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SUN the SOIL& the SEED


Mission Greenfield

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun POET’s Lake Crystal, MN biorefinery is making a lasting impact

Priming the Pump E15 availability is gaining momentum through expansion with Sheetz

America’s Renewable Future Making the Renewable Fuels Standard a presidential campaign issue Spring 2015

Rebecca Mbithi by a plot where she dramatically improved corn yields through deep tillage.

contents FEATURES



by Steve Lange Mission Greenfield is changing the way of life in Kenya, as well as the fields.



by Darrell Boone Being a good neighbor is essential to the team at POET Biorefining – Lake Crystal, MN.



by Lori Weaver The E15 movement is gaining momentum with its expansion into Sheetz convenience stores in North Carolina.

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



by Janna Farley The administrative team fills a wide range of roles at each POET Biorefinery and they are essential to making sure the day-to-day activities are completed.



by Peter Harriman The Iowa Caucuses will be used as a springboard to make the Renewable Fuels Standard a presidential campaign issue.

contents COLUMNS




by Jeff Broin



by Jeff Lautt



by Greg Breukelman



08 10 18 24 32 34 48 52






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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. ©2015 POET, LLC. All rights reserved. Publication Design & Layout: Cassie Medema info@gofunkyfresh.com

HIGHER YIELD. BETTER RETURNS. Together, we maximize the potential of biofuel. We work with our customers to develop the most advanced new technologies and solutions in the industry. As a true partner, we seek to maximize the potential of biofuel. For more information, visit www.bioenergy.novozymes.com.

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© Novozymes A/S · 2013-14677-03

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




















of this new corn going to go? If you look at uses of corn over time, ethanol is the only viable alternative use for this excess corn. The oil industry would prefer to keep us at a 10 percent blend to maximize their volume and profits, but ethanol production must continue to increase in the face of increasing corn yields if we are going to have a stable ag economy. Make no mistake – the battle over our world’s fuel supply is underway. Big Oil and Agriculture are at war. If oil wins this battle and ethanol fails to move beyond a 10 percent blend, consumers will inevitably see high prices at the pump and farmers will see decreasing farm income and land values for years to come. I invite you to join me, POET and Growth Energy in this battle. It will take drive, passion and investment from all of us. Farmers, agriculture companies and ethanol producers need to band together. As with all great battles, it will be difficult and take perseverance, but the rewards can be great. Join Growth Energy at www.growthenergy.org to learn more about what you can do to help us win. General Douglas MacArthur once said, “It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.” Like it or not, we are already in this war and I am certain if we all work together we will bring home a victory for our investors, our farmers, our country and our world.






















I was 14 years old when my dad decided our family needed to find a new way to market low-priced corn. At the time, the federal government was paying farmers to store corn. They were also paying farmers to idle land by paying them to “set aside acres.” Corn was selling for $1.30 a bushel while it cost $2.75 a bushel to grow. And there seemed to be no end in sight. My dad knew there had to be a better way. My dad believed in hard work and was blessed with good old fashioned common sense. It didn’t seem logical to him to be paid to be less productive. But he did understand the additional value ethanol production could bring to this excess grain, so the decision was made to start producing ethanol right there on the family farm. Dad was right. Since that small, humble start, the industry has grown and created an entirely new market for corn and helped bring new opportunity to rural America and family farms across the Midwest. In fact, ethanol played a major role in increasing land values by as much as 300% in areas surrounding our plants from 2008 to 2014. Take a look at this graph below. The relationship between growing ethanol production and strong net farm income is undeniable. However, the E10 blend wall that has resulted from regulatory issues in Washington has caused a plateau in ethanol production that is having a ripple effect throughout the ag economy. Perhaps the most obvious sign is the recent reductions in farm income and land values. At this important time for agriculture, it is critical that farmers let their senators and representatives know how important the ethanol industry is to the American farm and our local economies. If lawmakers turn their backs now, we’re bound to see depressed farm incomes and much lower land values. The current national yield average is 160 bushels of corn per acre, but I’ve seen technology that exists today that can boost yields to over 300 bushels. Where is all

Ethanol Production

Net Farm Income *Source: USDA ERS

(F): Forecasted

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It looks like a blessing Today as U.S. drivers pull up to the pump, they see gas prices at levels that most of us thought we’d never see again. As summer driving season approaches, the traditional family road trip looks a lot more attractive. Some have even argued that the need for renewable alternatives is gone. But dig down a little deeper and it becomes clear that the low price of oil is making a case for more renewable fuel rather than less. The prices we see today are thanks to a decision made by one nation – Saudi Arabia – to not cut back its production as it has under similar market conditions in the past. The Saudis are putting U.S. oil producers under a stress test to see how well they hold up when margins get slim. And if one decision by one OPEC nation can cut our oil prices in half, imagine what they can do if they decide to restrict the market rather than flood it. The fact is our economy depends on the good will of nations far from our shores, and that’s a problem. The only solution is greater consumer choice at the pump, and the most abundant and cost-competitive option today is ethanol. “How is POET doing with gas prices so low?” is a common question I hear. My answer is that POET is doing fine, as it always has. Market fluctuations are a part of the business, and we’ve built this company with that understanding. We’ve seen years where corn prices rose to $8 per bushel, and we’ve seen years like 2014 where they fall to $3. We’ve seen gas prices move by $2 per gallon in a relatively short time. Everyone knows that low gas prices are not here to stay. Fluctuations are a part of the game that we’ve come to expect.





Ethanol saves consumers money at the pump by expanding our fuel supply, by providing a lower-cost option and by changing the dynamics of U.S. trade, among other things. By one estimate, ethanol has saved Americans more than $1 per gallon thanks to those factors, and third-party analysts have shown that ethanol is saving consumers billions of dollars per year simply by offering a competing product in the marketplace. And those aren’t the only reasons we have prioritized renewable fuel production. Ethanol is clean octane, replacing harmful and expensive chemicals in gasoline that damage human health. It is economic stability across rural America. And it is national security, proving that there is no reason for us to continue to funnel dollars into corrupt parts of the world when we are capable of providing energy for ourselves. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently spoke about the true costs of our country’s use of fossil fuels. He said that we can’t only look at our immediate energy needs. We need to consider the cost of pollution. “We have to factor in the cost of survival.” With that in mind, our pursuit of clean energy today is far more affordable than paying for the negative consequences of fossil fuels in the future. Our nation, through the Renewable Fuel Standard, took the long view and recognized that investment today has far-reaching benefits. Short-term market fluctuations don’t change that reality. America needs ethanol, and POET’s here to provide it now and in the future.



THANKS FOR BEING SOME OF THE FIRST RETAILERS TO OFFER E15. Growth Energy commends CENEX, MAPCO, Minnoco, Murphy USA, Petro Serve USA, Protec Fuel, Sheetz and Zarco USA for their pioneering spirit and efforts to expand consumer access to higher blends of renewable fuels. They offer consumers a choice and savings at the pump, while investing in a homegrown industry that supports farmers across the country. Together we’re making progress toward the next generation of sustainable, renewable fuels.

Learn more at GrowthEnergy.org/E15



Brock Weeldreyer





New license plates. #Ethanol

Which potential 2016 candidates


support #biofuels? Tune into the @IowaAgSummit & find out: iowaagsummit.com


Iowa RFA @iowafuel



Asked if he supported the #RFS

“Cutting grain-based #ethanol

after his #iaag appearance,

effectively nullifies the entire

@LindseyGrahamSC said: “I do.

RFS.” – POET-DSM Board Chair

I voted for it twice.” #iacaucus

Jeff Lautt on today’s Toomey/ Feinstein bill





Carol Hunter @carolhunter


Matt Merritt @mdmerritt

Rick Santorum says he bases

If anyone thinks they can cut

his RFS support on national

part of the RFS… “@POETDSM:

security, the nation’s need to

These technologies [grain

produce its own liquid fuels.

#ethanol and cellulosic] are very


synergistic. – Lautt”



Senator Joe Donnelly @SenDonnelly Joe tests

ethanol & feed for color & moisture level to make sure it’s ready for

Twitter is a forum

customers @ethanolbyPOET #DonnellyDay

for thousands of conversations taking


Project Gaia

place in 140-character


comments, with

What an honor to be followed by @TomBuisGE –

participants from all

thanks for all you do for the world & #ethanol – it

over the world. People

changes lives daily in clean #cookstoves

or organizations are represented by user


Elizabeth BT @eburnsthompson

“This is a critical time for our industry…and we call

names such as @ethanolbypoet. The topic of

on the EPA to support a strong biofuels industry.”

conversation is often

@GovJayNixon #IRFA2015

highlighted with a hashtag (#). This is a sampling of what’s being said about energy


Growth Energy @GrowthEnergy

and biofuels. The comments do

#E15 is coming to 60 @sheetz locations

not necessarily

in North Carolina! RT if you’d make a

represent the

#SheetzRun for lower price, homegrown fuels!

opinions of POET, LLC.




PULSE 3/15 “From our initial seamless transition to Sunoco Green E15, a 15 percent American-grown, American-made ethanol racing fuel blend in Daytona in 2011 to 7 million miles reached here at Phoenix International Raceway, NASCAR has shown under the most demanding competition that E15 is safe, reliable and it works.” - Dr. Michael Lynch, Vice President, NASCAR Green Innovation and STEM Platforms.

3/12 “POET-DSM invested hundreds of millions of dollars into bringing cellulosic ethanol technology to commercial scale based on the promise of the Renewable Fuel Standard as originally written into law. Congress should stand behind that policy so that investment in clean, domestic energy can continue here in the U.S.” - Dan Cummings, president of POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, in a recent story about possible changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

3/12 “If we are to ever realize the promise of the RFS, we must allow it to continue. New fuels and technologies are being commercialized. Markets for higher level blends are materializing. Now is not the time to pull the rug out from under investors and consumers who share the bipartisan vision of a more economic and environmentally secure energy future.” – Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, in a USA Today opinion piece.

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.





3/8 “It’s an access issue, and so it’s something I’m willing to go forward on continuing the Renewable Fuel Standard and pressing the EPA to make sure there’s certainty in terms of the blend levels set.” – Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) during the Iowa Ag Summit held in Des Moines.

2/23 “Therefore, I would invite you to visit Iowa and directly engage with the people impacted the most by your regulatory choices. It is critical to hear and see how your proposed changes to WOTUS and failure to put forth required levels for the RFS could, and have, impacted farmers, biofuel producers, and all of the important related industries.” – Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy urging her to visit Iowa and hear how EPA proposals would impact Iowans.

2/19 “Gas stations across America are offering ethanol blended gasoline that is less expensive than regular gas – E15 saves consumers between 5 and 15 cents per gallon. Ethanol increases the available fuel supply, driving down the demand for oil and reducing the price of gasoline for all drivers regardless of whether they choose a higher blend fuel like E15.”

1/13 “Energy diversification is in the national interest, which is why the federal government should be wary of undercutting cellulosic ethanol production at the very time it’s making significant progress.” – an Omaha World-Herald editorial on the impact of the cellulosic ethanol industry.

– Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, in an opinion piece submitted to The Hill.

2/17 “POET is leading the way in catalyzing a new market in Haiti for household energy. Ethanol offers perhaps the greatest opportunity to revitalize the agriculture sector and offer families a clean and affordable alternative to charcoal. By working with a strong local partner like Novogaz, the first shipment of donated ethanol will lay the foundation for a viable and socially responsible Haitian business to grow.” - Brady Luceno, assistant director of Project Gaia, following the first shipment of ethanol to power clean cookstoves in Haiti.





Mission Greenfield is changing the way of life in Kenya, as well as the fields. by Steve Lange






Rebecca Mbithi by a plot where she planted the conventionally used indigenous varieties with shallow tilling. She will not harvest corn from this plot.

Daniel Muthoka of the Kianzio village is inspecting his maize which was planted with a new variety and deep tillage.

In June of 2012, POET Founder Jeff Broin and his family were on a mission trip in Kenya, helping to build a school for deaf children. The entire time he was there, though, Broin couldn’t stop studying the Kenyan corn. “I saw all this corn that was three feet tall with no ears on it,” says Broin, who grew up planting and harvesting crops on his family’s farm in Minnesota. “It was the worst looking corn I’d seen in my life.” When Broin talked to a local farmer, the man explained that the region was in the middle of a drought. “There will be a famine,” the farmer’s wife told him. Nearly 75 percent of Kenya’s population relies on farming for their livelihood. With 45 percent of Kenyans living below the national poverty line, the country’s frequent droughts can be devastating. “We drove past thousands of acres and I thought, ‘How is it possible this crop looks this bad?’” says Broin. “In the U.S., we have drought and we get lower yields, but we don’t get a total crop loss.”

For the remainder of the ten-day-long mission trip, Broin spent his free time talking to farmers, studying soil and researching local farming practices. When he returned to South Dakota, Broin couldn’t stop thinking about that corn crop, 8,500 miles away in the town of Tawa, Kenya. He knew that POET could make a difference. Broin gave a report to the POET board, made some calls to DuPont to ask about supplying seed and reached out to Farm Input Promotions Africa (FIPS), a Kenya-based non-profit that works with local farmers to increase yields through improved crop varieties and better crop and soil management practices. In September of 2013, the POET Foundation created Mission Greenfield, a project designed to improve agricultural yields in Africa by helping to fund dozens of Village Based Advisors (VBAs) around the Tawa region in Kenya. These VBAs are area farmers (half of whom are women, who make up 80 percent of Kenyan farmers)



Ruth Mwikali by a plot where she planted an improved maize variety after deep tilling her land using a spring jembe (hoe).

who work with Mission Greenfield (through FIPS) to learn effective agricultural practices, which they can then pass along to other farmers in their region. In less than two years, Mission Greenfield’s target area has seen a significant increase in crop yields. The same fields that produced one bag of corn per quarter acre just a year ago are producing up to five bags this season. The number of malnourished households in this region has been reduced by 25 percent. The statistics, while impressive, don’t tell the human side of the story. Paul Seward has spent the past two decades working to improve agricultural development in Kenya and Tanzania. As the Managing Director at FIPS, he serves as the in-Kenya contact for Mission Greenfield. And he sees the real-life results of those numbers. “The changes and improvements we are talking about are having a real impact on people’s lives,” says Seward, who has spent much of his career empowering small-scale farmers to become food secure. “All you have to do is see some of the children here who have





gone from eating two meals a day to three meals a day. Suddenly they look well-fed and well-nourished. That’s the kind of difference we can make.” In sub-Saharan Africa, that difference can sometimes be as basic as helping farmers to vaccinate their livestock. In the Tawa region, chickens were dying from Newcastle Disease and Mission Greenfield was able to help farmers get access to the vaccine. For many farmers, that meant their chicken population increased from an average of three chickens last year to as many as 30 this year. That means ten times as many eggs. That means extra chickens to sell for things like school fees, medicine and clothing. That, coupled with those extra crop yields – with increases up to five fold – can mean the difference between sustenance farming and farming that allows families to not just survive, but thrive. “It’s like teaching a man to fish – it changes their whole economic system,” says Broin. “Previously, many of these farmers grew and raised about half as much as they needed to feed their family. Now, when they get three to five times the previous yield, they

can feed their family and they have extra to sell. They can afford to buy seed and fertilizer, buy lumber to build on to their house so their kids have a decent place to sleep, put clothes on their kids and pay for their schooling. That money jumpstarts the entire economy.” With 60 VBAs each working with 200 farmers, Mission Greenfield is impacting 12,000 farms – an estimated 72,000 people. It’s an impact that comes primarily through technology, donations and education. “We can help each farm for a year for the price of a meal at McDonald’s,” says Broin. “That’s just the

beginning. We are also helping farmers get seedlings for fruit trees so they can have fruit. We’re working with edible beans and cassava [an edible root]. We’re sharing technology that these farmers can use forever.” Mission Greenfield helps supply small seed packs, which allows farmers to experiment with improved crop varieties on their own farms. When research revealed that deeper tillage could increase yields, advisors encouraged farmers to use a hoe-like tool called a spring jembe, which breaks through the hardpan layer of soil and allows more rainwater to penetrate the soil. Kenyan farmer Ruth Muli took advantage of both a new seed variety and the deeper tillage created by the spring jembe. “I expect to harvest five bags of maize, which will be enough to feed my family for a year,” she says. Photos provided by FIPS show Muli surrounded by green, eight-foot-high corn stalks ripe with ears. Muthei Maweu, a farmer in the village of Kithiku, experienced good yield with one of the small seed packs last season and used that variety with deep tillage this season. “I purchased [the P2859W maize variety] because it performed well when I planted the promotional pack last season,” she says. “I planted the seed late but I will still harvest a good crop.” In previous years, with local seeds and old techniques, Maweu harvested roughly 400 pounds of corn. This year, she expects to harvest more than 1,000 pounds. For Seward, those are the kind of first-person stories that represent the progress that can change a family, a village, a country and eventually the world. “We are making terrific progress, progress that can be





distribute another

100,000 SMALL SEED PACKETS vaccinate

160,000 CHICKENS create










spread across the region,” says Seward. “What we are showing is that with a bit of commitment, care and compassion, we are building the capacity of local people and encouraging people to share. We realize we don’t have the people to reach out to all of Africa. However, if we teach these farmers how to employ the technology, they’ll share it with others, and the knowledge and the results will spread. The POET Foundation is providing the funds, technology and expertise to help make this happen.” For POET, those real-life results are the reason they have committed to continuing – and expanding – Mission Greenfield. Over the next year, Mission Greenfield’s goals include reaching another 5,000 farmers, distributing another 100,000 small seed packets of new varieties, vaccinating 160,000 chickens, creating 800 trial plots and 60 tree nurseries and stocking six tons of seeds. That 25 percent decrease in malnourished households within this region could, at this pace, climb as high as an 80 percent decrease in malnourished households within four years, according to Broin. “At POET, we have a long history of philanthropic projects in the United States,” he says. “But one of the things I learned in Kenya is that we can make a global difference. Mission Greenfield can permanently change lives of people in Kenya, and hopefully around the world over time. This is a mission that fits perfectly with the POET Foundation.” For Broin, it is those personal connections that represent the bigger picture – the human connections that can change the world, one friend, one farmer at a time. What started as a family-focused mission trip – a trip that Broin says he was talked into by his wife Tammie – turned into a POET Foundation project. All because Broin couldn’t stop studying that questionable Kenyan corn. “What we are doing here is what we are meant to do,” says Broin. “We are using what God gave us – the sun, the soil and the seed – to create wealth from the earth. You can see that in the people we help – intelligent, loving people who can teach us something about appreciating life. You can see how quickly this wealth could spread, as these farmers learn this new technology and carry this message around Kenya and the region. It just starts with helping one farmer, and we can change the whole world.”



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Vital asked readers: How important is it that your elected officials support pro-renewable energy policies?





KATE KOLOSOSKI JELINEK, HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILL. It’s extremely important. We have to start making changes in that direction. If elected officials don’t support it, it will never happen. The world absolutely needs better options for the future. As a mom, I want my son’s generation to have a healthier environment than we have now.



I do think it’s important for legislators to be supportive of renewable energy policies, particularly those that support research and development. However I’m not excited about policies that add unneeded regulations that get in the way of free-market forces doing their job.

I think our leaders should be pursuing renewable energy sources. As fossil fuels become harder and harder to harvest, alternative fuels will need to pick up the slack. Coal, oil and natural gas have been the mainstays for over a century now and sooner or later they are going to diminish as our primary and reliable energy sources. Look at what we are doing with fracking to get natural gas. We need to be looking at anything that will make energy and the technologies to do so. If nothing else, as I have read, as the world population continues to climb, fossil fuel production is expected to fall behind need.

Vital readers which contain a POET location in their town also weighed in on the question:

4% 48%






time flies WHEN YOU’RE

having fun Being a good neighbor is essential to the team at POET Biorefining – Lake Crystal, MN. by Darrell Boone | photos by Greg Latza





As one of the largest and most innovative ethanol companies in the world, POET produces more than 1.7 billion gallons of ethanol per year. All ethanol and related products are produced at its 27 biorefineries scattered throughout the Midwest, and each plant is led by a General Manager. That individual bears ultimate responsibility for the success of total operations – literally everything – for that plant. So what’s it like to step into the position where the buck stops in a 56-million gallon ethanol plant? Jim Lambert, who assumed the General Manager position at POET’s Lake Crystal facility in April of 2014, was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t quite as “lonely at the top” as he expected. “It’s been a very exciting, fastmoving environment with many different challenges on a daily basis, and change is a constant,” says Lambert. “But it’s been very refreshing to discover the resources that are available within the POET organization to support plant operations. It’s outstanding!” And plant support wasn’t the only pleasant surprise. Lambert quickly learned that the quality of the plant’s workforce, which he describes as “a great team – they’re adaptable, engaged, enthusiastic, they embrace change, have a great Midwestern work ethic and a cando attitude” – also lightened his load. “You hear a lot these days about intergenerational challenges in the workplace, but we have lots of GenXers and Millennials and they work very well together,” he says. “Our people are also good neighbors and they support the local community very well. It’s a wonderful thing.”

SHARED VALUES Lambert grew up in a small farming community in southwest Nebraska, where he worked on local farms as a youth. After picking up degrees in microbiology and food science and technology, he spent 25-plus years in the food industry, because he found himself drawn to value-added agriculture. That factor also influenced his decision to switch to the ethanol industry, but it was POET’s values that sealed the deal for him. “POET’s vision, mission and values are aligned with my personal values, which makes coming to work a real pleasure,” says Lambert. One of those shared values includes being a good neighbor. The plant is involved in a diverse assortment of programs in the community and area, including providing support for recreation departments, youth activities, sporting events (baseball is particularly big in the area), cancer drives and more. In addition to successfully

transitioning into his new job, Lambert has likewise found the transition to the community to be a good one. He lives in Lake Crystal, a growing and progressive community of 2,600, so he can be close to the plant and involved in the community. In the midst of the rich soil and great farming region of southern Minnesota, the native Cornhusker – who’s an avid hunter, fisherman and golfer – feels right at home in the picturesque rural surroundings dotted with the area’s many small lakes. Time with family is also a priority. Although his first year on the job as a POET GM has been extremely busy, challenging and a definite learning experience, Lambert has no regrets about his decision to join the POET family. “I’m proud to be part of an industry that’s making a difference in the environment, energy security, agriculture and rural development,” he says. “It’s been very enjoyable and exciting, but this first year has gone very fast.”

ENJOYS CAMARADERIE To say that Commodities Supervisor Rick Wellmann is a busy guy would be a considerable understatement. Besides his day job, he farms on the side, is an assistant fire chief, helps coach his son’s youth hockey team, umpires 65 to 75 college and high school baseball games each summer and likes to spend time with family. Whew! Wellmann was one of the original team members hired at Lake Crystal in 2005, and as he observes his tenth anniversary with the plant, he says he has much to be grateful for. “After ten years I still learn something new every day,” he says. “And I’ve learned a lot about leadership. Part of that is appreciating the very good commodity crew we have here. They’re the ones who take the ball, run with it and do an excellent job.” Wellmann also enjoys the farmers, truckers, and others who work with the plant from the outside. “I work with a lot of good people,” he says. “Over the years, we’ve had a lot of funny moments, and some sad ones. The thing I enjoy most is just the dayto-day interaction – the camaraderie that goes with working together and getting the job done.” Rick Wellmann, Commodities Supervisor, POET Biorefining – Lake Crystal





PROVIDING FOR PEOPLE IN NEED Lab technician Colleen Dunker has been with the plant since startup and says she’s learned a lot on the job. “There have been a lot of changes and I’ve become much more aware about ethanol and why we need it,” she says. As part of POET’s outreach out into the community, for the past several years Dunker has served as the liaison between the plant and the Theresa House. Theresa House is a temporary home in neighboring Mankato for women who’ve been abused, lost their jobs or are experiencing other serious life

disruptions. The women frequently have their children with them. Every fall, Dunker works with the home to see if either a particular family or the home itself have needs for clothing, household goods or other necessary items. Then she coordinates donations from the plant to help meet those needs at Christmas. “The Theresa House does a nice job of helping the women get back on their feet,” she says. “It feels good to be able to help in those situations. The women and families really appreciate it,” she says. Colleen Dunker, Lab Technician, POET Biorefining – Lake Crystal


Doug Meizell, Lake Crystal Farmer

Local farmer Doug Meizell appreciates having an ethanol plant in Lake Crystal. “We were very excited when POET got up and running in 2005, and it’s been a very good thing for both area farms and the community ever since,” he says. Meizell cites easy in-and-out layout for delivery, competitive prices and friendly grain buyers among the plant’s virtues. “Every day, I see trucks from 60 to 70 miles away because they have some of the best corn prices in southern Minnesota,” he says. Meizell and wife Lori raise corn and soybeans on their farm five miles south of the plant, and have two sons, Nate, 21, and Nick, 18, who would

like to come into the operation at some point. Nate will be a senior at South Dakota State University studying ag science, and is picking up some valuable experience working with POET Biorefining – Lake Crystal this summer. Meizell sees this as just one more example of how the plant is a vital community member. “They’ve been good for the area farm economy, but they also help out a lot in the community too,” he says. “I know they’ve helped sponsor girls softball, and other youth sports, as well as many other community projects. I’ve told people many times that we’re fortunate to have a company like POET in Lake Crystal.”



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

If They Can Change, We All Can Change The “going green” phenomenon is a change that is not necessarily new. It may seem like it because it only comes front and center after an environmental disaster such as an oil spill. But, this country has a long history of working to protect the environment. A book called Silent Spring landed on JFK’s desk in 1962 and brought the deadly use of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and other dangerous pesticides to a halt. Before that, President Theodore Roosevelt reformed the nation’s stance on wilderness conservation. But even before that, our farmers – who are ideal examples of change – practiced stewardship of the land. They did it not only for next year’s crop but for the future crops of the next generation. All of these are examples of a change for the better. They were not easy, but they were the right things to do. “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” That is a quote by George Bernard Shaw that resonates with many and could be a fitting mantra in our industry. It also supports our goal of giving consumers a choice at the pump, as change often begins with choice. Change is inevitable and hard, but change is also a fundamental ingredient for progress. When NASCAR® makes a change it makes news. Why? Probably because NASCAR is more than just a powerful sport, it’s a movement. It’s an entire culture created by incredibly competitive, vibrant, calculating and inventive individuals. And these visionaries change before they have to. This insight comes from experience and a knowledge that change brings opportunity for a greater good.





Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison in the infamous fight at Daytona

Herb Nab waits to change tires with lug nuts at the ready in his teeth

Back in 2008, NASCAR could see consumers were starting to identify with the green movement and knew it was something good for future generations. In response, they developed NASCAR Green, the largest and most comprehensive recycling, tree planting and renewable energy program in sports. Many saw this move as an oxymoron – racing cars and going green? But the change was for the better. Part of the program was a switch to a fuel blended with 15% American Ethanol, Sunoco Green E15, which lowered emissions by 20%. They have just surpassed 7 million miles on American Ethanol, proving the fuel’s qualities of both being high performance and green.

The average American vehicle on the road emits 8,320 pounds of CO2 emissions per year. Take that times the 250 million cars/trucks on the road and you have a pretty big number. A big enough number that should bring about change. Transferring the NASCAR Green’s success from the track to the highway is a top priority. American Ethanol partnered with NASCAR to demonstrate this opportunity and bring change for the better. We all can learn a lot from NASCAR’s success in business, but we should also take note on their knack for doing the right thing.

Secretary of Energy, Moniz, waves the green flag in Richmond




The E15 movement is gaining momentum with its expansion into Sheetz convenience stores in North Carolina. by Lori Weaver | photos courtesy of Sheetz





As another domino falls in the drive to bring E15 to consumers across the nation, the ethanol industry is working to prime the pump for the next game-changing success story. In January of this year, Sheetz, Inc., announced its plans to begin offering E15 at its convenience stores throughout North Carolina. Based in Altoona, Pa., the innovative family-owned chain predicts it will complete installation at 60 of its North Carolina stores as early as spring 2016. Considered a mover and shaker in its industry with more than 1.5 million customers a day, Sheetz was founded in 1952 and today lays claim to 500 stores across six states. “When it comes to retailing gasoline, Sheetz is considered to be a high-volume retailer that relies on narrow margins and high sales volume,” explains Michael Lorenz, Executive Vice President of Petroleum Supply at Sheetz, Inc. “The reason why we decided to move ahead with E15 is that it has the potential to be high volume.” Lorenz says the process of converting 60 existing North Carolina stores to offer E15 and E85 is already under way, with the first on track for completion by May of this year. “We deliberately decided to do a high enough concentration of stores to have critical mass,” he explains. “That will make marketing efforts more efficient and customer awareness easier. At this point, we plan to clearly label it as E15 and price it below the E10 87 grade.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of E15 in vehicles of model year 2001 and newer. “That constitutes 75 percent of vehicles on the road

today – and growing!” Lorenz points out. “Furthermore, blending ethanol into gasoline makes money. So blending more ethanol makes more money.” The company also sees its E15 venture as a way for consumers to get a higher-octane fuel for a price lower than they were paying for 87-octane fuel currently available. The addition of E15 also fits with the company’s business model. “We have a huge menu of made-to-order food and beverage items. Likewise, we want to provide a variety of fuels,” Lorenz explains. According to Growth Energy, E15 can be found at more than 119 stations across 18 states. Pivotal to the effort to bring E15 to consumers around the country is the aptly named Prime the Pump fund. Formed in February 2014, this nonprofit works to pool industry resources for the advancement of E15 and higher ethanol blends. Prime the Pump provides retailers the chance to take advantage of cost-share programs that enable the necessary changes in infrastructure for E15 fuels. “We were thrilled about the partnership that Prime the Pump was able to put together with Sheetz,” says Jeff Broin, POET Founder and Executive Chairman and Growth Energy Co-Chairman, Sioux Falls, S.D. “They are one of the top companies in the industry.” “Sheetz is offering E15 in 60 stores in North Carolina. Obviously, they are doing this for proof of concept reasons, to see the volume of E15 that is sold through these retail outlets. We are hoping to see their efforts spread and to see other retailers install E15,” says Broin.



“Back in 2006, we saw several new potential alternatives fuels on the horizon,” recalls Lorenz. “We wanted to be prepared to offer whichever fuel emerged as the biggest winner. So, we started prepiping stores nine years ago. What that means is we have installed a baffled tank so we can add a new additional fuel without having to break concrete.” Mike O’Brien, Vice President of Market Development for the Washington, DC-based Growth Energy, agrees with Broin that the announcement by Sheetz is a major boost to the E15 movement. “Sheetz competes directly with branded oil and continues to generate success against branded oil sites,” he adds. Broin is hopeful the marketplace will embrace a better, cleaner fuel, including oil-backed retailers. “They’ve certainly done everything in their power to slow or stop E15 from getting to the pump. But over time, we’ve overcome those hurdles.” Over the past six months, the Prime the Pump program has been able to penetrate six of the top 25 retail chains in the country with partnerships for launching E15. O’Brien says the momentum of E15 is being watched, and is starting to garner recognition from various trade groups and media outlets. That momentum is helping to fuel the Minnesota Independent Oil Company (MINNOCO) brand developed for members of the Minnesota Service Station and Convenience Store Association (MSSA). The brand allows independent retailers the chance to own and control their own brand of fuels while offering alternative renewable fuels like E15, as well as E85, E30 and of course, E10. Lance Klatt serves as Executive





Director for the organization, headquartered in the Twin Cities suburb of Little Canada, MN. His primary focus is to provide legislative representation and legal assistance for the independent retailers in the Minneapolis and St. Paul marketplace. Nearly 70 percent of the fuel sold in Minnesota is sold within the 10-county metro area of the Twin Cities. “A lot of what we’ve been able to do has been because of funding from the Minnesota Corn Growers and the Minnesota Department of Ag. Prime the Pump has been a huge driving force in the state as well,” notes Klatt. “But as important as that has been, it isn’t just about funding. It’s about seeing a fuel that a lot of people in the marketplace do not have. It’s about competitive advantage.” Klatt says his organization markets the fuel not as E15, but as Unleaded Plus. “It’s higher octane and – at 5 to 10 cents a gallon cheaper – it’s a less expensive alternative to gasoline,” Klatt adds. “We also make sure consumers know we are a local brand. We want them to know they are supporting their local economies at both the retail and farming level.” Klatt says customers are further

encouraged to try the new alternative fuel through various targeted marketing programs, including coupon savings. He says that E15 fuel marketed as Unleaded Plus makes up about 20 percent of all fuels being sold through the MINNOCO brand. While some consumers are reluctant to try a new fuel, most are appreciative of the lower cost and the ability to help out the local rural economy. Broin says that the advancement of E15 to a growing number of fueling stations across the country is more than just good news for the ethanol industry and consumers. It’s also pumping new life into rural economies. He says that absent the ability of E15 to grow the market for ethanol and commodities, the future could be highly challenging for the agricultural sector. “It basically took 30 years for E10 to blanket the country. We’re hopeful that with enough funding, Prime the Pump will shorten that number significantly,” Broin sums up. Lorenz is optimistic that Sheetz, Twin City retailers and other companies will continue to expand their E15 installation in the future. “The biggest challenge ahead of us is in trying to educate the consumer,” he says. “By making it available, consumers can do their own research and decide for themselves if it makes sense for them. Honestly, we’re not sure what to expect but we are going to find out.”



growth energy Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy






also addressed conference attendees. Sec.

Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, was Growth

Vilsack reiterated his unwavering support for the

Energy’s most productive, successful and widely

industry and touched on the expanding export

attended conference to date. Attendees enjoyed

market for ethanol and DDGS. Growth Energy

dynamic speakers, informative panels, unique

co-chairman and retired four-star General

networking opportunities and a performance by

Wesley Clark closed the conference.

Grammy award winning artist, Colbie Caillat.

It was the perfect event to kick off what’s sure

Jeff Broin, co-chair of Growth Energy’s Board

to be a very exciting year for the entire industry.

of Directors, kicked off the conference with the “Chairman’s Report,” which outlined the current state of the renewable fuels industry. He noted that this year is all about “moving ahead and moving faster” to bring homegrown renewable fuels to the American consumer. Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, echoed these sentiments in his annual “CEO Report” and said, “it’s only a matter of time before 2015 becomes the year of E15.” Highlights from the conference include a panel on E15 for major retailers, a live radio broadcast and a speaker from the Office of the United States Trade Representative. U.S. Agriculture Secretary and ethanol champion Tom Vilsack





Panel: Chris Stanlee - Abengoa, Bill Feehery - Dupont, Delayne Johnson - Quad County Corn Processors, Jeff Lautt - POET

Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

General Wesley Clark, Tom Buis

Colbie Caillat, Grammy Award Winning Artist

Master of Ceremonies, Krista Voda, NBC Sports

Chad Greenway, Minnesota Viking

Tom Buis - Growth Energy, Jack Rogers - Novozymes, Dave Kramer - Sterling Ethanol, Tom Kortuem - BBI International



fresh FARM

In 2015, VITAL will feature two of America’s most well-known and respected farming experts. Not only are Darren and Brian Hefty successful farmers and agronomists, but they also host the popular television and radio show Ag PhD. Their programs help farmers take their operation from good to great by sharing information ranging from how to maximize your fertilizer program & tiling to stopping those yieldrobbing insects and crop diseases and more. If you’d like to learn where you can watch or listen to Ag PhD, you can find the listings at agphd.com.





Is Your Crop Getting Enough Fertility? submitted by Brian Hefty

I recently pulled some statistics from the USDA that I found interesting. Only about 25% of soybean farmers are fertilizing their fields, and just 18% of wheat farmers are applying potassium, which is a key to standability and a big component of yield in all crops. Also, if we look at the average use rates of fertilizer across the board in our country, we’re falling short on both P & K in most rotations. On average, corn farmers are applying 10 pounds less phosphate than what the crop is removing, and that’s assuming all the residue is staying in the field, which it obviously doesn’t. Soybean farmers and wheat farmers are also applying less than what they remove in terms of phosphate. With potassium, the highest deficiency occurs in soybeans. If you figure 45 bushels is our national average, that crop removes about 53 pounds from the field when the grain is hauled away, but the average returned to the soil is just 23 pounds of potassium fertilizer. Many farmers in our area are now shooting for 225 bushel corn and 60 bushel soybeans. In this 2-year rotation, did you know that just with the grain only removal, assuming all the residue is left in the field, a total of 127 pounds of K2O potassium and 123 pounds of phosphate have left the field forever? Are you applying 212 pounds of potash and 237 pounds of MAP every 2 years just to replace what you’ve removed? If not, you’re falling behind. Before you decide on the fertility program for your farm, we encourage you to download the free Ag PhD Fertilizer Removal app that we developed in conjunction with the International Plant Nutrition Institute and Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers. You can select your crop and your yield goal. The app then tells you how many total nutrients you need, as well as how much will leave the field with the grain.

Here’s why this is so important. My assumption is when you started farming, whether that was 30 years ago or last year, you probably set out with the objective to “leave the land in better condition than when you started farming.” That’s what most farmers tell me they are trying to accomplish. That’s a great goal, but ask yourself this, if you are removing more fertility than what you apply, is that building the land or is it mining the soil? Certainly one of the challenges over the past few years has been the high cost of fertilizer to go along with high cash rent. What I often encourage landlords to do is have a discussion with the tenant or simply put it in the contract that whatever fertilizer you remove must be replaced each year, including sulfur and micronutrients. Since a 225 bushel corn crop or a 60 bushel soybean crop could easily remove $75 or more in P, K, S, and micros, I understand that’s a big bill. What’s happening today on most cash-rented ground is instead of replacing that $75 in fertilizer, the $75 is going toward the rent bill. That’s why I often suggest a reduction in land rent, with that reduction going toward a portion of the fertilizer bill. Since yields have gone up so dramatically in all crops over the last 20 years, this may not have been a big issue for your Dad or Grandpa. Since most ground used to be rented on shares 20 years ago, that also made a difference. Today, soil fertility levels are depleting at a faster pace than ever, so it’s something you need to at least discuss in your operation. Our advice is to soil test, use plant tissue analysis, and learn all you can about what is likely the biggest expense (or investment) on your farm, fertilizer. For more information about this important topic, go to www.agphdsoiltest.com.



ENERGY FOR LIFE by Melissa Ellefson, POET Wellness Director

What’s on your mind? Each issue, Melissa Ellefson will answer a frequently asked health-related question and provide practical advice for incorporating wellness into your everyday life.

PACK A SPA I bring an assortment of bagged teas, essential oils such as lavender and peppermint, Epsom salts and a hydrating mask with me when I travel. A warm bath and some herbal tea help me to detox from a stressful day of travel. MOVE Sometimes you need to get creative with your workouts if you don’t have access to a gym. I like to pack an exercise band — they pack easily and provide a full body workout that you can do right in your hotel room. No equipment? Check out this issue’s “Get Active” workout.

Q: I travel a lot for work. I often find myself searching for something healthy to eat and a place to get exercise. Do you have any ideas?

REST WELL If possible, request a room away from the elevator. Turn the thermostat down to cool your room below 70 degrees, put a towel at the base of the door to block out hallway light, bring ear plugs and eye masks. If you struggle with jet lag and/or insomnia, consider a melatonin or valerian root supplement.

A: Whether you are on the road for work or play, sticking to your wellness goals can be tough. Nourishing your body, exercising and getting quality rest while you are away from home may take a bit of extra effort, but it can be done. Here’s how:

EATING OUT No need to derail your nutrition when you walk into a restaurant. Follow these four tips to avoid sabotaging your healthy goals:

PACK SUPER SNACKS No need to buy the expensive, pre-packaged, single serve snacks. Buy in bulk and divide into small baggies. Choose snacks that are low in sugar and high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber. You want to feel full, satisfied and fueled for whatever adventures come your way. STAY HYDRATED Wherever you go, don’t forget a BPA-free refillable water bottle. The constant blowing air in hotels, air conditioning and flights can be very dehydrating. In addition, getting enough water helps to ward off illness and fatigue and helps you arrive at your destination looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.


If you are sick of plain water, add some citrus or cucumber. By replacing one soda a day with water, you are not only becoming healthier, but you are saving hundreds of dollars a year!




• • • •

Say no to the bread. Order double veggies instead of a starchy side like rice, pasta or potatoes. Avoid sugary drinks such as soda, juices, mixed drinks and flavored teas. If the dessert is something truly special, share it among the table. If it isn’t all that special, skip it and order a hot tea instead.

In the POET Kitchen A weekly Menu Monday recipe is shared with all POET Team Members. Here is the most popular recipe from last quarter.

Breakfast Hash SERVES: 4



1 lb. ground turkey

2 red bell peppers, diced

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 yellow onion, diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1- 2 teaspoons each: salt, pepper,

paprika, coriander, cumin *don’t be stingy

on the spices

8 eggs

METHOD: • Melt fat in a large skillet • Brown turkey a bit, then add all other ingredients • Sauté until sweet potatoes and turkey is cooked • Serve with a couple over easy eggs on top. Delicious!

Get Active Here is a 7-minute, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) full body workout you can easily do in your hotel room. No equipment needed!

HIIT is an efficient way to boost metabolism, increase energy and improve health.

• 45 seconds: Jumping jacks

15 seconds: Rest

• 45 seconds: Pushups

15 seconds: Rest

• 45 seconds: Mtn. climbers

15 seconds: Rest

• 45 seconds: Triceps Dips

15 seconds: Rest

• 45 seconds: High Knees

15 seconds: Rest

• 45 seconds: Plank

15 seconds: Rest

• 45 seconds: Burpees

15 seconds: Rest




The administrative team fills a wide range of roles at each POET Biorefinery and they are essential to making sure the day-to-day activities are completed. by Janna Farley

Over the past 20 years of biorefining leadership, POET has assembled the industry’s strongest team of engineers, scientists, financial analysts and more – people who share the company’s core values and pride in everything they do. It’s these people that make POET strong. They’re accomplishing great things – for the ethanol industry and for America. We have featured a group of POET plant team members throughout the last several issues of Vital. In this issue, we’ll be focusing on those in administrative roles. With duties that go above and beyond their official job description, these are the people that truly keep POET going strong.

DOING WHATEVER IT TAKES The first person you’ll see when you walk into the POET Biorefining plant near Glenville, MN is Jenni Hanna.





For 18 years, she’s been the smiling face that greets plant visitors, farmers, board members and fellow employees. “I love to be where the people are,” she says. Officially, Hanna’s the plant’s Accountant. But her role expands far beyond that. She juggles the schedules for the plant’s managers. She works with the board of directors. She organizes the plant’s charitable efforts. She plans employee events. And those other duties as assigned? Well, nobody has to ask her twice. “If they need someone to pick up a broom or paint or whatever else needs to be done, I’ll do it.” She’s been told she’s the glue that holds everything together in Glenville. “But I think that phrase gets overused a lot.” Hanna just does what needs to be done. “I love that every day is different,”

she says. “I love our team members. I love what our industry is doing.”

CONNECTED TO THE COMMUNITY Brett Patrick is a details-oriented, by-the-numbers kind of guy. From payroll to accounts payable and everything in between, Patrick, Controller for POET Biorefining – North Manchester, IN, is responsible for full financial reporting and cash flow

management activities. It’s a role he’s embraced in the last two years he’s been on the job. But he’s just as happy on his family farm, getting his hands dirty while helping out in the fields whenever he can. With his ag background, Patrick can easily relate to the farmers and producers he regularly works with at POET. “I enjoy talking to farmers, so I try to make sure I get out to our receiving building a couple times a week as they dump corn,” he says. It’s not just good conversation, however. Patrick says it’s also about supporting farmers economically – and keeping them growing. That’s important to the future of family farms – his and his neighbor’s. And it’s important to the country. “Long-term, whatever we can do to get away from foreign oil is definitely rewarding,” he says.

MAINTAINING POET’S MOMENTUM Some days, you’ll find Mark Borer wearing a suit and tie, lobbying on behalf of the ethanol industry in Washington, D.C. Other days, he’ll be in jeans and work boots, helping people shovel in the plant back home in Leipsic,

Ohio. They’re two dynamically different roles, Borer admits. But as General Manager of POET Biorefining – Leipsic, it’s all in a day’s work. “And that’s what makes it such an interesting job,” he says. Borer came to POET in 2007, just as the Leipsic plant, the 28th constructed by POET, was being built. After initially building the team, he’s kept the momentum of POET’s initiatives going. “Last year, we produced a record number of gallons,” he says. “With everybody moving in the same direction, we continue to refine, improve and get more out of the plant.” No matter what he’s wearing, Borer is committed to making a difference – locally in Leipsic and for the entire country. “There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re helping to positively impact the local economy,” he says. “But beyond that, we’re doing something that I believe is great for the nation – from an economical and environmental standpoint. … It’s good to be working toward something you believe in, and clearly, that’s the case here.”

Jenni Hanna, Accountant, POET Biorefining – Glenville, MN

Brett Patrick, Controller, POET Biorefining – North Manchester, IN

WORKING TOGETHER IS BETTER POET team members all aspire to live by the Golden Rule. It’s a philosophy that’s repeated over and over again throughout the company. Whether she’s helping her coworkers or customers, Natalie Piehl, Accountant at POET Biorefining – Mitchell, SD, considers the Golden Rule in everything she does. “I strive to treat everyone how I want to be treated,” says Piehl, who has worked for POET since 2006.

Mark Borer, General Manager, POET Biorefining – Leipsic, OH

Natalie Piehl, Accountant, POET Biorefining – Mitchell, SD

Kari Casper, Membership Coordinator, POET Biorefining – Big Stone, SD





“That’s just how I work.” Piehl crunches the numbers for the farmers who sell their corn to the production facility, and she makes sure they get paid correctly and promptly. Through careful checks and balances, she’s accountable for reconciling the books on a daily basis. But she also makes sure she’s available to help her co-workers. “We all back each other up,” she says. And it doesn’t stop with her administrative colleagues. Piehl is happy to lend a hand wherever she’s needed. “If the guys in the grain building need something from me, I’m going to help them,” she says. “We all have to work together to get the job done.”

PART OF THE TEAM Kari Casper wears a lot of hats at POET Biorefining – Big Stone, SD. As Membership Coordinator, she’s responsible for communicating with the plant’s 970 member shareholders. Sometimes, it’s an individual phone call. Other times, it’s a meeting agenda. Still other times, it’s a mass mailing. Casper does whatever it takes to get the message out. But Casper doesn’t stop there. If there’s a job to be done at the plant, Casper will do it. From answering the phone to ordering office supplies to running to the

post office for mail, Casper’s got it under control. “Team members here aren’t just co-workers. They’re friends,” Casper says. “I enjoy the people I work with. So when you have that kind of relationship with the people you work with, helping them out is easy.”

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER It takes an amazing team, comprised of individuals with various skills and areas of expertise to make POET the unique company that it is. We’ve enjoyed introducing you to our everyday heroes who show up to work every day determined to create and innovate in ways never thought possible. It’s the dedication of these team members who will keep POET running smoothly for decades to come.


CHANGE TOMORROW + Seeking PRODUCTION OPERATORS, MAINTENANCE & PLANT TECHNICIANS Do you know someone who is tired of just putting in the hours? Do you know someone who is looking for something more meaningful? How about a career with a leading company in an exciting industry that is changing the world? POET is seeking highly motivated, hard-working individuals for positions including PRODUCTION OPERATORS, MAINTENANCE and PLANT TECHNICIANS. These positions come with outstanding pay and benefits. • $36,000 or More • Full Benefits • Retirement Plan

• 3 or 4 Day Workweek • Every Other Weekend Off • Guaranteed OT

To view these positions and more, visit POET.com/careers. Equal Opportunity Employer.

POET could not run without the valuable contributions from these positions at POET Biorefinery locations. Team members included on this list hold the positions of Accountant I, Accountant II, Controller, General Manager and Membership Coordinator.

POET Biorefining –

Jennifer G. Block

POET Biorefining –

Terry Ross


Jessica M. Stengel


William L. Howell

David Hudak

Kari L. Casper

Cheryl L. Plucker

Deborah N. Rife

Dean H. Frederickson

POET Biorefining –

Melissa E. Duncan

POET Biorefining –

Janet M. Dureske


Patricia L. Tomlin

Bingham Lake

Lisa R. Shay

Anita K. Longfellow

Janet M. Tentinger

Rhonda L. Garry-Travis

Gregory K. Olsen

POET Biorefining –

Kathryn A. Krueger


Nathan C. Hay

POET Biorefining –

Lisa J. Hilder

James D. Clayton

Tracey L. Wilson


Jennifer Iedema

Christine M. Wilson

POET Biorefining –

Mayo P. McCarthy

POET Biorefining –

Luke Logan


Raquel Strouth


Robin Trout

Daron C. Wilson

David R. Gloer

Suzanne Sieg

Jill A. Loomis

POET Biorefining –

Kellie Beecher

Laurie M. Darr

Big Stone

Leann Walker

POET Biorefining –

Shelly M. Hanson

Blaine J. Gomer

Rachael L. Johnson

Coon Rapids

Somer M. Saxton

Christine K. Knaus

Chasity M. Bauer

Janet M. Smith





Heather M. Smith

Nancy M. Roe

POET Biorefining –

POET Biorefining –

POET Biorefining –

Coriena Westler



Lake Crystal

Kathern M. Purvis

Arthur E. Thomas

Barbara Vermedahl

Jim Lambert

Leslie A. Ross

Kevin J. Ackerman

Heather Haney

Lisa Y. Bible

Rhonda K. Taylor

Jonathan Perkins

Teresa J. Henning-Wallace

POET Biorefining –

Tracy Benner

Kelly B. Hansen

POET Biorefining –

Becky Pitz

POET Biorefining –

POET Biorefining –


Esther L. Linke



Deborah A. Reynolds

Natalie F. Piehl

Jennifer L. Hanna

Carmen M. Kast

Joan M. Kuhlman

Sally J. Moody

Martin E. Borske

Crystal Clay

Mark Borer

Sara L. Schoenfelder

Patricia S. Mook

Joel P. Jarman

Stephanie J. Bockrath

Paulette J. Anderson

Natalie K. Stene

Steven R. McNinch

POET Biorefining –


POET Biorefining –


Adam M. Homan

POET Biorefining –


Darcy J. Anderson

Amy N. Hudson


Deanna L. Hoversten

Heather M. Baker

Bethany S. LeMaster

Angie Bennett

Julie A. Lutjen

Pamela J. Sampson

Matthew D. Tomano

Cara Ball

Kevin J. Monroe

Rita Carlson

Stacey A. Rauhauser

POET Biorefining –

POET Research

North Manchester



POET Biorefining –

POET Biorefining –

POET Biorefining –

Barbara A. Koon

Anthony J. Edwards



Brett A. Patrick

Jeanine C. Herman

Alexia M. Ryder

Ashley N. Smith

Jane E. Bass-Bahney

Kathleen Chalfant

Gayle Adams

Steven E. Pittman

Kelly R. Kjelden

Margaret M. Hanley

Mary L. Harry

Stephen M. Murphy

POET Biorefining –

Christopher A. Hanson


Heather M. Broadwater

Clifford R. Brannon

Laurie L. Dehning

POET Biorefinig – Preston









The Iowa Caucuses will be used as a springboard to make the Renewable Fuels Standard a presidential campaign issue. by Peter Harriman



The ethanol industry and its allies are testing a bold premise that voters will cast a ballot based on a presidential candidate’s support for the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The laboratory for this experiment is the Iowa Caucuses. The goal is to make a powerful statement that resonates with presidential hopefuls and their handlers as the traveling circus that is a presidential primary campaign moves on from its opening in Iowa in mid-January of next year to the rest of the country. Farm issues that drive debate early in a race can be long forgotten when unfolding events and candidates’ personal charisma can change the political narrative in states less dependent on agriculture than Iowa. But the America’s Renewable Future initiative aims to demonstrate that biofuels, and the RFS that ensures escalating access to the fuel market for them, can be important to voters everywhere if presented in a comprehensive, consistent way. “This will look like a presidential campaign,” says Eric Branstad. “Our candidate is the RFS. Our goal is to change the national dialogue.” Branstad is America’s Renewable Future Director. He is the son of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and he is a veteran of presidential politics. In 2004, he was the southeast Iowa director for President Bush’s reelection effort. America’s Renewable Future has a bipartisan focus. Democrat Derek Eadon, who headed President Obama’s Iowa reelection campaign, joined Branstad in launching the initiative. Its chairmen are former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge, a Democrat; former State Rep. Annette Sweeney, a Republican; and Bill Couser, president of Couser Cattle Company and co-founder of Lincolnway Energy. America’s Renewable Future is funded by a number of industry stakeholders and will look “just like a nice, statewide presidential campaign,” said Branstad. From the Iowa Corn Growers Association’s (ICGA) perspective, America’s Renewable Future was intriguing for its potential to enable the nation to see the importance of agriculture and the renewable fuels industry through the lens of the Iowa Caucuses. “Agriculture is very well understood in the state of Iowa. When you get outside the state, people have





a hard time understanding our story,” says ICGA President Jerry Mohr, who farms near Eldridge, IA. Candidates who support renewable fuels tend to run well in Iowa, POET Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Corporate Affairs Kyle Gilley points out. POET is an America’s Renewable Future sponsor. In 2012, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), the top two finishers in a closely contested Republican caucus, backed the RFS. By contrast, two RFS opponents stumbled badly in Iowa. Texas Gov. Rick Perry reassessed his campaign following a fifth-place finish in the caucus and Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN-6), who had announced her run for president in Waterloo, abandoned the bid after finishing sixth. Gilley says America’s Renewable Future enjoyed a good rollout. But ultimately, being successful in the Iowa Caucuses means organizing the caucus goers. “Educate the candidates and organize the caucus goers. That is what we’ve got to do to define success here.” The initiative has the staff and resources to do that, Gilley says. Branstad agrees. By mid-March, America’s Renewable Future was off to a good start. “Senior staff is on board,” Branstad said. “The field staff is coming on. We’ve been across the state talking to farm groups and at ethanol plants.” The message has been well received. In the field on a tractor may be infinitely more rewarding to most farmers than political activism. But with the price of corn and soybeans falling below the cost of production this spring, and with the state of Iowa estimating that declining land values may reduce state budget revenue by $100 million, according to Branstad, farmers

understand the need for America’s Renewable Future to successfully demonstrate renewable fuels can be a compelling presidential campaign issue. “Any industry will do whatever it takes to protect its livelihood,” Branstad says. “That’s where we are right now.” At forums like the Iowa Agriculture Summit in Des Moines on March 7, where a dozen potential Republican presidential candidates spoke, and at ethanol plants as well as farmers’ groups, “we’re hearing the same voice,” says Branstad. “‘What more can we do to help?’” America’s Renewable Future is a watershed event. To this point, “the issue has been getting our message out,” Gilley says. “We have been outspent and badly out resourced by the other side – the oil industry.” The ultimate objective is to introduce renewable fuels and the RFS as a campaign issue in places like

New York, California, Texas and North Carolina. “We are focused on the caucuses,” says Branstad. “Any thought of making America’s Renewable Future portable is months down the line. We will definitely cross that bridge. But we have got to win this before we go on to the next state.” Ideally, the message shaped by America’s Renewable Future in its effort to influence the Iowa Caucuses is “Iowa agriculture is working hard to provide renewable fuels that are safe, that clean the air and that are grown in this country,” says Mohr. So when voters around the country “are living their lives at 95 miles per hour they don’t have to worry about having safe, wholesome food, a reliable energy policy and clean air. That’s the message we hope they take away from Iowa.”

CenterPointEnergy.com/CES • 800-495-9880 © 2014 CenterPoint Energy 140285



Biorefineries are doing more than just producing ethanol. The advancement of technologies and improved extraction procedures allow us to utilize a number of co-products from the corn kernel. Distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) have been used for a number of years but continue to be a growing market due to its high protein content. Additionally, corn oil has proven to be a viable bioproduct within a variety of markets and uses.

Dakota Gold is POET’s branded dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS), it is a high protein animal feed that is in demand across the globe.












Canada Morrocco


Mexico Thailand Pakistan Columbia Malaysia Ecuador





















POET makes approx.

Voila is POET’s branded corn oil. It is a high quality corn oil derived from the patented POET BPX® dry mill ethanol process.


MILLION LBS. of corn oil per year

Industry-wide, up to



MILLION LBS. of corn oil were used for biodiesel production in 2014

1.11 BILLION LBS. of corn oil will be used for biodiesel in 2015




Team members Archie Voorhees of Ashton and Jeremy Halgerson of Hudson recently took part in the 2015 Polar Plunge in Brandon, SD. Team members from Ashton challenged Hudson to raise a minimum of $150 for SD Special Olympics. The fundraiser rose over $1,000 between the two plants with a match from the plants up to $250. The event reports to have made $19,000 that day for South Dakota Special Olympics.

NASCAR’s Carl Edwards made a surprise stop at the Laddonia plant. Edwards is from Columbia, MO. He took a tour of the plant, escorted by Scott Bartison and Casey Smith. Edwards had a great time and really enjoyed the professionalism of the employees.

Team Corning recently participated in a dodgeball event as a fundraiser for the local high school. The team went 0 and 6, but that didn’t prevent them from having a great time. Pictured in the front row are Polly Sproles, Connie Hancock, Paige Dinkla, Cindy Wall and Nate Mueller. In the back row are Jeff Butler, Jack Myers and Ben Arentson. Great job Team Corning!





POET Biorefining – Hanlontown sponsored a team named High Octane in the 2015 Chamber Bowl which is a fun social event that is sponsored every year by the Mason City Chamber of Commerce. Six-player teams demonstrate their bowling skills; dinner is provided and lots of prizes are awarded. The Hanlontown team won the Best Dressed Team Award on Night 2! They also “won” the Low Team Series Award on Night 2! Everyone enjoyed the bowling and networking. Front row (left to right) – Tracy McCoy, Kelly Hansen, Amber Egesdal, Derek Segerstrom Back row (left to right) – Paul Quintero, Jeremie Barclay, Brandon Lange

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly held a “Donnelly Day” at POET Biorefining – Portland. He shadowed team members to gain greater insight into the biorefining industry. Donnelly worked with plant operators and lab techs to pull product samples and perform quality tests on those samples in the lab, helped commodities assistants load a truck for a customer, and weighed and graded corn delivered by customers. “Donnelly Days” is an ongoing series of events where Donnelly works alongside Hoosiers in a variety of jobs and professions in communities across Indiana to gain a greater understanding of the issues most important to Hoosier workers.




Hanlontown Food Drive The Cerro Gordo County Farm Bureau recently sponsored the third annual “Grab and Give Food Grown from Farmers” event held at the HyVee store in Mason City, Iowa. For the first time POET Biorefining – Hanlontown sponsored a team. Fifteen teams were each given a list of items that were needed by the local Food Bank. The teams of three were then given 5 minutes to collect groceries off the list with the goal of coming closest to $250. A total of $4,460.23 was raised to help feed the hungry in our area. Shown in the picture checking out at the register are Matt Sauer, EH&S and General Manager Kelly Hansen.

Bill Howell selected for participation in the US War College Seminar Bill Howell, the General Manager of POET Biorefining – Coon Rapids, IA, was recently extended an invitation to participate in the 61st Annual U.S. Army War College National Security Seminar. The one-week National Security Seminar creates an environment for Army War College students and distinguished guests to examine current national security issues and exchange candid dialogue. Bill spent 12 years in the Air Force as a F4 fighter pilot and later as an intelligence officer. We are proud to have Bill on our POET team and thank him for his service to our country.

John Finck (Scotland), Emore Ronken (Preston) and Ken Richison (Macon) have announced that they will be retiring in 2015. They have been long-term POET team members with over 15 years of service. As an appreciation for what they have done for POET, they were presented with commissioned artwork and a congratulatory letter.

Happy Retirement! 50





For years, we’ve been told that cellulosic ethanol is a “fantasy fuel.” And it is.

And now it’s going to change the world. For real.

So we’ve spent a decade planning, researching, and working hard to make that fantasy a reality.



Advanced Biofuels

FOOTBALL FAMILY & FINANCE by Steve Lange photo by Greg Latza

It doesn’t matter whether he’s talking about football, family, or financial strategy, Wyatt Haines repeatedly stresses the same concept – teamwork. That principle was instilled while growing up as the oldest of seven kids on a South Dakota farm and carried over through a college football career at the University of South Dakota (where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Business Administration). It’s a concept that Haines has focused on throughout his career, which has included the last two years as POET’s Vice President of Financing Strategy. That team-first attitude is apparent in Haines the first time you meet him, says POET CFO Dan Loveland. “From that first meeting, Wyatt was very cognizant of the importance of the team concept,” says Loveland. “And he’s still always careful to make sure the whole team gets recognized.”





Loveland’s not exaggerating. In one of Wyatt’s answers to a question for this interview, he used the words “team” and “teamwork” six times in two sentences. And the question wasn’t even about his days playing football for USD or his stint with the Sioux Falls Storm of the Indoor Football League. It was about his proudest personal accomplishments at POET. “It didn’t take long for Wyatt to get his bearings, and it didn’t take long before we asked him to step in to a role with more responsibility where he would be advising our biorefinery boards,” Loveland says. “We really believe it takes a team effort to get things done right, and Wyatt’s leadership style exemplifies that.”

What drew you to POET?

WYATT: I’m a farm kid who grew up a half hour from POET’s Mitchell (SD) plant, and my wife’s family farm is two miles from there. The POET brand already had meaning to us. We were living in Omaha with our two young boys and we wanted to give them a childhood with their grandparents and cousins in South Dakota. So we reached out to POET. The chance to join the industry’s leader and get back to family was too much to pass up. What does the VP of Financing Strategy do?

WYATT: When you figure it out, let me know! The role helps take a front and center approach to the banking, business and customer relationships across the entire enterprise. We are 100 percent focused on adding shareholder value, improving the plants’ competitive positioning, reducing risk and helping the organization realize its financial goals. One specific thing I’m proud of is the quarterly reports we prepare and present to the boards. These reports have a lot of moving parts, a lot of forecasting. We cover everything in the plant, from tax obligations to past performance, to credit facilities and cap structures. I think the boards would say it’s one of the most important pieces of information they get when it comes to making sound financial decisions. Walk me through your typical day.

WYATT: We have three boys – a 4-year-old, 2-year-old and 8-month-old – so I haven’t slept in about five years. Normal day is wake up around 5:30, catch up on the news, and in the office around 6:30 or 7 a.m. At that point the race is on. Generally I eat at the desk or have a quick lunch close to the office. The day generally wraps up around 6:30 or 7 p.m. Get home and eat with my family. Then it’s playing basketball, football, games or out on the farm with the boys until 9 p.m. and then the house goes dark. I read the news and try to be asleep by 10. Truth be told, the normal day is about as volatile as ethanol margins. You had quite the football career, from the University of South Dakota to the Indoor Football League to tryouts with NFL teams. Favorite football memory?

be and riding that confidence to great levels. Thinking about those achievements and challenges helps me when I’m tasked with difficult challenges at work. Who would win a game of one-on-one basketball, you or your wife?

WYATT: Did somebody tell you this story? We played one-on-one once a few years back. My wife Randi is 6’2”. She was a national player of the year, All-American at Dakota Wesleyan and played in Europe. She’s a heck of a woman. We were playing to 11. I’m 6’4” and like to think I was once a decent athlete. The next thing I know I’m losing 9 to 4. There was no way I was going to lose. I got pretty physical and ended up winning the game by one point. It’s a lose-lose for me. I don’t want to see her get mad, and I don’t want to get beat. We haven’t played since. And you probably shouldn’t. Everyone I’ve asked described you as “intense” and “focused.”

WYATT: We care deeply about what we do here. I do. My team does. It’s about our company and our industry. It’s about caring and being committed to the relationship with our customers. Everyone also guessed that you’re probably someone who edges their lawn.

WYATT: OK, I’m probably guilty of that. I love mowing the lawn, fixing fences, working on my home, working on the farm, working with cattle and pigs. I love spending time with my boys and my wife. There’s something about working with your hands and tools, working with nature, working alongside people to build something. Do you ever step back and look at the big picture of working at POET?

WYATT: Hearing these POET team members talk, listening to their aspirations, seeing their vision of the future … maybe you don’t understand it until you live it. Now that I’ve lived it I know we can change the world for the better. We can see the bigger picture, and – this is the cool thing about POET – we have the capability to make that bigger picture become a reality. And, you know what? We have the team here to do it.

WYATT: I have lots of great game memories, but the most valued memories are definitely the team sacrifices, 5 a.m. practices, game day speeches, watching teammates become more than they thought they could



CONUNDRUM ACROSS 1. Major global crop 5. Word with real and cracking 8. Damage 11. Interior scene 12. Defeat 14. Previously 15. POET-DSM’s new president 17. Gettysburg loser 18. Official language of Pakistan 19. Chow down 20. Here, in Spain 22. Small protuberance 24. Greek cheese 27. Build up 30. Sixth sense, for short 31. Stupid person 33. Foe 35. Venerable 36. Trellis 37. POET was a finalist in this annual


34. Friday, for many

40. Musical piece for an orchestra 41. Type of negotiable security, abbr.

1. A take-off

36. Arrival time approximately

42. Dull

2. Arise

37. Best with wine

43. Cambrian, for one

3. “___ rang?”

38. Settle snugly

44. Ozone depleter, abbr.

4. Word in an Ernest

39. Well known dog

47. “Just a coupla __”

40. Bro’s counterpart

48. Fountain treat

5. Complain

43. Style

50. Google rival

6. Long time span

44. Alternative

52. Maker of a physics law

7. Pull

45. Strength

54. Miracle on ice winners

8. Big rubber exporter

46. Rabbit fur

56. Eve’s opposite

9. Become better, as Brie

49. Limp Bizkit lead singer Fred

57. Sermon subject

10. Certain buck

51. Frenzied

59. POET’s sustainable initiative

11. Mends, as holey socks

53. Prefix with night or day

63. Welder type

13. Org. responsible for

55. Lofty nest

64. Bloke’s makeshift bed

57. Freelancer’s enc.

65. Military scouting

15. Eastern hoops powerhouse

58. Set off

66. Manage, with “out”

16. Mess up

60. “As if!”

67. Use a hand shuttle, e.g.

21. Irritability

61. Fed. property manager

68. Oxen linkage

23. Walk bouncily

62. New

Platts Global energy award

Hemingway title

luggage inspections

25. Silly talk 26. Become visible 28. Look closely


vitalmagazineonline.com/answers 54




29. Be off base 32. Greek with the perfect male form

35. Acting like a clumsy person

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FROM THE HEARTLAND by Greg Breukelman

EXIT 72 During the monotony and boredom of a long return trip from Springfield, Missouri on a college visit for my middle daughter Sophie, this exit sign caught my eye. Exit 72 on Interstate 29. It made me think of someone who I have a great deal of admiration for; a man who has been an integral part of the success of POET. You see, exit 72, just north of Council Bluffs, Iowa, is the exit ramp for a small hamlet that shares the same name as POET CFO, Dan Loveland. A couple of months ago, Dan, the only CFO in POET’s history, announced that he was going to retire this spring. Like most people at POET that have had the opportunity to work with Dan, we’re happy and excited for Dan and his wife Kathy as they start this new stage in their lives. But we’re also very sad to see Dan leave. As POET Founder and Executive Chairman Jeff Broin was quoted in an earlier VITAL issue, “it’s people like Dan Loveland who have gotten this company where it is today.” Everyone who knows Dan would wholeheartedly agree! I haven’t ever taken exit 72 and checked out Loveland, Iowa, but I have had the blessing of working with Dan for the past 8 years. During this time, I’ve been able to get a glimpse of all that Dan does for the organization. Now, keep in mind I’m in Communications, so most of what Dan





does goes way, way over my head. But I do know that managing all the financial affairs for a multi-billion dollar organization made up of over forty companies is a big, big job. Dan is a tireless worker who handles every challenge thrown his way. On most days, Dan is one of the first at the office in the morning and one of the last to leave each night. And Dan breaks the stereotypes held for “bean counters” as he is an inspirational leader and loves to make things fun. And most importantly, Dan’s integrity is beyond reproach. A few weeks ago, I made the comment to a colleague that “Dan’s shoes would be difficult to fill.” The response I got was, “Dan’s shoes will be IMPOSSIBLE to fill.” My colleague was right. Dan, if you’re still reading VITAL in your retirement, I want to express my gratitude for all you’ve done. So many people, including myself, wouldn’t have the opportunities we have without you. I wish you and Kathy the best in this new journey. And now, on your next road trip, I hope you’ll take the time to check out your namesake at exit #72.

Greg Breukelman works at POET as Senior Vice President of Communications.




4615 N. Lewis Ave. Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Smart renewable energy IS powerIng more of amerIca.

New Holland and Growth Energy are partners to help strengthen your efforts to supply America with clean, renewable energy from ethanol. Working together, we can all increase America’s energy independence— and support rural communities and livelihoods—by maximizing ethanol production. Today more than ever, that’s SMART thinking.

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Profile for Vital Magazine

Vital Magazine - Spring 2015  

Vital Magazine - Spring 2015