce pain at the pump and address climate change. The Energy Security Trust Fund is a major step in this direction, and cost-effective, homegrown renewable fuel will play a central role. The initiative could not come at a better time, as gas prices and global temperatures are on the rise, and the oil industry is redoubling its efforts to block alternatives. - Fuels America statement regarding President Obama’s idea to create an “energy trust fund” for research into alternatives.

3/21 “The oil industry doesn’t like to sell less oil, so they’re trying hard to kill the RINs program. President Bush brought it in in 2007, set the high standards, and the oil industry is upset. The trouble is the oil industry has zero clout with the public.”

- Oil economist Phil Verleger, on the oil industry’s complaints about high prices for renewable fuel credits (RINs).


“Consumers need more renewable fuel choices to support our communities and keep dollars in our local economies,” said owner and investor of Cresco. “Since flex-fuels were not available in Cresco, a group of local business leaders formed an LLC, purchased land and constructed a fueling location to remedy this situation. Also, with unblended 87 octane gasoline no longer being shipped through the pipeline this fall, ethanol blended fuels will

dominate Iowa’s fuel market and we wanted to be on the cutting edge with E15.” - Owner and investor Dave Sovereign of Fast Stop in Cresco, Iowa, on offering E15 in

3/4 “Gina McCarthy has been a strong supporter of biofuels and we look forward to working with her to bring sustainable, clean, homegrown American fuels to the consumer. This will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs and spur economic growth, in addition to providing

motorists a choice and

savings at the pump, all while ensuring important

environmental concerns will be a top priority.” - Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis, upon the nomination of Gina McCarthy as the next Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

his community.










Mitch Miller @ZL1DER Hey dad! Thanks for filling with E85 in Denton, TX today!

Carson Berger @CarsonBerger Filled up with E30 at Petro Serve in Mandan, ND. Yellow hoses at every pump!

Growth Energy @GrowthEnergy Grassley understands the market, blames speculation for high rin prices.






Fuels America @FuelsAmerica What could $7 billion in oil tax breaks do? It could pay the salaries of 153,091 public school teachers.

Matt Merritt @mdmerritt Oil strategy: 1. Block E15, other options that solve the blend wall. 2. Complain about the blend wall.

Bryce Jones @BryceJones10 UFC fighters @ChrisWeidmanUFC and @ryanbader speaking at @ethanolbyPOET About the benefits of American Ethanol!!!!

Joost Dubois @joostdubois We won!! “We won the ‘Global Deal of the year’ award for our partnership with @ethanolbyPOET





Chris Clayton @ChrisClaytonDTN Ethanol backers make a cake to “celebrate” 100 years of oil subsidies from the Capitol.

Corn-Soybean Digest @csdigest Despite worst drought since 30s, still had 5th largest corn crop in history. Because we embrace technology, says Vilsack

Lindsey Bierman @fuelingtrendy Leave the RFS alone. It is working as intended.

Dept. of Agriculture @USDA Daschle: Investments USDA has made in advanced biofuels are important to our national security, as well as our farm economy.

Twitter is a forum for thousands of conversations taking place in 140-character comments, with participants from all over the world. People or organizations are represented by user names such as @ethanolbypoet. The topic of conversation is often highlighted with a hashtag (#). This is a sampling of what’s being said about energy and biofuels. The comments do not necessarily represent the opinions of POET, LLC. WWW.VITALBYPOET.COM


FIRST LOOK by Jeff Lautt, CEO, POET Curiosity, creativity, ingenuity, these are qualities unique in human beings that have allowed us since the beginning of our time to take what the world provides and craft it to meet our evolving needs. Ethanol production is certainly an example of that. Working with nature has always been at the core of what we do here at POET, but today we are highlighting it like never before. You might have noticed that POET’s motto “Energy Inspired” no longer appears under our name. Producing energy is obviously still a key part of what we do, but we have broadened our vision in recent years, and it was time to reflect that. We sum it up with our new motto: “Human + Nature.” As biorefiners, we find solutions for many problems in the world today through the power and abundance of nature. By adding human ingenuity and the motivation to create new things, we accomplish amazing things. That is evident in the growing number and sophistication of products coming out of POET plants today. Dakota Gold distillers grain, for example, has a level of consistency and nutrition content that makes it a standard for the industry. Twenty-five of the 27 POET plants have now installed corn oil technology, and by the end of the year we expect that all POET plants will be taking advantage of this valuable opportunity. We are exploring creative applications for our zein product, Inviz™, which can be used in paints and varnishes, plastics, biodegradable films and coatings and more. And we are working to develop new products, such as food-grade fiber, to give us access to new markets. We have more products and technology in the pipeline than ever before. I am fortunate to be involved in this industry during this exciting transition from producers of fuel to comprehensive biorefiners. Our Human + Nature concept applies to many things outside of production as well. The attacks on biofuels from the oil industry this year are really a matter of fossil fuel vs. nature as the source for our ongoing energy needs. They want to keep nature out of the picture, and we fight to help it grow. We are working hard to ensure that the progress America has made in recent years to make our fuel supply green and sustainable remains intact. The Renewable Fuel Standard was the spark that ignited that effort, and despite the constant attempts to tear it down, we will remain staunch defenders of biofuel.





We have made it a priority to grow nature’s role through E15, displacing even more harmful and foreign petroleum. Our opponents are working hard to make sure the blend wall remains a hurdle for our industry, while we work to promote fuel choice and spread E15 availability to more stations across America. E15 is the key transition fuel toward higher blends of ethanol and a greener future. We are leaders, through POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, in commercializing cellulosic ethanol. The Department of Energy has identified a billion tons of biomass for use in energy production, biomass that is ready and available, not in protected or inaccessible areas. As I see Project LIBERTY taking shape in Emmetsburg today, I see another great example of what can happen when we combine human ingenuity with nature. I’ve recently given a number of speeches in which I present a timeline of world energy sources. Over the last hundred years that timeline is dominated by the black line of increasing fossil fuel use, with a green line of renewable use peeking through in the last handful of years. But as we zoom out from that timeline, the picture looks much different. That black line of fossil energy is nothing more than a blip. For almost all of humanity’s existence, we have used the resources at hand, above the ground, to co-exist in a sustainable way with nature. And I see a renewable economy in our future once again. POET aims to continue to lead the way in moving the world back to sustainability while still allowing our society to move forward technologically through advancements in transportation, food production, biochemicals and more. “Human + Nature” describes what we’re doing today, and it is the guiding principle for this company’s future.

BEHIND EVERY CAR, THERE’S A TEAM. After three million miles and countless green flag starts, American Ethanol and NASCAR® have proven Sunoco® Green E15™ to American drivers. And it was all made possible by one amazing team:

Learn more at

AMERICAN GROWN. AMERICAN MADE. POWERING NASCAR. The NASCAR American Ethanol™ logo and word mark are used under license by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. and Growth Energy. Austin Dillon and Austin Dillon’s autograph are trademarks of Austin Dillon. All trademarks and the likeness of the No. 3 racecar are used under license from their owners. NASCAR® is a registered trademark of the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc.

A New Way of Thinking





With a growing demand for corn, yield potential is one of the top research projects for seed companies and farmers alike. byThom Gabrukiewicz



Drive past Harry Stine’s 2,500 acres of corn near Adel, Iowa, peer through the summer waves of heat and what you’ll see is a veritable ocean of green. OK, most all of Iowa shimmers green come summer. But what differentiates Stine’s fields from his neighbors is the amount of corn plants packed into a single acre – up to 50,000 plants per each 43,560 square feet of rich Iowa soil. The current national average is 32,000 corn plants per acre. And consider this: When hybrid seed was first introduced in the 1930s, farmers typically planted just 8,000 plants per acre.

A growing demand According to the Corn Farmers Coalition, farmers today grow five times as much corn as they did in the 1930s – on 20 percent less land. That’s 13 million acres or 20,000 square miles, twice the size of Massachusetts. The yield-per-acre has skyrocketed from 24 bushels in 1931 to 154 now, or a six-fold gain. The national average of 153 bushels produced on each acre in 2010 was nearly 20 percent larger than the average yield in 2002 – and plant breeding experts estimate yields may jump 40 percent before 2020. And in a world that’s growing in population – and in demand for grains – the need to squeeze more corn yield out of the same acre of ground is paramount, industry leaders say. Stine – as well as researchers





from Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta, to name a few – are at the forefront of a movement to push corn yields to 300 bushels per acre – and beyond. And America’s farmers, well, they are listening. Intently. Because the next leap in corn yields will help the American farmer nourish a hungry world – and fuel the growing thirst for clean, renewable biofuels right here at home. “The more corn we have, typically the better off we are in the world, in terms of social stability and in terms of the ability to produce ethanol and distillers grains for the feed markets,” said Fran Swain, POET’s Strategic Development Manager.

Meeting the need

different companies, we need to be all working together.” The world’s hunger for grains like corn is expected to double by 2050, according to an Iowa State University review. Combine that with the expectations of the Renewable Fuels Standard, the nation’s clean energy policy, which by 2022 calls for 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel to be used in the U.S. per year. So many in the farming and ethanol industry say corn yields must continue to increase to meet the ever-growing demand. And that’s where out-of-the-box thinking comes in, that next big leap forward – a 300-bushel-anacre average.

Can the American farmer reach A new way of thinking the 300-bushel mark, sooner rather Stine’s research not only includes than later? a narrow row and more corn plants “I think yes, very much so,” per acre, but the corn plant itself. said Roger Elmore, Professor and Stine’s corn plants are a little Extension Corn Agronomist at Iowa State University The more corn we have, typically in Ames. “There are farmers who the better off we are in the world, are doing it now. Eventually, getting in terms of social stability and in the national average to 300 bushels per terms of the ability to produce acre will take a lot of work. Everyone ethanol and distillers grains for the is going to have feed markets. to do their part, everyone has to work together – the Strategic Development scientist out there, Manager - POET the breeders at the

- Fran Swain

Standard corn row spacing

Stine’s corn row spacing

30 inches

12 inches 3-4 inches

10-12 inches

vs. smaller, the tassels too. The leaves point up a little, to grab the sun. In the family test fields of Dallas County, Iowa, Stine employs 12inch corn rows, with each plant spaced 10 to 12 inches apart. That’s opposed to the standard 30-inch row widths, with plants spaced 3 to 4 inches apart. “This is a constant, continuing, changing thing,” said Stine, who said he plans to expand his research into denser corn populations in 2013. “If you know, most farmers are planting in the low 30s (30,000 plants per acre). Well, we have some hybrids that can handle the low 40s, some up around 50,000. We expect then to develop those at 60 and 70 and so forth. “So as we slowly develop the genetics to handle it, the population will go up, and the yield will go up accordingly,” Stine said.

A winning combination With good genetics, plant population growth, precision agronomics and a wave of new equipment to foster the changes, the American farmer is poised to hit the 300-bushel-per-acre threshold (Stine insists farmers can blow

right past it, toward 400 bushels per acre). The time is coming, many in the farming industry say, when all farmers will be planting newer hybrids in narrower rows, with increased plant populations per acre to get those higher yields.



A combine with a narrow row corn head.

Our farmers have shown an amazing ability, if there’s market demand, to produce the products that are required. They’ve done it in the past – and they will continue to be able to do it in the future.

- Beth Calabotta Bioenergy & Renewables Strategy Lead - Monsanto





Swain pointed to a Rabobank research paper released in January that seems to confirm the future of farming – that sustaining plant population growth is the key to unlocking corn yield. According to Rabobank, a global leader in food and agriculture lending, some 80 percent of yield growth in U.S. corn harvests

depends on increasing plant population density, rather than generating more corn per plant. “If you look at the Rabobank report, the key to higher yields is to increase the density,” Swain said. “Really, it’s just an issue of the hybrids now.” And that’s where seed company research comes in.

Bringing it all together At Monsanto, there’s a threeprong approach to doubling yields, based on breeding, biotech and agronomic practices, said Monsanto spokeswoman Danielle Stuart.

And the company has made the commitment to double its yields by 2030. “It’s that combination of having the base genetics, having the right systems as you farm to optimize it and really using the information that’s developed, whether it’s developed in the seed, as we think about how we’re developing plants and plant technology, or whether we’re developing it on the field,” said Beth Calabotta, Monsanto’s Bioenergy and Renewables Strategy Lead. “It’s all about integration.” “I think you also need to keep this in perspective of where we’ve been,” said Mark Lawson, Monsanto’s Yield & Stress Platform Lead. “In the 1970s, when I was growing up on a farm in western Illinois, we averaged about 75 bushels per acre, which was the national average at the time. Now, the national average is about 150 bushels, so we’ve already doubled yield once over the past 30 years.” “There certainly is historical precedence to do this – but the opportunity here is to take the intersection of a number of technologies at the same time, as compared to more single technologies as we’ve done in the past.” Beyond hybrid seed that can withstand field crowding, farm equipment manufacturers will need to retool their offerings to meet the demands of higher plant population density, Swain and Stine said.

“The next leap in technology to get to the narrow rows, which in turn will allow for those higher densities, is the equipment side of things,” Swain said. But Stine cautioned farmers not to dive head-first into increased plant populations on their corn acres. More testing needs to be done to find that next hybrid seed that can withstand crowding season after season – and equipment manufacturers need to catch up with new planters and corn head rows to accept a narrower row. “We’re not suggesting that anyone go out today and change equipment,” Stine said. “What we’re suggesting is, everyone will be in 12-inch rows eventually, but we don’t have a full range of hybrids that will adapt to high populations at this time – and no one else does,

either. So instead of rushing out and buying new equipment, when their equipment needs to be changed, then they might as well switch.” And moving forward will depend on the American farmer to embrace all the changes that are coming. “I have full confidence that America’s farmers can deliver all the product needed for the market demand,” Monsanto’s Calabotta said. “If we go back and look at the last decade, we’ve increased our ethanol production from roughly 1 billion gallons around 1993 to some 15 billion gallons in 2012. Our farmers have shown an amazing ability, if there’s market demand, to produce the products that are required. They’ve done it in the past – and they will continue to be able to do it in the future. I have no doubt about that.”



A Heritage of Helping

Kelly Hansen, General Manager at POET Biorefining – Hanlontown, Iowa

For team members at the POET Biorefining – Hanlontown, Iowa facility, pitching in to help others is just a way of life. by Darrell Boone | photos by Greg Latza





The hardy pioneers who settled in what is now north central Iowa’s Worth County in the middle 1800s knew a good thing when they saw it. The area was flat as a pool table and abundant in deep, black, rich prairie soil, perfect for growing corn. The climate was not for the faint of heart – lots of snow in winter and temperatures that could drop far below zero. But for these settlers, many of whom were Norwegian immigrants, it felt like home. Part of survival in their new home consisted of neighbor helping neighbor, a farming tradition that has been passed down through the generations. That tradition is very much alive and well at POET’s Hanlontown, Iowa plant. “I grew up on a farm in Idaho and knew something of neighbor helping neighbor,” says Kelly Hansen, POET Biorefining – Hanlontown’s General Manager. “But even so, I was really struck by the amazing willingness of people here to volunteer for different kinds of community service. We regularly had people taking time off to help out with something, or doing it on their evenings and weekends. This is a very compassionate group.” Hansen says that getting team members to volunteer for community service projects – whether serving meals in a community kitchen, ringing bells for the Salvation Army at Christmas, cleaning up an adopted stretch of highway, helping with Relay for Life or United Way, planting trees around the community, organizing a food drive, or painting an historic railroad bridge, just to name a few – is not difficult. “We never have a problem getting volunteers,” he says.

Caring Attitude Extends Into Workplace POET’s eleventh plant, the Hanlontown facility came online March 8, 2004 and has been successful from the beginning. It has a high degree (about 50 percent) of local stockholders who have consistently received good returns. The plant will soon pay off the last of its original debt ahead of schedule, even in a time of tight margins. The plant also strives to be a good neighbor environmentally. With the addition of Total Water Recovery in 2011, it has reduced its environmental footprint by cutting water usage by more than 75 percent and is still improving. While obviously not all of the plant’s success can be directly correlated to those same characteristics that have made it a good community neighbor, Hansen believes that it’s not totally coincidental either. He credits volunteering with better on-the-job teamwork, less stress, being able to see team members in a different

light, and building camaraderie – above what they would normally get in their day jobs. Hansen also believes that at least some of those “fringe benefits” of serving others carries over into a willingness to look out for the good of fellow team members in their daily work responsibilities. The plant has gone for an amazing 1,600-plus days without a lost time accident, and last year didn’t even have one recordable injury. “We have a very strong safety committee, but beyond that, if one team member sees another engaging in a practice that appears unsafe, they don’t hesitate to suggest another way,” he says. “Our people here are genuinely concerned about one another.” Looking at the big picture of helping others and the community, Hansen believes that it’s not just a one-way street. “With the opportunities we’ve had to share our time and resources with others, we too have been blessed,” he says.





ick Scholbrock has been the mayor of tiny Hanlontown (pop. 229) for 16 years. He’s proud of his city, its people, its annual Sundown Days celebration and the fact that it was once featured in a segment of CBS News Sunday Morning. But back in 2002 when he got a call from POET Senior Vice President of Project Development Larry Ward saying that POET was thinking of building a plant in his town, it seemed too good to be true. “Tell you what,” he told Ward. “If you build an ethanol plant here, I’ll be so excited I’ll run down I-35 buck naked!” A little over a year later Hanlontown did get the plant, but Scholbrock decided that the literal fulfillment of that off-the-cuff remark was probably in no one’s best interest, particularly his. Nevertheless,






after the plant had been there for a time, Scholbrock came up with a better and more socially acceptable way of showing his appreciation. With his city council and the expertise of ace ice cream maker Bob Michaels, the group went over to the plant and served all the team members homemade ice cream and presented them with a plaque of appreciation. “We wanted to do more than just tell them thanks, we wanted to do something to show how much we appreciate all the things Kelly Hansen and his people do for us,” says Scholbrock. “They help us with volunteers, financially, they even helped lead the fight to keep our post office here in town. They’re awesome neighbors and we just wanted to give something back.”


GOLDEN RULE he starting place for many of POET Biorefining – Hanlontown’s good works in the community is the plant’s Activities Committee. Quality Manager Paulette Rueter is the chairperson, and says that the committee expanded its role from just planning in-house activities to actively looking for ways to make a difference. Rueter says that much of what team members at the plant do is just a matter of being a good neighbor. She adds that many employees have known someone who’s needed help, and that makes it easy to empathize with their situations. “It’s kind of the Golden Rule,” she says. “If we were in that situation, we’d appreciate it if someone went out of their way to help us, and we’re just trying to do that.” Asked to pick a favorite memory, Rueter initially said “They’re all so much fun,” but then recalled a food drive they’d done. “We started small, but by the third year, we set what we thought was an ambitious goal of coming up with 1,000 items to donate,” she says. “But we wound up shattering that. It was really amazing, and felt really good. Around here, neighbors help neighbors a lot. I don’t know that you’d have that situation in a big city.”




NASCAR® UPDATE submitted by Ryan Welsh, Director of Sales and Marketing for American Ethanol

American Ethanol Progress Update and Game Plan 2013 Not too long ago, many might have thought that ethanol wouldn’t fit in with the high performance standards of NASCAR®. By “not too long ago” I am talking two years and 4 million miles. The transition in NASCAR to Sunoco Green E15, a biofuel with a 15 percent ethanol blend has been seamless. American Ethanol has delivered more octane and more horsepower without a single negative consequence. Although racing fuel is a bit higher octane for higher compression engines than the stuff we burn on the street, it is very worthy of comparison. We have proven its value in the most severe conditions; try 9,000 RPMs for four incessant hours. Oh yeah, it is also clean, green and renewable. Second only to the National Football League in television ratings, an average of nearly 6 million views tune in to each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ event

We at American Ethanol look forward to another successful year partering with NASCAR and showcasing all the benefits ethanol has to offer.

- Ryan Welsh

Director of Sales and Marketing for American Ethanol





from February - November and no other sport comes close to delivering such a large sustained audience every week for 10 months of the year. NASCAR is a maestro of marketing, with over a third of the U.S. population considering themselves fans have taken notice of our partnership in the sport. NASCAR fans understand that without sponsors in their beloved sport, it would cease to exist. That is why they spend over $3 billion annually on NASCAR licensed products. We’ve all heard someone say, “I do business with those who do business with me.” NASCAR fans consider that a decree. Fortune 500 companies know this and support NASCAR more than any other sport. Sprint, Goodyear and Proctor & Gamble are just a few of the companies that have utilized and benefited from the biggest stage in motorsports. NASCAR sponsors both on the league and team level, have received enormous return on their investments. A recent study conducted by the James Madison University Center for Sports Sponsorships concluded, “NASCAR sponsorship is the best buy in marketing.” We agree with that, in fact, last year another study conducted found that NASCAR fans are now 50 percent more likely than non-fans to support the use of ethanol blended gasoline in their own cars. That is a big deal, which means we are moving the needle and our investment is paying off. We at American Ethanol look forward to another successful year partnering with NASCAR and showcasing all the benefits we have to offer. It’s only natural that “America’s Sport” uses America’s best fuel choice.

Austin Dillon, driver for the American Ethanol car

Our Team American Ethanol is proud to once again partner with Richard Childress Racing and 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series™ driver Austin Dillon. American Ethanol will be an associate sponsor in all races in both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ and NASCAR Nationwide Series™ races that Dillon runs for Richard Childress Racing. American Ethanol will be the primary sponsor of Dillon’s #33 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ race on June 16 at Michigan International Speedway. American Ethanol will also be primary sponsor of Dillon’s #2 Chevrolet in the highly heralded NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™ at Eldora’s Inaugural Mudsummer Classic on July 24th. The primary sponsor receives a full paint scheme on the car and the associate sponsor receives branding on the car. “It feels good to be able to help spread the news about American Ethanol and encourage every American to run the fuel of the future, American Ethanol, in their personal vehicles,” said Dillon. “If American Ethanol can withstand the rigors of NASCAR, it can withstand everyday driving. Homegrown biofuels like American Ethanol have stepped up to help our nation’s economy,

and are proving to be a better fuel. I am proud to wear the American Ethanol colors in NASCAR and I hope I can bring them to Victory Lane in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™ in 2013.” American Ethanol also welcomes back NASCAR’s television and driver talent Kenny Wallace to speak on behalf of American Ethanol. “I am proud of my role in promoting American Ethanol because it has so much to offer – from being a greener fuel to creating jobs. For race fans ethanol brings more power and thrilling races, but the real attraction for me is the direct connection to family farmers and rural America,” said Wallace. “Ethanol plays a key role in keeping family farmers successful and is helping bring a new generation back to the farm. I sleep better at night knowing who is producing my food and that ethanol makes us less dependent on foreign oil.” Wallace is an on-air personality for SPEED on NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Victory Lane. He also plans on running part-time in both NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™ and NASCAR Nationwide Series™.



Media TV/Radio

Follow Us Stay up to date on all the exciting activity happening for American Ethanol this year by following us on Twitter @AmericanEthanol and liking us on Facebook at Facebook. com/americanethanol.

American Ethanol will again have a significant presence on FOX and FOX Sports/ SPEED. American Ethanol will have in-car cameras and features in broadcasts of the races and during qualifying. American Ethanol has secured a television entitlement sponsorship at the historic Inaugural Camping World Truck race at Eldora Speedway on July 24. Be sure to tune into SPEED all week for coverage! You can also catch the action on MRN where the American Ethanol Green Flag drop gets it rolling. For the full schedule and where to tune in visit: sprint-cup-series/schedule.

These pages will feature exclusive insider photos and behind the scenes coverage of the American Ethanol drivers and all the NASCAR action this year.

NASCAR® is a registered trademark of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ logo and word mark are used under license by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc., and Sprint. The NASCAR Nationwide Series™ logo and word mark are used under license by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc., and Nationwide Mutual Insurancte Company. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™ logo and word mark are used under license by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc., and CWI, Inc.






A Vital Component The relationship between cattle, grain and fuel is becoming more and more important as the industries evolve. by Marcella Prokop

photo by Greg Latza





The perspective of Tim Ruggles, Ruggles Farms in Kingston, Mich. is one that many in the agriculture business are familiar with. As corn prices, meat prices and even fuel prices fluctuate, the farmer, rancher or feed producer needs to manage his operation in the best way possible. Distillers grains, as a co-product of ethanol, have a place in each of those market variables, and as they become more readily available, the relationships between each industry, be it cattle, grain or fuel, will become increasingly important for each industry. Ruggles appreciates this flexibility, not only as a cattleman, but as a farmer. About fifteen miles from POET Biorefining – Caro, Mich., Ruggles can sell his extra corn to POET and still reap some of that crop’s rewards, as the distillers grains stays in the area, instead of being carted away by rail. And, he adds, “we seem to have a good relationship. That’s the way our farm is set up, on relationships like this.”

What are distillers grains? Distillers grains were traditionally created as a byproduct of alcohol distilled for human consumption, but as the ethanol distillation process advanced technologically, distillers grains have become more readily available to the livestock producer. Today, the basic types of distillers grains are known as wet or dry. Some distillers in the dried grains category have had previously

extracted components returned to them and are labeled “dried distillers grains with solubles.” There are several variations or minerals and additives possible with these grains, based on what the producer needs for his livestock. When these grains are supplemented with nutrients and minerals needed by the animals they’re going to feed – everything from beef and dairy cattle to swine or chicken and even Fido, they become a tailor-made product. This feed can be a vital part of today’s livestock operations because of its nutrients, according to Dr. David Schingoethe, distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Dairy Sciences Department at South Dakota State University. Schingoethe has been studying distillers grains “since the beginning,” first using distillers grains from SDSU’s early experiments with ethanol and then from POET’s Research Center in Scotland, S.D., in studies with dairy cattle for more than 30 years.

Distillers grains or corn? Schingoethe, who has studied both wet and dry distillers grains, explains that in comparison to corn, which is about ten percent protein on a “dry matter basis,” distillers grains are around thirty percent protein. “So basically, in removing the starch to remove ethanol, you’ve concentrated the protein, the fat

and the fiber in distillers grains, and you get a more concentrated protein,” he said. “The advantage is right now is when we say that distillers grains are less starch, we can get as much milk production from it as feeding corn.” For Lyle Remmerde of Remmerde Farms in Rock Valley, Iowa, the solubles from distillers grains have been a vital component of his family’s work with cattle and hogs for roughly 20 years. Remmerde, his father, son and grandson manage about 500 acres of crop land where they raise corn, in addition to about 5000 head of cattle and 3000 hogs at a time. The family mixes wet distillers grains into corn silage, and often adds syrup [see sidebar, pg. 29] to the feed as an additional nutrient boost. Although the Remmerde family relies mostly on wet cake and syrup in their feeding operations, he has seen a difference in his livestock as these products have been factored in. “We don’t have any hard data to compare carcass quality since [we began using distillers grains] but we have seen that cattle can stay on feed longer. If they’re fed the distillers grain product they have a tendency to keep on growing a bit better. They don’t get to the point, like with corn, where they hit a wall.” What this can mean for someone involved in a cattle or hog operation like Remmerde is a greater yield potential at a price comparable



Ashton, Iowa, says that freight is the biggest consideration for where he picks up the product – the closer the better, in order to keep his freight costs at a minimum. Dennis Phillips, of Phillips Brothers Farm in Wapkoneta, Ohio, has been using Dakota Gold, POET’s branded distillers grains, in feed rations for the 1500 or so head of steers his operation finishes for market, as well as the yearlings they have on hand. He too, has seen a benefit to the formulas he can get from the ethanol plants in the area, POET Biorefining in Leipsic, Ohio and Portland, Ind. “It cheapens up the rations a little bit, because it seems like the wet is a better deal [than straight field corn],” he said. to what would have been paid for corn. Remmerde, who gets his wet cake from POET biorefineries in Chancellor or Hudson, S.D or





Uniformity is key Phillips of Phillips Brothers Farm uses the wet cake variety of distillers grains, and because the

nutrition of each batch of Dakota Gold is so similar, he believes it’s easy to keep his cattle right where they need to be with this product. “They’ve got a sheet of what’s in it, and it’s pretty close to that all the time, so you just put that in your rations and come up with what you want to feed, as far as protein and the rest of it.” Uniformity is a rare thing in distillers grains, says Glen Newhouse, Director of Operations at Kerber Milling Company in Emmetsburg, Iowa. The Kerber Milling operation puts out more than 3,000 tons of complete feed and custom mixes a week, and currently mixes Dakota Gold in as much as 30 percent of the feed it puts out. “When you get a load of Dakota Gold, I don’t care if it’s this week, next week, next month; it’s going to be identical. All the nutrient values, the color, everything about it is going to be 100 percent the same,” adds Newhouse. This flexibility in providing the right kind of nutrients when they are needed, while allowing for other variables, such as regional product availability, is something that makes distillers grains a unique addition to feed products, says Schingoethe. And when you have several head of cattle to feed, uniformity and trusting a reliable product is key. And when so much of these farmer and rancher’s days are based on the unknown, having a solid, reliable product is a welcome change.

What’s in a name? Distillers grains This name describes the corn product left over after the kernel’s starch and some of its oil (fat) has been removed and ethanol has been distilled from a mixture of corn, water and enzymes.

Distillers wet grains Also known as “wet cake,” is a primarily unfermented coproduct of the distillation process that includes protein, fiber, fat and up to 70 percent moisture. Distillers wet grain has a shorter shelf life than dried distillers grain, making it important for the livestock producer to have adequate transportation and storage available.

Distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) This is a dried version of distillers grains, usually containing between 10 to 12 percent moisture. The solubles are from the syrup and contain protein, fat and minerals. They have been added back into this product after distillation.

Syrup A liquid or semi-liquid substance composed of fats extracted from the corn, this supplement is the “solubles” of distillers grain with solubles, and can be added to dried distillers grains by the plant, mill or the individual farmer. It can also be added to silage, field corn or any type of roughage fed to an animal.








When AAA came out against E15, the ethanol industry was quick to point out the fallacies in their statement. by Thom Gabrukiewicz

That’s just plain untrue. These are the words you would have heard from ethanol advocates and industry experts alike when they first saw the American Automobile Association (AAA) claim against E15. The AAA – a collection of automobile clubs with more than 53 million members – released a statement in November that implied that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) needed to reevaluate its approval of E15 into the marketplace. The statement was partially based on what one governmental agency called a flawed study that the oil industry had helped paid for and on an AAA survey, the results of which concluded that “a strong likelihood of consumer confusion and the potential for voided warranties and vehicle damage.” “I am surprised to see an organization so concerned with fuel prices attack a source of American renewable energy that is providing consumers a choice and most importantly, savings at the pump,” said Growth Energy Chief Executive Officer Tom Buis. In June of 2012, EPA officials approved E15 – a blend of 15 percent ethanol per gallon of gasoline – for sale to consumers with vehicles newer than 2001. That accounts for more than 54 percent of all cars and light-duty trucks on the road today. And each one of those drivers has the right to fill up with one of the cleanest fuel sources available, proponents say.

“Obviously they are doing a disservice to their members without getting all the facts – and the fact is, E15 is the most tested fuel in history,” said POET Senior Vice President of Communications Greg Breukelman. “It’s shown to work. The truth is the truth – and we have the luxury of that being on our side.” In 2009, Growth Energy, the public policy organization made up of ethanol producers and supporters, submitted the Green Jobs Waiver to the EPA to increase the amount of ethanol in the nation’s motor fuel supply from 10 to 15 percent. By raising that “blend wall,” the waiver accelerates the use of renewable fuel, increases U.S. energy security, creates U.S. jobs, and improves the environment by displacing conventional gasoline with low-carbon ethanol. “The EPA did over 6 million miles of testing,” Breukelman said. “The study (the AAA) refers to was heavily criticized by the U.S. Department of Energy on its validity.” That study, released by the oil and auto industries in May of 2012, has been roundly criticized by DOE staffers. The study claims mechanical damage and suggests degraded engine performance, emissions and durability on conventional vehicles from the use of E15 or E20 fuel. “We believe the study is significantly flawed,” wrote Patrick B. Davis, the DOE’s Vehicle Technologies



Program Manager. “We believe the choice of test engines, test cycle, limited fuel selection, and failure criteria of the Coordinating Research Council (CRC) program resulted in unreliable and incomplete data, which severely limits the utility of the study.” In fact, the DOE’s own tests used 86 vehicles that were driven up to 120,000 miles each on E10, E15 and E20 blends. Those tests concluded that “no statistically significant loss of vehicle performance (emissions, fuel economy, and maintenance issues) attributable to the use of E15 fuel compared to straight gasoline.” “When it comes to real facts, the verdict is in – E15 performs,” Buis said. “If that is not enough, just ask NASCAR drivers who rely on Sunoco® Green E15 every week on some of the most rigorous and demanding driving conditions. At nearly 4 million miles, their drivers noted only an increase in horsepower and performance.” Since the 2011 racing season, every NASCAR driver – whether driving a Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge or Toyota – has raced with clean, green E15 in their tanks. “RCR’s transition to Sunoco Green E15 was seamless,” said NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, whose stable of drivers include Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard, Jeff Burton and Austin Dillon. “In fact, we’re even seeing some increases in horsepower this year. And as an owner, it’s nice to know that the fuel your cars are burning is made from American-grown corn.” Bottom-line, E15 is not only safe for all those people who own a vehicle made after 2001 – but federal studies and the rigors of testing on NASCAR tracks across the country prove that E15 is good for drivers, and good for America. “This is a fuel that you can feel good about putting into your car,” Breukelman said. “It’s good for your car. It’s good for the environment. It’s good for the national economy.”





This is a fuel you can feel good about putting into your car. It’s good for your car. It’s good for the environment. It’s good for the national economy.

- Greg Breukelman Senior Vice President of Communications - POET

In response to the comments from AAA, a few ethanol proponents had some comments of their own. And they’re making their voices heard. (email to AAA) I have been a member of AAA since 1985. I have decided not to renew my membership. The reason for not renewing is because of your misguided and erroneous position on the use of E-15. I can’t imagine why you would take such a position without doing proper research to get the correct information. E-15 has been tested by the DOE more than any fuel in history. E-10 has reduced imports of foreign oil and lowered the cost of gasoline for the consumer. At the same time it has reduced the amount of harmful emissions and created thousands of jobs. E-15 will only increase these economic and environmental benefits.I have personally used an E-30 blend in my non flex fuel vehicle for the last 3 years without and adverse effects and without any decline in my mpg. I would respectfully request that you revisit your decision and make a proper judgment based upon facts and not erroneous information provided by the oil companies.

-Dennis Batteen

(originally printed in the Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, SD) AAA ignored more than 6 million miles of data and

Department. According to that study, one-third of

misled drivers regarding the safety of renewable fuel

the engines tested with straight gasoline (no ethanol)

for engines in its recent call to suspend use of E15

failed. According to those results, we should stop

(15 percent ethanol fuel).

using regular gasoline until further research confirms its safety.

The fact is, there has been more independent testing of E15 than any other fuel additive, and both the

E15 is reliable, it’s more affordable than many other

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

blends and it supports a South Dakota-made product

Agency have confirmed it for use in vehicles 2001 and

that provides good jobs and bolsters our ag economy.

newer. I know it’s safe because I’ve used higher ethanol

AAA should be ashamed for trying to mislead its

blends in a non-flex fuel vehicle for years. It hasn’t

members and the public, and I for one am pulling my

caused problems, and it has saved me money.

membership from that organization.

AAA pointed to an oil industry-funded study that was noted for being “significantly flawed” by the Energy

- Greg Breukelman POET Sr. Vice President of Communications



PERSPECTIVE Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack said to a farm group in Washington, D.C.

“Rural Americans are becoming less relevant in the country’s increasingly urban landscape.” •••

RICH DANIELS, DOWAGIAC, MICH. Do you agree that rural America is losing influence? And why? I’m not sure, but it seems like we’re at a critical junction for sure. As technology and markets change to fit the needs of our country and changing planet, we have to pull from the resources of our rural communities. In a lot of ways, this means repurposing agricultural products. Manufacturers in our country must adapt and must explore new, creative technologies that utilize the vast resources of ‘rural’ communities.





VICKY KRUGER, KASSON, MINN. Do you agree that rural America is losing influence? And why? I hope not. That’s sad, if that is the case. The people in urban areas need to understand the importance of rural areas, and they need to remember that rural Americans are who built this country. The support starts in our communities, and rural Americans also need to support their own communities by shopping local and supporting local businesses. If the influence of rural areas is slipping, that’s how we need to get it back.

ROBERT MENDEZ, CHICAGO, ILL. Do you agree that rural America is losing influence? And why? It is not too late for rural America to make an impact. The loss of its influence has to do with our dependence on other countries for many of our products and resources, which we receive at a lower cost. In the long run, purchasing outside of rural America will only continue to hurt our economy and force the U.S into a more dependent role.

JAMIE KLEMMENSEN, BLOOMING PRAIRIE, MINN. Do you agree that rural America is losing influence? And why? I think they are losing influence, but I hope that changes. Many of the large farm owners now live in urban areas, and that has taken relevance away from the small farmer. We have to hold on to what’s left of rural America, and that means giving more power back to the small farmers.







Cleaning Up Oil’s Slick Efforts The ethanol industry responds to a misinformation campaign by Marcella Prokop



The story of the U.S. ethanol industry is one of hardworking people coming together to develop and harness the capabilities of an equally hardworking fuel. The industry benefits not only the people who grow the crops or refine the grains and stover used to manufacture today’s biofuels, but also the consumer. And in the same way the men and women of the ethanol industry work to take care of their natural resources, they strive to ensure the safety and choices of the individuals and businesses that rely on their products. However, recent efforts by the American Petroleum Institute (API) to undermine progress in both the biofuels industry and the transportation sector while selling themselves as champions of the people provide an ugly example of how a positive story can be skewed in the media. “Anything that you see on TV from the petroleum industry comes across very positive and proactive,” said Growth Energy Press Secretary Micheal Frohlich. “We hear them say, ‘we’re creating jobs at home, and ‘we’ve got an oil boom,’ and ‘we’re helping with infrastructure,’ but what they’re doing on the side is pushing misinformation, specifically about E15.” In early January the Federal court upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to allow higher ethanol blends into today’s fuels after API and the





Grocery Manufacturers Association petitioned for a rehearing regarding E15. Since then, API and other opponents of renewable fuels have upped their anti-ethanol campaign, citing “independent” research they’ve funded to support their claims, running a spate of negative ads and working with internet media organizations in a “pay for placement” manner that brings their information to the top of the screen whenever an internet search is conducted.

The apex of this “pay for placement” tactic involves a segment aired by Fox Business in which a reporter and AOL Auto writer Lauren Fix discuss the unproven negative effects of E15 on engines. The spot is roughly six minutes long and originally aired in November 2012, but has been making its rounds on the internet due to searches for information on E15. This approach allows API to draw attention away from the viability of ethanol as the industry

API wants every gallon of fuel sold in America to be 100 percent controlled by the oil industry. Renewable fuel is eating away at that control, so API has set out to confuse and alarm both consumers and Congress.

- Ryan Cunningham Senior Vice President of Strategic Communications - The Glover Park Group

reaches an important juncture in development and production. “They realize that this year is one of those critical years where the blend wall can potentially be scaled,” Frohlich said. “I think they see that we’re cutting into their margins and another five percent could bump that up, and E15 could easily become E30, with higher octane properties.” For an industry as new and promising as ethanol to cut into the oil industry’s profits would certainly be of concern to them, said Ryan Cunningham, Senior Vice President of Strategic Communications at The Glover Park Group. “It’s plain dollars and cents. API wants every gallon of fuel sold in America to be 100 percent controlled by the oil industry. Renewable fuel is eating away at that control, so API has set out to confuse and alarm both consumers and Congress.” If this story of smoke and mirrors sounds familiar, it is. In 2008 the Grocery Manufactures Association – the same group that partnered with API to overturn the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – launched an ethanol disinformation campaign blitz that was later challenged by Iowa Senator Charles Grassley on the Senate floor. It’s also the same strategy used by fossil fuel interests campaigning against renewable electricity, or tobacco

companies seeking to protect their own interests. “The good news,” Cunningham says, “is that the facts – and the consumers – are on the side of renewables.” Having the facts on one’s side doesn’t make the fallacies disappear, however, and over the past few years the ethanol industry has seen its share of criticism, learning in the process that open communication with the public is the best way to respond. Groups like Growth Energy, Fuels America and The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance, to name a few, have formed to combat the negative press and image pushed by some opponents of renewable fuels. This is done by spreading their message of truth and clarity. The members of these groups – which include farmers, consumers, researchers and even gas station owners – work together to promote the idea that, as Fuels America says on its homepage, “renewable fuel is good for the U.S. economy, for our nation’s energy security and for the environment.” The coalitions and consumers who support ethanol know this already, and are using a variety of platforms to communicate with individuals who may not be aware of the value behind biofuels. Resources like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and a host of blogs allow biofuel information to reach the public in an organic and honest

manner. For Frohlich, this kind of communication strategy just makes sense for this industry. “I think grassroots is the way that we are ultimately going to win this battle. API has half the followers [on Twitter] and Fuels America really just started going last September. It’s taking some time, but there is a strong following, and it’s not just in the Midwest,” he said. “It’s people that recognize that oil is a finite resource and one day it will run out, so we need to do something about it. If we can make a cleaner burning, more renewable source of energy that helps Americans, and creates more US jobs, what’s holding us back?” As gas prices near record highs for this time of year and President Obama sets a broad agenda for renewable fuels, Cunningham offers some advice for ethanol supporters. “First, if you see an article or news story that attacks renewable fuel, write a letter to the editor defending the industry. has facts and figures you can use to fight back. Second, when you see good news about the renewable fuel industry, share it. Email it to your local newspaper and TV stations, and share it on Facebook and Twitter.”



it could be your job to

change the


Project LIBERTY is a commercial-scale, cellulosic ethanol plant scheduled to begin operations in Emmetsburg, Iowa in late 2013. Operations will create approximately 45 new jobs in the region.

poet iS Seeking pioneerS to fill the following poSitionS throughout 2013: accountant // eh&S aSSiStant // lab aSSiStant // plant MerchandiSer // electrician // lab technician

Material handler // plant engineer // contract adMiniStrator // field coordinator // Shift SuperviSor // technician

To view positions or apply online, please visit

Project LIBERTY is a POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels Project

renew Mission Greenhouse In June, fifteen POET team members and three family members, will leave the comfort of the Midwest and travel half way around the world to Kenya, Africa. Their mission will be to build a greenhouse

An existing greenhouse at Travellers’ Oasis Centre

100 meters by 15 meters in five days for an all-girls school. This school, though, isn’t the type of school you would see in the Midwest, and the students have lived anything but an easy life. This boarding school hosts students who come mostly from the slums of Nairobi and most have lost their parents to disease, famine and general hard living. The goal of the Travellers’ Oasis Centre in Sultan Hamud, Kenya is to provide education to girls, developing their academic skills as well as their moral and spiritual character. The school provides the

Students at Travellers’ Oasis Centre in Sultan Hamud, Kenya

girls with safety above all else as well as food, shelter, medical and clothing. Working with World Servants, an organization who provides cross cultural short term mission trips, the POET team members will spend five days building a greenhouse for the school. The purpose of the greenhouse is to not only provide food for the students, but to teach these girls the skills to be self-reliant.

Students at Travellers’ Oasis Centre in Sultan Hamud, Kenya

Mission Greenhouse is a multi-year project with a goal to build more greenhouses enabling the school to be self-sufficient in their food needs, eventually providing the school with enough produce to sell. To prepare for the trip and the costs, the team members will be doing some fast and furious fundraising. Mission trips are not cheap, but the experience far outweighs the cost.

An existing greenhouse at Travellers’ Oasis Centre

If you would like to donate to their cause, write a check to World Servants and mail it to the POET Corporate Office (4615 N Lewis Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104). You will be a part of this amazing experience and you will receive a tax deduction on your gift. To follow their trip, “Like” POET’s Facebook page and watch for a feature story on their trip in the summer issue of Vital.





An existing greenhouse at Travellers’ Oasis Centre

POET takes to Des Moines In February, the POET public policy team from Sioux Falls and two POET Biorefining General Managers from Iowa spent the day with state legislators in Des Moines. The group met with Senator Daryl Beall, Representative Linda Miller and Governor Terry Branstad to talk about issues important to the biofuels industry. Making contact with your elected officials is critical to helping us promote all of the benefits of biofuels – economic benefits, job creation, energy independence, and cleaner air just to name a few. Keeping in touch with your elected leaders has a significant impact, and it should be done on a regular basis to ensure that our message is heard.

Contacting Congress: Your Voice Matters Many former congressional staffers will tell you that

Your elected leaders need to know how important

your phone calls, emails and visits to congressional

our industry is to our economy, agriculture, and

offices do matter.

national security.

As an ethanol proponent, you can take action and

It only takes seconds to contact your elected

be an advocate to help counter the lies being spread

officials. Add their phone numbers to your contacts

by the oil industry. When the RFS or E15 are under

today. It does make a difference.

attack and being threatened, the most effective thing you can do is call or email your federal congressional delegation to voice your opinion and request that he or she support the biofuels industry. If they are already supportive, thank them for being advocates and ask for their continued efforts.

Email or sign up

at to receive email alerts when Congress is debating biofuels issues that need your attention.

PROJECT LIBERTY UPDATE The steel is rising and buildings are becoming recognizable. The physical structure of POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels’ cellulosic venture, Project LIBERTY, is taking shape in Emmetsburg, Iowa. The cellulosic facility will sit adjacent to POET Biorefining – Emmetsburg, an 8-year-old grain-based ethanol plant. In the coming months, construction will continue at a vigorous pace and hiring for team members will begin.

The Biomass Receiving Building The biomass receiving building will prepare biomass bales for processing. Bales will be brought in from storage in the adjacent stack yard or directly from the farmer’s field. This is the first step of the cellulosic ethanol process and construction on this building



through the summer.





Fermentation & Saccharification This portion of the construction was one of the first to take shape on site. Emmetsburg residents have been able to see one tank rise after another. Construction on this section will also continue through the summer.



A Look to the Future Engineers at POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels have created a rendering of the completed construction of Project LIBERTY. Here you see a forecast of what the finished facility will look like.

Project LIBERTY Rendering

POET Biorefining - Emmetsburg





Global Deal of the Year POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels won the Global Deal of the Year at the 2013 Sustainable Biofuels Awards ceremony in March in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The Sustainable Biofuels Awards recognize the “tremendous innovation that is taking place in the development of truly sustainable and renewable fuels.” The award was given in recognition of the partnership’s integrated technology package that converts corn crop residue to cellulosic ethanol, and its objective of licensing this technology for use by third parties globally as well as in POET’s network of 27 corn ethanol plants.

123374 CES POET half pg ad_Layout 1 2/15/13 3:53 PM Page 1

When we invest in our nation’s energy needs, we also invest in its future. That’s why as one of America’s leading energy delivery companies, we partner with ethanol producers and our extensive network of natural gas suppliers to discover alternative, sustainable energy sources to keep our country running. 800-495-9880

CenterPoint Energy Services Reliable service. People you trust.

© 2013 CenterPoint Energy 123374

barometer Safety Always

Outstanding No Lost-Time Achievements



Bingham Lake, MN (Nov 2012)

Improvements POET Biorefineries as a group made over 2011 total injuries reduced

33 %

lost time injuries reduced

days away from work reduced

Emmetsburg, IA (Feb 2013)

POET Biorefining Safety Success 48



18 15 10






Big Stone, SD (Dec 2012)

plants did not have a lost time injury in 2012 plants have gone at least 2 years without a lost time injury plants have gone at least 4 years without a lost time injury

73 %

21 % 50 %

workers’ compensation

incurred losses (claim costs)

Winning Gold POET Biorefining – Hanlontown earned the GOLD award for their 2012 performance. Their reported incident rate was less than 25 percent of the national average for the ethanol industry (national average 3.7).

25 %

incident rate

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Safety POET Biorefining – Alexandria created a unique activity to keep safety top of mind for team members. The program called Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Safety, allows team members to earn points which move them along the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. Activities can be earned by providing feedback on the Safety Feedback Form, completing safety observation walk through in the facility or creating a personalized safety poster. Ryan Lindeman, Environmental Health and Safety Specialist at POET Biorefining – Alexandria, created the program. He placed the yellow brick road on a wall in the administration building at the plant and moves the team members’ characters as they earn points. All team members who reach the Emerald City will participate in a celebration at year’s end.

Performance E85 Kip Hanson, Operator at the POET Biorefining – Lake Crystal

E85 is very popular for performance applications because of

facility and car enthusiast, is using E85 to optimize his 2003

the 106 octane rating. Use of E85 in this type of engine allows

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII. It packs a 2.0L 16V DOHC

Kip to improve engine performance through finer tuning of

intercooled turbocharged inline 4 cylinder.

the engine and pushing the components to a higher level of performance. These improvements are possible due to the ability to further advance timing due to a reduction in issues caused by engine knock and pinging, the ability to lower the coolant temperatures and reduction in exhaust temperatures. The car, which comes from the factory with 280 horsepower at the crankshaft and 234 foot pounds of torque to the wheels, now to produces 362 horsepower and 370 foot pounds of torque to the wheels. The cost of the modifications to achieve this performance was $540. An additional benefit is that E85 is reasonable to purchase versus racing fuel or premium gasoline. Kip plans to race his car on a quarter mile track in the near future. The car runs 13.1 seconds on a quarter mile track at 105 mph without modifications. With the improvements that have been made and ethanol to fuel the vehicle, Kip hopes to achieve low 11 second passes at 120mph.



An Effective Leader Bringing a passion for humanity and a practical approach, POET’s Chief Technology Officer leads POET’s team of scientists and researchers into the future of biofuels. by Steve Lange | photo by Greg Latza





Wade Robey’s resume reads like a by-thebook blueprint for what you might expect from the Chief Technology Officer at POET. A twenty-five year career in the Agricultural biotech industry. Strong academic credentials with advanced degrees in Agricultural Science and Nutrition. And a job history which has included very senior roles in both business and technology management at “food, feed, and fuel” focused companies like Monsanto, Cargill, Syngenta, and Novozymes allowing him to work extensively in all world areas across his career. “It’s not just Wade’s strong science background that makes him so effective,” says Steve Redford, POET’s Senior Director of Engineering Research. “He’s also a very good manager who knows the best ways to challenge

the people working for him. He has a very logical and pragmatic approach to people as well as projects. He’s the kind of manager that makes you better.” For Wade, that’s the kind of feedback that means the most. “I’ve worked hard at being a good manager,” Robey says. “That’s extremely important to me. Mostly, I’ve just learned to hire the very best people and then work hard to understand and motivate them.” And when it comes to that “logical and pragmatic” tag, Robey admits that the description carries over to his personal life as well, even into areas where words like “logical” and “pragmatic” wouldn’t normally apply. Like in his love for what he calls “collecting,” or what his wife correctly refers to as “hoarding.”

Let’s get the negative out of the way first. So you went to Auburn University and Virginia Tech? Wade: War Eagle! Or I should say War Damn Eagle!

years now. She’s fantastic and I am a very lucky man. I met her at Cargill. She’s a brilliant scientist and a great manager. She took a job here with Raven Industries when I took the job at POET. She actually holds a Ph.D. in fermentation microbiology although she has enjoyed the challenge of working in a completely different field now.

I’m an Alabama football fan. Roll Tide! So I’m going to ask you about some of my favorite Alabama-Auburn games. The first one is 1985. Wade: Oh no! Was that the Van Tiffin game? Happy Birthday, Bo, from Van Tiffin’s toe. Yes! That was the game Van Tiffin kicked a 52-yard field goal to beat Auburn on Bo Jackson’s birthday. Wow. You really do know this stuff. Wade: I hated that game. I don’t want to talk about that. What do you want to talk about? Wade: My wife and kids. OK. Talk about your wife. Wade: Alison and I have been married for about six

And your kids? Wade: I have two children (Amanda and Wade) by a previous marriage, and they’re both grown. I have one grandbaby, Benjamin, and he’s six now. You always hear about grandkids being a different experience, and it absolutely is. It’s wonderful. I can spoil him rotten and then hand him off to my daughter for discipline. What brought you to POET? Wade: I’d been aware of POET for a number of years. I very much admired the business that Jeff Broin had built. When the opportunity came I jumped at it. You don’t always get to work for a company that’s really



doing good for humanity. What POET is trying to do will benefit me, will benefit my children, will benefit my grandchildren.

get back into it. I have a bad tendency – whatever I’m interested in I start collecting. So I have a fairly large number of guitars now.

When did you decide this is what you wanted to do? Wade: Growing up in Miami – I didn’t grow up on a farm, I didn’t grow up in a rural area – my first interest was really in the veterinary sciences. I wanted to be a veterinarian.

Were you ever in a band? Wade: No. When I lived in North Carolina my son and I would go around to places where they had open mic night. I’d play guitar. He’d play guitar and sing. He is moving here to S.D. this spring so I am excited that we will be able to jam together again.

Did you have pets as a kid? Wade: We bred a lot of dogs, Dobermans mostly, and I always loved animals. I worked part time at a vet clinic ... Then I was visiting Auburn University on what they call Ag Day, and I was hooked. Steve Redford [the Senior Director of Engineering Research, who works for Robey] said one of the biggest reasons he came to work for you is that he was impressed with your pragmatic and logical approach to things. Wade: He’s looking for a raise. (laughing) He’s being very kind. We all are. Are you pragmatic and logical? Wade: I hope so. I try to have a very practical, commercial-type of approach. I view what we do here in POET Research as a business. We take the investments the company makes in technology and we are focused on developing tangible products or process improvements that we can commercialize to improve the bottom-line competitiveness of our biorefineries. He said you have a management style in which you challenge him and that you’re a good manager because your style depends on who you’re managing. Is that fair? Wade: I think so. I try to be fair and consistent. Those are two things that are extremely important to me. What I’ve learned across the course of my career is that everyone’s different, and everyone responds differently to rewards or points for improvement. It’s critical as a manager to understand your team and know which approach is needed. I understand you play guitar, how often do you have the opportunity to play? Wade: Not as much as I would like to. My son and I have played together, which we enjoy a lot. I’m trying to





Are there other collections you have? Wade: I collect all sorts of things. I accumulate. Are you some sort of hoarder? Wade: I would like to think that I’m an extremely organized, meticulous hoarder. Yeah. That’s still hoarding. Wade: It drives my wife crazy because she’s a tosser. She continues to try to throw away things that I collect. But I hope this will improve with time, as I still have her in training. You said that. Not me. Any other hobbies? Wade: I hunt and fish. I garden, both vegetable and flower gardening. I was involved in the martial arts for a good part of my life. These are all things I am very passionate about. You’ve been at POET for two years. How does it compare to other places you’ve worked? Wade: POET is a place where everyone believes in what we’re doing here. They don’t just talk about leaving your ego at the door. It’s really lived here in the organization, much more than in any other organization I’ve been in before. We all have a singular purpose of achieving the goals we’ve set for ourselves as an organization and there is a strong feeling that we are pulling in the same direction. I love it. It’s why I’m here. It’s why I am so excited about the future for the company. We are going to make a difference.

TALLY Do you agree that rural America is losing influence?

Secretary of Agriculture, Tom


Vilsack said to a farm group


in Washington, D.C. “Rural Americans are becoming


less relevant in the country’s


increasingly urban landscape.”






CONUNDRUM ACROSS 1. Farm division 5. Fairy tale villain 9. Rascals 13. Scowl 14. Hunt for 15. Move stealthily 16. In Brazil, ethanol is produced from this 18. Ancient Tiber river city 19. Photo ___ (media events) 20. Mark’s successor 21. Flexible 22. Wriggly fish 23. Absorb, as a cost 24. Engines that use a mixture of gasoline and ethanol 29. Gets mad 33. Monk 34. Award of honor 31. Long-snouted endangered

37. Part of a list


38. Columns’ line

1. “Not to mention ...”

32. Avalanche

39. Palm tree

2. Masterstroke

35. Blows away

40. Article in constant use

3. Floor coverings

39. Water lizard

41. Used a keyboard

4. Memorable time

41. Nicholas II, for one

43. Give off

5. Sponge opening

42. The number by which a

44. Twilled cloths

6. Equipment

dividend is divided

47. So to speak

7. Sparks neighbor

45. Loose talk

49. Fertility clinic stock

8. Manage, with “out”

46. Call up

50. Chow checker

9. Undisturbed

48. Kennedy and Turner

51. Perceptive device

10. Intro to physics?

51. Farm basket

54. Spoke

11. Bread in a Paris cafe

52. Dublin’s location

56. Paltry amount

12. Singing type

53. All’s opposite

59. Sales booth

15. Sun related

54. Duck breed

60. Ethanol fuel reduces

17. Seaman’s concern

55. Capitol Hill worker

tailpipe _____

21. Rind

56. Better half--___ mate

62. Broadcaster, Harwell

22. Test

57. A while back

63. Fix up

24. Darts

58. Brought into play

64. Italian title

25. Wood-working machine

60. Formerly

65. Chick’s sound

26. Arab ruler

61. Driver’s lic. and others

66. Decorative pitcher

27. Spooky

67. Husky burden

28. Parkinson’s drug

36. Criticize

30. Choice





animal of South America


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The Joy of Competition It dawned on me while driving home from my “oldman” hockey league this past February that I indeed might have a problem. I had just spent the past hour playing a buffet of former hockey has-beens and current hockey dads in essentially a pick-up game of 3-on-3 hockey. The game took place at a rink that was modified to fit the dimensions of what was previously an old grocery store in downtown Lakeville, MN. Therefore the only possible connection to the Excel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild, was potentially the smell of the locker rooms. And yet here I was in my truck at 11:30 p.m., pulling out of the parking lot and past the local hardware store …assessing my performance. Our standing room only crowd that night consisted of a party of one, the Zamboni driver, who was clearly pleading for someone to pull the “curtain” (or a hamstring) on what was more Shakespearian Tragedy and less a quality display of hockey. Yet even the following morning there I was offering my sons, Griffin and Tanner, a replay of the highlights from the game the previous night, as well as their dad’s stat line and vanquished scoring opportunities, which if I’m honest included a handful of Paul Bunyan-like embellishments. I have no idea what I’ll do when they’re actually old enough to stay up past 10 o’clock p.m. to come watch their dad play in real time. Retirement might be the only option. Time and again I’ve seen this pattern play out in my life, with the trend seemingly accelerating as I get older. Last summer it drove me to enter Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN despite only running up to 14 miles twice in my slimmed down 6-week training regimen. I figured a month and half was more than enough preparation time for an “athlete” of my caliber. I was wrong. At mile marker 20 I tumbled to the ground in a heap after my left knee gave out. This invariably forced me to humbly crawl off the side of the road while hundreds of well-wishers gazed on; none offering even





an ounce of sympathy and at least one suggesting I deserved an Oscar nomination for what they presumed was a well-timed exit stage right. I immediately flagged a cop, who then radioed a bus. The caravan for other eliminated, high-caliber athletes arrived promptly an hour later. I slouched down into the only open seat left, which just happened to be next to a sizable gentleman wearing a t-shirt that read, “I run because my wife makes me.” This was not the triumphal entry into the Olympic stadium I had dreamed of the previous night. To this day my youngest son still calls me DNF when the moment moves him, and I still wear my timing chip from that marathon on my left running shoe. Apparently neither of us are completely over it. This begs the question can the words “joy” and “competition” even co-exist in a healthy, lasting relationship? To which I would reply…there is simply no other way to live! I don’t care if your thing is bake sales, bowling, or baccarat. Since the day we were first instructed to “run in such a way as to win the prize” we’ve had no other choice but to embrace our hardwired reality and innate desire to compete. And I offer this not as mandate to obsess over perceived wins and losses, but rather as the possible encouragement to go out and crush whatever it is that drives you every morning. Do I have a problem? Yeah, several, just ask my wife but competing isn’t one of them.

Marcus Ludtke graduated from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn., in 2001 and started working for POET Risk Management in May of that year. His primary responsibilities include managing POET’s corn position and market research.

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Vital Magazine - Spring 2013  

Vital Magazine - Spring 2013