THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
The History of POET
Ethanol Pioneers A Seat at the Roundtable Industry leaders share a conversation on agriculture, ethanol and its future.
10 Days and 8,417 Miles POET team members travel to Kenya as part of Mission Greenhouse to continue the work on the school dormitory.
The Words No One Wants To Hear Jack Myers of POET Biorefining â€“ Corning is dealt a blow which forces him to reassess his priorities. Summer 2015
INNOVATION + At POET, we cultivate solutions. Our spirit of innovation made us a global leader in ethanol production, and now weâ€™re producing even more efficient biofuels, foods, feeds and natural alternatives to petrochemicals.
Opportunity is everywhere, if you know where to look. poet.com
A SEAT AT THE ROUNDTABLE
by Vital Industry leaders share a conversation on agriculture, ethanol and its future.
10 DAYS AND 8,417 MILES
by Mission Greenhouse Participants POET team members travel to Kenya as part of Mission Greenhouse to continue the work on the school dormitory.
THE HISTORY OF POET ETHANOL PIONEERS
by Peter Harriman Learning the science, building the plant and finding a way to sell the products, the Broins truly did start from scratch.
THE WORDS NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR
by Janna Farley Jack Myers of POET Biorefining â€“ Corning is dealt a blow which forces him to reassess his priorities.
Visit www.poet.com for the latest news, career opportunities and plant profiles.
by Jeff Broin
by Jeff Lautt
FROM THE HEARTLAND
by Greg Breukelman
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PULSE PERSPECTIVE FARM FRESH ENERGY FOR LIFE NASCAR® UPDATE RENEW
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IN SIGHT by Jeff Broin, Executive Chairman and Founder of POET
In our last issue of Vital, we gave you an insider’s look at the industry’s efforts to expand E15 infrastructure through the Prime the Pump program, which provides grants to install pumps and infrastructure to handle E15 and higher blends. We are happy to report that even more fuel retailers are coming to the table to market more ethanol and bring additional fuel choices to consumers across the country. Seven years ago, Growth Energy wrote and submitted the E15 waiver to the EPA – our very first regulatory action. Those that helped with the waiver process were confident it would change the world. It turns out they were right. As motorists choose a cheaper, cleaner, higher octane fuel for their cars, we hope to see retailers continue putting E15 in their pumps. But it will not come without all of us working hard and working together. E15 will have a tremendous impact on the Midwest and on worldwide agriculture by creating 2 billion bushels of new corn demand. If history is our teacher, increased demand for corn should result in sustainable world commodity prices which creates incentive for farming across the globe. Without E15, there is risk we will return to $1.50-2.50 corn, a paralyzed ag economy and the need for massive government subsidies. It will also significantly damage agriculture in almost every country across the globe. We are well aware we can’t just sit back and wait for retailers to realize the many benefits of E15. Education is a key component to our strategy, for both retailers and for consumers. Because of the Prime the Pump program, several of the top retail chains in the country have launched E15 initiatives. Most recently, Kum & Go – the fifth-largest, privately held and company-operated convenience store chain in the U.S. – announced with Prime the Pump that it will make E15 available at over
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65 stores across Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Dakota over the next two years. And more announcements are coming soon. E15 is clearly gaining momentum. Leading retailers are starting to see the opportunity this fuel blend provides for their profitability and their consumers’ cars. E15 pumps wealth into our rural economies, helps clean our air and decreases our reliance on foreign oil. And we all know this fuel has lived up to the performance challenge – NASCAR has already run more than seven million successful miles on Sunoco Green E15! Dominos will continue to fall in the quest for E15 pumps nationwide, but it will take a serious effort by the ethanol industry, farmers, agriculture companies and individuals like you to help make that happen. To date, over $30 million has been raised for Prime the Pump, mostly from ethanol producers, including POET, with help from a few ag companies. Recently, USDA announced an additional $100 million in funds for ethanol infrastructure, but matching funds will be needed to obtain USDA dollars. We need more people and companies to step up and write a check and make an investment in their future. It will take time, money and hard work from all of us, but none of us can afford to rest until E15 is available at every gas station in America.
Contributing Every Day to the Lives of Ordinary Americans Our processes and equipment contribute to thousands of products we use daily…the OJ we drink in the morning, the cheese sandwich we eat for lunch, the fuel we fill our cars with, the medicines we take to be well, even the water we drink. For over a century, GEA has been working to help make the products that make our world what it is today. Moving forward, our commitment continues as we work with POET to provide the separating technology required to produce renewable biofuels and agricultural co-products. To learn more about GEA’s centrifuges and separation equipment and the industries we serve, call or visit us online.
GEA Group Centrifuges & Separation Equipment
engineering for a better world
Phone: 201-767-3900 · Toll-Free: 800-722-6622 www.gea.com
FIRST LOOK by Jeff Lautt, CEO, POET
As I see our newest group of interns gaining valuable experience at POET this summer, it’s a joy to witness their hope and optimism, their enthusiasm for this new experience of helping produce clean-burning ethanol. I was thinking on that recently, and it reminded me of the value each generation brings to our organization. An often underappreciated aspect of diversity is that of age diversity. At POET we have a wide variety of people of all ages and levels of experience. That variety in itself provides us with a great recipe for success. Of course each person is an individual with his or her own personality and skill set, but I think it’s also clear that each generation has its own characteristics that make it unique from the others. The Baby Boomers teach us the values of hard work and teamwork. The Generation Xers are so named because they declared their independence and are generally very adaptable and resilient. As I see this newest generation, dubbed the Millennials, making their mark, I’m impressed by their spirit and their firm grasp of the moral reasons that we press forward each day to produce more and more efficient renewable fuel for the world. Some people take a negative view of the younger generations, and I have recently seen the Millennials taking a lot of criticism in the press for what some see as a lack of work ethic. I don’t see that in the Millennial team members at POET. What I do see is a group of people who may be motived by different things than the generations who came before them. Not that other generations don’t, but studies show that Millennials are looking for more than a paycheck as
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they have a very strong desire for mission and purpose in their work. They also want to be part of an organization that cares about their overall health and well-being. There have been plenty of times when I thought my children’s generation was a little bit crazy. Then again, I know my parents thought the same thing about my generation. And I’d be willing to bet that more than one member of the Greatest Generation had sharp words about the Baby Boomers. It seems that every generation is criticized by the one before it. Somehow despite that, every generation has added value to America and is part of the fabric that makes our nation so unique. We can certainly see that at POET. It is also clear in agriculture, as farming practices are passed on and then improved by each generation. It energizes me when I see our younger team members attacking challenges and enthusiastically taking advantage of the opportunities life has to offer. I am excited when I see their ideas put into practice. The personality of POET changes in subtle ways each year as fresh perspectives augment the years of experience and know-how that is already in place. No matter a person’s experience or age, there truly is something to learn from everyone. And I think this is good.
THE YEAR OF
THANKS FOR BEING SOME OF THE FIRST RETAILERS TO OFFER E15. Growth Energy commends CENEX, Kum & Go, 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 weâ€™re making progress toward the next generation of sustainable, renewable fuels.
Learn more at GrowthEnergy.org/E15
Growth Energy @GrowthEnergy
How much do retailers <3 #E15?
Kansas Speedway @kansasspeedway
It’s good enough for #NASCAR
“Adding higher blends like E15
it’s good enough for your car!
is the best thing I’ve done in
@AmericanEthanol is part of
20+ years of station ownership.”
every NASCAR race with
@SunocoRacing Green E15.
NCGA Public Policy @NCGA_DC
The only beneficiary of @EPA #RFS
Try some E15 or higher #ethanol
decision is Big Oil, at the expense
blends for #EarthDay today!
of family farmers, consumers and
the air we breathe.
Tom Buis @TomBuisGE
Santa Barbara’s beaches are
Biorefining – Cloverdale
that NO beach has been closed
today! #biofuels #RFS
Frankie Edgar @FrankieEdgar
using American technology. Proud to be part of the @AmericanEthanol team!
Great to have Rep.
gallon oil spill. Another reminder
grown by American farmers
@ToddRokita at POET
Ethanol is made from crops
closed ‘til 6/4 bc of a 101,000
due to ethanol.
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
Kaci Clement @kaci_clement
Wearing POET sunglasses because our AG future is too bright! @ethanolbyPOET #ethanolbyPOET #SDFFAStateConv15
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
Joni Ernst @SenJoniErnst
Great meeting with @ethanolbyPOET on the
names such as @ethanolbypoet. The topic of
importance of ethanol, RFS and biofuels
conversation is often
highlighted with a hashtag (#). This is a sampling of whatâ€™s being said about energy and biofuels. The comments do not necessarily represent the opinions of POET, LLC.
PULSE 6/3 “Those of us from states that produce ethanol and biodiesel are used to the attacks. We always fight back, and producers continue to do their best to develop the next generation of clean biofuels. Consumers like biofuels. The idea of a homegrown product that reduces emissions harmful to the environment and brings the United States freedom from volatile oil-producing countries is appealing.” - Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in an opinion piece supporting biofuels.
5/29 “Today’s proposal by the EPA puts the oil industry’s agenda ahead of farmers and rural America. While the EPA is correct in recognizing the intent of Congress to continue growth in biofuels, the targets announced today fall well short of rural America’s potential to produce low-cost, clean-burning ethanol.” - Jeff Lautt, CEO of POET, in a press release following the EPA’s Renewable Volume Obligation proposal.
5/29 “Today’s announcement is disheartening as farmers and everyday folks alike have invested billions in order to meet the RFS’s levels set forth by Congress back in 2007. We have successfully met the RFS’s corn ethanol requirements because corn farmers are growing more per acre and the ethanol industry is producing more renewable fuel per bushel. These advances in efficiency are proof of the successful ingenuities that result from crucial policies like the RFS.” – South Dakota Corn Growers president Keith Alverson in response to the EPA’s recent RVO proposal.
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.
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5/22 “It feels like home. It just seems like we’ve been using it for years and years and years. We used to have concerns about how it would perform, and it’s an afterthought at this point as to how it affects performance.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr. discusses E15 in an interview with NPR.
5/12 “By the end of 2016, those two retailers [Sheetz and Kum & Go] plan to add E15 pumps at 125 stations. That will more than double the number of U.S. outlets offering cheaper fuel with a higher ethanol content than the standard E10 blend that contains 10 percent ethanol. If retailers continue to add stations at a similar pace over the next five years, there would be some 1,300 stations offering E15. That would still be just a fraction of the 150,000 stations nationwide, but the roll-out of the fuel by two significant operators with outlets in 17 states challenges a central pillar of oil industry’s opposition to ethanol’s wider use.”
4/29 “A new poll conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the Renewable Fuels Association shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans support the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In the poll of 2,047 registered voters conducted at the beginning of April, 62% of respondents indicated they support the successful policy.” – a Fuels America blog post.
4/8 “We’re writing to let you in on the truth about oil that Iowans have known for a long time: thanks to their lobbyists, oil companies are longstanding beneficiaries and supporters of numerous government subsidies that amount to nearly half a trillion dollars over the last century. Those same oil companies stand to make another $165 billion over the next ten years.” – America’s Renewable Future in a letter to presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), urging his support of the Renewable Fuel Standard.
4/27 “Kum & Go has always given back to the communities they serve, and by offering E15, they are not only providing a choice at the pump, but they are supporting American jobs, our rural economy and our environment by offering a cleaner burning fuel.” - Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, in response to Kum & Go’s announcement they will begin offering E15 to consumers.
– A Reuters article by Chris Prentice on E15 expansion.
A SEAT AT THE ROUNDTABLE In early June, Vital brought together leaders from the ethanol and agriculture industries to discuss the state of each industry, the challenges each industry is facing and how we can determine a successful path forward. Here is what they had to say.
Participants: POET – Jeff Broin (Founder and Executive Chairman), DOW AgroSciences – Brian Barker (U.S. Seeds General Manager), Novozymes – Patrick Patterson (VP Business Operations Americas), Producer – Jerry Demmer, Big River Resources – Ray Defenbaugh (CEO)
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VITAL: We saw a lot of growth and change in the mid2000s as crop yields hit a number of different records. We saw farm income setting records and almost every metric you can think of for agriculture saw a boom period. I’d be interested in hearing from each of you what sort of things you thought helped contribute to that period. What are the things that drove success in agriculture in the mid-2000s? DEMMER: Well the increase in yields, obviously the ethanol industry has put a lot of dollars in rural America. It also has been a boom for not only machinery but for the seed industry and putting those dollars in there for better research. So the increase has been, again, for rural America. Whether it’s the landowner you’re renting land from…that money flows around. It’s the ethanol industry that’s really done wonders for rural America. BARKER: At the end of the day you’ve got food and fuel that have to be consumed by a global population. We believe that the farmers here in the United States will be able to supply that. PATTERSON: It certainly drove our investment profile. Similar to what you said, we take a long-term view and said we’ll look out to 2050 and imagine a world with 9 billion people. And then – where’s the food? Where’s the fuel? Where’s the feed going to come from for that population? VITAL: How about our ethanol producers? BROIN: My father, back in the mid-1980s when corn was about $1.30/bushel and it was costing him about $2.70 to grow, saw that we needed a new demand for starch and for corn and built his first ethanol plant. What I see is that ethanol did tighten up the commodity complex, it did create a tremendous run for the farmer. And I think that looking at all the trends I see, food is not enough to use up the supply. So basically we are going to have to see an expansion of biofuels in gasoline in the U.S. From 10% to 15% and beyond that, we better be looking at 20-30% and even 50% if you’re looking out 20, 30, 40, 50 years. I think there’s a lot of potential there.
DEFENBAUGH: If one guy can produce 300 bushel corn and 150 bushel beans, two guys are going to be able to someday. So if that national average keeps going up and short of a drought, I’m sure it will. And if you overproduce, which we can – you better have a place to go with it. You don’t need a place 10 years from now, you need a place today. And so with agriculture, it doesn’t matter who’s supporting agriculture, it may be the farmer, it could be the grocery keeper, it could be the man selling machinery or chemicals. The whole rural economy is dependent on the success that we find a solution to supply and demand evening out. And ethanol is an important part of that I think. DEMMER: I agree with Ray. Right now we’re about $3.25 – about 70 cents below the cost of production per bushel of corn. Not a good situation. So we need to find uses for that commodity that we’re growing. You can’t run 2 or 3 years in red – you got to do something. BROIN: I think as well we need to straighten out the fact that people believe that somehow we use up all of the corn to make ethanol. When, in fact, we only use the starch portion. So the counterintuitive thing is if you take corn to ethanol you increase the price of food. No – no, you don’t. Because you lower the price of fuel and you also lower the price of food because the protein would have never been on the market. DEFENBAUGH: If you go back to agriculture when we farmed with horses – in my young days there were still people farming with horses, I got in on some of that. Now, the amount of ground that was set aside for the feed for those horses is no different than the amount of ground we’re using today to make ethanol. Instead of oats and hay, we’re putting it through ethanol. So the argument food for fuel is invalid as
far as I’m concerned. And productivity on what we are producing is so much higher it even makes the argument sillier, really. PATTERSON: People would be surprised to hear that we can out produce what we consume. I don’t think that message gets through to people very well. And then I think about if it’s a distribution issue then? To get the food to where it needs to be? Because obviously there’s people who aren’t getting enough and/or how do we create these markets to find an outlet for the corn? BARKER: Part of the challenge when you go outside the U.S. is you can produce a lot of grain but that grain doesn’t always find its destination because of politics, because of corruption, because of a lack of infrastructure. But the policy piece of this thing as it goes on in the future is going to be pretty interesting. From everything you’re seeing today in ethanol with the RFS (Renewable Fuel Standard) and those types of policies to export policies, trade policies when countries can determine what gets traded, what gets used. BROIN: One thing that has changed, and I assume you are well-aware of this, is that ethanol did drive some new world production. So that when we did see that drought, it was really hyped-up in the press… BARKER: Yes it was. BROIN: One of the things I look at, is that recently we actually had sustainable grain prices for about 5 years. It was awesome. My entire life we probably had that a couple years. So it’s really unique that we saw
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that 5 year period. The nice thing is, when we were profitable in grain, so were the developing nations. So the bad thing about us shipping grain around the world subsidized, which we did for over 40 years, is that they then can’t produce it profitably. So they can’t buy seed, they can’t buy fertilizer. So I was really excited to see grain above the cost of production for one of the first times in my life, so the farm made a profit in the U.S. but also the developing nation farmer made a profit. BARKER: It’s very fragile. BROIN: Yes, but if we can increase the percentage of ethanol in gasoline, and keep those prices above the cost of production, watch what can happen. This is what bothers me. Now we’re not expanding ethanol into gasoline, thanks to our own government holding us back in a lot of cases. And we’re not keeping that price above the cost of production. If we were at E15 today, we wouldn’t have this price problem. And the real sacrifice is going to come in that developing world because the government may step in and help here, but they’re not going to step in and help there. DEFENBAUGH: The old cliché of “rising tide raises all ships” – markets could not only help the American farmer but agriculture in general, which there’s a lot of hungry people around the world so we should certainly recognize that what you’re saying is true. DEMMER: Without a doubt, ethanol has been successful which is why it’s an easy target. BROIN: We all know that when a commodity is one gallon or one bushel oversupplied, you’re going to be producing at the cost of production. Right? We all know that. Well the oil industry knows that as well. And they know that if we take 5 more percent of their market they’re going to that tipping point. And they will do everything in their power to stop that from happening. DEMMER: We have a good message to talk about the farmers, and also with the ethanol, but how do you get that across politically? To the consumer? That’s the
challenge that we face – we have that good message that we’re producing not only a safe product, but an abundance of product. It just frustrates me to no end when farmers get bashed in the media. BARKER: To your point, if there are great things happening, how do you educate them about it? There’s a big university up the road from us – I didn’t go there so I’m not allowed to say the name. We were up there for a 30-year strategic conference and I was sitting with them and we were going through this 3-day seminar talking about exactly this same thing. Where’s agriculture going? What’s the biggest problem in agriculture? This is one of the top ag universities in the world and the basic problem that everyone came up with was exactly what you just said. There’s tons of great things happening and the farmer’s incredibly capable so those aren’t the issues. The issue is how do you convince the general public? If you look at generations past, people were either right off the farm, still on the farm or very close to it. How do you convince a population of consumers that there are great things going on – these are great technologies, they’re safe technologies, they’re perfectly good. Very few actually understand that there actually is already 8-10% of ethanol in the gasoline they’re buying today and they don’t even know it. How do you go out and actually get a population to start to understand, at least in a balanced way, so they can think in a balanced way about the things that are really going on. The number one answer they came up with is going to be education – almost right from the beginning you’re going to have to build this into education with young kids and expose them to agriculture. Show them where the food comes from. BROIN: Certainly the kids are part of it, public relations is a big part of it because I guarantee you there’s an army out there not wanting us to grow in this business. And then advertising, because you can’t wait for all of those kids to grow up. BARKER: You’ve got to do it today. DEFENBAUGH: Now maybe we’re handed a tool somewhere in this EPA announcement on the RVO
(Renewable Volume Obligation) – because the farmer is producing below the cost of production and he’s going to be more willing to join in the battle. He’s going to be more willing once he starts losing the money that you were talking about – saying we got to do something different or I can’t last. Now people think we’ve got plenty of fuel, which is kind of not true if we’re still dependent on exports. The front page of the Wall Street Journal talked today about OPEC losing its power. If you believe that, then I want your address for Santa Claus because you believe in that too. To me, my basic thought is we’re dependent on other nations for our fuel and we’ve got the most prosperous agriculture anywhere in the world, ever. And yet, most of the time that I farmed, the economics, the profit was dependent on government payments – like your dad getting those checks too. Any industry that’s dependent on government payments, is not sustainable. It might go on for awhile, but it’s not sustainable. If we destroy agriculture in this country by unprofitability, and we’re dependent on other people for our fuel, as well as for our food, this nation will be brought to its knees. DEMMER: Jeff alluded to it earlier. The reason that your dad built the first plant was because of the price of corn. BROIN: Set aside acres, storage payments, he was doing all of that. What year did we file the E15 waiver? 2008? So seven years, we filed the E15 waiver and we’re still fighting for E15 to get into gas. I thought that would take 1-2 years. So that’s all true, but right now you’ve got a very powerful foe in the oil industry that’s using the government to keep us out of gasoline. DEFENBAUGH: It’s not a free market. BROIN: It’s not a free market. So when you really look at what’s going on, it feels like ethanol vs. oil, right? But it’s not, it’s agriculture vs. oil. The problem is that sometimes I don’t think agriculture knows we’re in the fight. Oil does. Oil knows who their enemy is. But agriculture’s got to figure out who’s on the other side trying to stop their growth – trying to damage their markets. It’s really the oil industry.
DEMMER: We need E15. We need higher blends – absolutely. BROIN: It’s 2 billion bushels of new corn demand. We need that 2 billion bushels of corn demand the next several years, and it needs to come thru E15. DEFENBAUGH: Those are good, strong arguments. And if you’re ag-background, rural-oriented, you buy into it. But there’s other really good reasons for it too that maybe the consumer can put his arms around – clean air, energy independence, defense. Especially the clean air. PATTERSON: Our models say the world has a capacity to supply ¼ of the world’s transportation fuel with renewable fuel sources. And a correspondent decrease in CO2 to go with it. That’s such a simple and obvious message – and it’s an easy message to explain. This industry in particular isn’t sitting back and waiting. I mean you’ve got several initiatives to try to get to the consumers with knowledge, not the least of which is Prime the Pump and bringing some higher e t h a n o l inclusion ratios to the public. And you’re doing that kind of around the inertia that you’re facing to push back. BROIN: Absolutely. And we’ve had some good partners, both of your companies have been good partners. We probably need more ag partners. And so if we can all get together behind the right initiative. We’ll get the job done. DEMMER: I think Ray hit on something earlier – when prices are below the cost of production, now we
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should be able to get some farmers motivated. Not everyone wants to be out front and I understand that but you got to be motivated to call your representatives out in D.C. saying we can’t do this. DEFENBAUGH: That’s what we need. If agriculture would work together as unit – think about the chemical, the seed, the manufacturing, corn, beans and ethanol. You put them together and we’d be a formidable foe. Almost undefeatable. But we’re having trouble getting that coalition. And it’s like, I don’t know if you ever farmed with horses, but if you don’t have a team that pulls it together, you’re going to pull that plow, not for very long, and you’re going to wear them both out. DEMMER: But how do you get that coalition, Ray? DEFENBAUGH: I don’t mean it the way it’s going to sound, but it’s part of the good of what’s happening here because adversity is not always bad. I’ve always said there’s more opportunity in adversity than there is in prosperity. Adversity will cause people to reexamine and say we got to do something different. There’s an old cliché going back to Revolutionary War time, I think Thomas Jefferson used it. “One man with courage is a majority.” You think about that. Somehow we need to motivate several to be that individual. But you take one person that’s really going to fight this – one person that’s a corngrower, one person that’s in machinery. But the people that say “I accept the fate the way it comes,” oh woe is me. One person with courage is a majority. That’s where we need to be in the ag industry today. VITAL: This has been an interesting conversation. I appreciate everyone participating in it. Heard some great opinions from a lot of people who care a lot about agriculture and certainly starting at the right place here. Hopefully we can keep some of these ideas in mind as we go forward and find new ways to work together and have everyone be successful.
W I S C O N S I N
WORLDâ€™S LARGEST & LONGEST RUNNING ETHANOL EVENT
June 20-23, 2016
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN WHERE W HERE P PRODUCERS RODUCERS M MEET EET
w w w. Fu e l E t h a n o l Wo r k s h o p . c o m
Networking Opportunities Speak Exhibit Sponsor Attend
Most know biofuels reduce our dependence on foreign oil and that it’s a cleaner-burning fuel, but how important is it to you that we support biofuels because of its impact on agriculture?
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LORI MACKSON, GALENA, OH We all know how important it is to support America’s farmers, and biofuels are doing that by creating a new market for farming. If we can put the production of fuel into the hands of farmers, we can not only change everything about how we buy fuel, we can also help reinvent agriculture. That’s important, and we can do that by simply choosing to buy biofuels at the pump.
KEN KLOTZBACH, ROCHESTER, MN When ethanol was made primarily from corn, I was on the fence about the industry. I want to support our farmers and clean energy, but I just wasn’t convinced it was the way to go. Now, seeing how effective the production has become, and how other crops and parts of the corn have become available for biofuel production, I’ve been on board. There are so many positives for the farmer, the land and the air we all breathe, and that’s why I support buying biofuels.
MARK DUBOIS, HUNTINGTON, IN I think supporting biofuels is important for agriculture because in today’s changing world, agriculture has a huge link to business in America in general. Besides reducing the cost of fuel, it also creates a healthy competition for farmers to be able to sell their grain and creates opportunities throughout the economy for people to prosper.
KYLE KUBOVCHIK, HENDERSON, NV I don’t know much about biofuels, but I do know that they can help farmers with increased crop options and can provide an alternate to fossil fuels. It’s a good start. Fossil fuels will run out, and we need to start somewhere with alternatives. Necessity breeds innovation, and I would expect that next-generation biofuels can greatly improve on energy output and sustainability, and all of that could give a big boost to agriculture. That is why it’s important to support biofuels.
BRENDA BLACKBURN, NOBLESVILLE, IN It’s important to me to be supportive of biofuels because they do have a very positive impact on agriculture and those who make their living from the land. It’s also good for rural communities, because the plants provide much-needed jobs.
10 DAYS &
8,417 MILES POET team members travel to Kenya as part of Mission Greenhouse to continue the
work on the school dormitory.
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In its third year, Mission Greenhouse returned to Sultan Hamud, Kenya in early June. Fifteen POET team and family members put the finishing touches on a new dormitory which was started by the Mission Greenhouse team the year prior. Over 240 girls now call Travellersâ€™ Oasis Centre home and each girl has a unique story to tell. We asked Mission Greenhouse participants to share some of these stories, along with several other memories from the trip, with Vital.
Mission Greenhouse participants with the students and staff of Travellers’ Oasis Centre.
Mission Greenhouse participants, titles, and locations: Andrew Williams – Cellulose Supervisor, Emmetsburg, IA Becky Pitz – General Manager, Mitchell, SD *Brianna Pitz – Becky’s daughter Darren Youngs – Process Engineer, Sioux Falls, SD David Olsen – Controller, Sioux Falls, SD *Madison McKeown – David’s stepdaughter Don Barrett – Operator, Preston, MN Jerry Nash – Maintenance, Preston, MN Julie Wilka – Senior Buyer, Sioux Falls, SD *Suzanne Watson – Julie’s sister-in-law Kate Slattery – Talent & Social Media Coordinator, Sioux Falls, SD Lisa Hilder – Controller, Corning, IA Mark Borer – General Manager, Leipsic, OH Matt Sauer – EH&S Specialist, Hanlontown, IA Nathan Jongeling – Process Engineering Designer, Sioux Falls, SD Jerry Nash helping install a window. 22
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Mark Borer General Manager Leipsic, OH The 2015 Mission Greenhouse team arrived 15 strong in Sultan Hamud, Kenya with a newly constructed three story dormitory for the girls boarding school, Travellers’ Oasis Centre School for Girls, that had two floors of walls and ceilings newly plastered and in need of sanding and painting. The dorm consists of three stories with a continuous hallway with walls that separate bedding areas on each side, where four students per side will reside. On Day 1 we promptly began sanding all of the walls/ceilings and then following up with an initial coat of primer. This serves the purpose of sealing the walls and also helping to highlight the imperfections (cracks and missing plaster) that we then skimmed over to smooth and cover so these areas would not be visible after final painting using colors that will reflect the school’s orange and grey uniform theme. The process necessitated re-sanding with two additional coats of primer to follow. Completing all of this required the team be relentless in continuing to keep paint on the brush and rollers rolling! The team, young and old, maintained the required focus driven by our collective desire to complete the goal of having the first two floors ready for final paint by the time we left. In the end, we were successful as the final hour of the final day found us all in the 1st floor common area applying the final touches with the remaining primer. In addition, the team assisted in beginning to install the first story windows and even found time to paint the outside pillars and detail to highlight and begin to showcase
what will soon be the pride of the school and entire community. A fantastic team effort by everyone truly reflected we were on a mission – a mission that was accomplished!
FINDING HIS SMILE As my family well knows, I am a self-professed hater of posing for pictures. The entire process of posing and applying just the right amount of smile, not to mention the trauma of seeing the end result, are the reasons. I can assure you that the Travellers’ Oasis Centre School for Girls, surrounded by its 241 lady students, is not the environment for someone inflicted with this malady! Nothing pleases the girls more than having their pictures taken, performing for videos, and most horrifying, posing with POET team members. I must confess that I am now a semi-
reformed hater of taking pictures as I quickly found that being surrounded by these young ladies with their natural, gorgeous and ever-present smiles was contagious. It wasn’t long before this exposure had me requesting my POET team members to assist in getting photos of me alongside this beautiful, loving and extremely capable group of young ladies that despite the many hardships and challenges that they face on a daily basis, did not let it deter their enthusiasm and optimism for life and their future. Posing simply became a matter of an arm around their shoulders. As for the smile, being in their presence made it impossible to try and manage, as I could feel that it was as wide and genuine as it could get and I couldn’t have lessened it had I tried!
Becky Pitz General Manager Mitchell, SD The moment we stepped off the bus after arriving Sunday night at the school, I knew this week would be extraordinary. As we walked towards the chapel, the girls lined both sides of the path singing and holding welcome signs. Bright smiles on their faces will be forever engrained in my memory. The walk itself was surreal—like out of dream. We made our way into the chapel and sat down. The girls were so excited to see us as they made
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their way inside. Several groups of them sang songs and even danced in celebration of our arrival. Their welcome to us was truly aweinspiring. Something I have never experienced nor will ever forget.
Julie Wilka Senior Buyer Sioux Falls, SD I cannot begin to accurately describe the welcome the girls gave us! Upon arriving at the Travellers’ Oasis Centre, the girls presented songs, poems and dances that were so joyful and uplifting. I have often been confused by the idea that others will know we are Christians by our joy. It’s not all that often that the joy is visible. But here it was remarkable. I was in tears and in awe of their joy. They sung praises to God at the tops of their voices. Each presentation started with “Praise God. Amen! Praise God again. Amen!”
MEETING KEN Ken has been a professional painter for five years. He is 38 years old, married, and has a 10 year old boy and 6 year old twins, a boy and a girl. He lives in Nairobi. He takes pride in his work. He said if you do good work others will see it and more work will come. I believe he wanted us to do a good job because it reflected back on him. He is very soft spoken and a patient teacher! Ken would gently point out spots I had missed or where paint was dripping. He would also point out areas that I did well and tell me, “Perfect!” He has a big beautiful smile!
Darren Youngs Process Engineer Sioux Falls, SD After finishing our first day working on the new dormitory, I felt a light tap on the shoulder and a quiet voice asking to take a photo with me. Some of the girls from the school had come out to talk with us and take some photos. Little did I know I was about to meet someone that would forever change my life. The young girl standing behind me was Purity Mwende Koki, a 13-year-old student in Standard 8 (8th Grade) aspiring to attend university in America to become an engineer. Over the course of many conversations filled with shy waves and grinning smiles, a strong bond was formed. She told stories of nights spent praying to God asking him to provide food for her and her three siblings who were all lying together on a small cot with their sick mother. Purity explained that she would not be attending school and likely living in the
streets or worse if it wasn’t for the grace of God and her grandmother contacting Travellers’ Oasis Centre. During our tear-filled goodbye, she slipped me a letter promising to always remember me and blessed me with the following words: “May God give you… for every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise, and a blessing in each trial. For every problem, life sends a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer.” The next sentence in the letter hit me the hardest: “Even if we don’t know each other well, remember there was once a time we didn’t know each other but that time has now ended.” That moment, forever engrained in my mind, is a reminder of the promises we made that day to always remember each other.
Lisa Hilder Controller Corning, IA Having been on the trip last year one of the highlights for me this trip was hearing and seeing the success stories of some of the girls that graduated from Travellers’ Oasis Centre (TOC). One of the teachers at the school this year is a graduate of TOC, went to college and now is back teaching at TOC. During the fourth day at the school, I was at the Admin building and two girls came up to me calling me by name because they remembered me from last year. They had graduated from Form 4 (12th grade) last November and are both attending computer science classes in Nairobi. They came back to the school to visit
Mary, the staff and some of the girls. There is also the girl that now owns her own computer store where we got our pictures developed. It is so rewarding to see these success stories and is a great tribute to all that Esther and Shadrack started so many years ago to provide for brighter futures for these girls. I have become very close to Terry who is now in Form 4 and the School Captain. We stay in touch via Facebook when she is home on break. She is planning to become a lawyer to specialize in Family Law. I look forward to staying in touch with her during her college years and to see the successful young woman that she grows up to be.
Form 3 (11th grade) Mathematics Class
Charity taking notes during class
Kate Slattery and Charity
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Kate Slattery Talent & Social Media Coordinator, Sioux Falls, SD While the majority of the time during the trip was spent working on the construction of the new dormitory, we also had the opportunity to experience a little of the daily life of the students as well. That is when I had the chance to sit in on a Form 3 (11th grade) mathematics class. As I walked into the classroom I was quickly approached by a vibrant 15 year old named Charity who offered to have me share her desk. I willingly accepted and joined her at her desk in the corner which was no wider than a foot or two and had books stacked up on the side with her notebook out ready to learn. Within 5 minutes I was blown away by how attentive the class was. The teacher kept the students engaged by constantly asking questions, repeating her points and asking them to complete the problems that she wrote out on the board. There was no down time in class and they utilized every minute they had together. I was even more impressed with Charity. The subject that day was something with shapes and vectors which had me confused from the get go, but not Charity. Charity knew each answer before the teacher had gotten to that step and was working ahead within the book. She would follow along for the beginning of the problem and then take off. Her notes were so neat and organized and she used a ruler to draw any lines or shapes. I asked Charity what her favorite subjects were and she said Math, CRE (Christian Religious
Education) and English. If all goes well Charity will move onto Form 4 in the fall and onto University after that. She hopes to study Computer Science or Food Technology. Charity is a prime example of the girls at TOC. These beautiful, smart and determined girls realize that an education is something to be treasured. They value their education and are striving each and every day at the school for a better future. While I still was not an expert at vectors by the end of math class, I was definitely inspired.
Nathan Jongeling Process Engineering Designer, Sioux Falls, SD I thought about going on the trip last year but wasn’t able to go because sisters expect you to go to their wedding. Go figure. After talking with a lot of the people who went on the trip last year, I definitely wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity this year. A fellow Process Engineer in Sioux Falls, Scott Radigan, went on the trip in 2014 and before I left he told me I should find a girl named Faith and give her a hug for him. As I arrive at the school, I see 242 girls and I begin to think this may be harder than I thought it would be! So Day 1, I looked for her and
no luck. Couldn’t find her. On Day 2, we were getting ready to leave the school and I see her. Faith came over to me and said, “Do you know you look a lot like Scott?” I am guessing the smile on my face was very large at this time. I said yes, I know Scott. She and I talked for a few minutes and she wanted to know all about Scott and his family. I just think it is awesome that half way around the world, Scott and I have both become friends with Faith. She definitely has a fun personality, if you can’t tell from the photos. Seeing how big the smiles are on the girls even in the midst of challenging life circumstances has resonated with me since I have gotten back and the hard days at work don’t seem as hard anymore. It was one of the best trips I have been on.
Plans are already underway for next year’s trip. Thank you to everyone who continues to support this important mission to provide a safe home and a quality education to some of Kenya’s most under-privileged and vulnerable girls. Information on how you can sponsor a student is coming soon to www.seedsofchange.org WWW.VITALBYPOET.COM
the ethanol process PART 1 of 4
FROM FIELD TO FLOUR
OVER THE NEXT FOUR ISSUES WE WILL BREAK DOWN THE POET ETHANOL PROCESS TO HELP ILLUSTRATE WHAT WE DO. PART ONE EXPLAINS HOW GRAIN IS RECEIVED AND GROUND INTO FLOUR.
FARMERS FROM WITHIN A
OF THE PLANT PROVIDE GRAIN THAT WE USE TO MAKE ETHANOL, ANIMAL FEED AND CORN OIL.
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Upon arrival at the plant, the load of corn is measured for moisture and weighed so the farmer can be paid appropriately. The truck is unloaded at the grain dumping station and then weighed again to determine the bushels that were delivered. Corn is taken from the grain dump by conveyor to be stored in one of the grain bins at the plant.
*Figures are based on a typical POET plant and actual numbers may vary for specific locations.
= 2000 = 48
A TYPICAL POET PLANT USES
IP S P
The hammermill is used to grind the corn into a flour.
PRIMARY DESTRUCTION ZONE
Grain is stored so the 24 hour plant will have a continuous supply of corn.
ION ZO NE LERAT
LBS 56 1 BUSHEL = OF CORN
The Answer to Sustainability is Modern Technology submitted by Brian Hefty
One of my favorite quotes is from Theodore Roosevelt, who said, “Conservation means development as much as it does protection.” Personally, I do not like the words conservation or sustainability. Here’s what both words mean to me, “standing still.” As a farmer and an agronomist, I feel like I am called to improve things, not just stand still. Instead of looking at sustainability with the hot button environmental issues in crop production agriculture, let’s talk about how we actually make things better. How is it possible to improve your soil, make the water cleaner and food safer? My answer is modern technology. For each point below I will list the modern technology solution with the letters, “MT.”
IMPROVE THE SOIL 1) Test the soil for pH, nutrients, holding capacity and organic matter. Once you know your soil’s weaknesses, you can begin the improvement process. MT – your smartphone for grid soil sampling. 2) Address soil pH. Most crops, along with beneficial soil life (earthworms, bacteria, fungi, etc.) thrive
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when the soil pH is around 6.5 to 7. Fix that, and your soil will come to life. MT – variable rate lime or elemental sulfur applications to adjust pH where necessary. 3) Fertilize correctly. A farmer’s biggest expense is now fertilizer. MT – Ag PhD Soil Test app which tells you which micro, secondary and primary nutrients you actually need to improve your land. 4) Reduce tillage. This helps build soil organic matter. MT – better planters that can properly place seeds even in high residue situations.
MAKE THE WATER CLEANER 1) Reduce erosion. This could fall under the “improve the soil” category, but I place it here because no one wants more soil in the water. MT – new tiling equipment that allows farmers to install drain tile more accurately than ever. With tile, erosion is reduced 40% to 60% in most cases because the water table is kept at 2’ or 3’ deep, meaning when rain hits it can soak in rather than running off.
2) Keeping nutrients in the field rather than in the water. MT – nitrogen stabilizers help keep nitrogen in a form that doesn’t leach, keeping it out of the groundwater.
MAKE FOOD SAFER 1) Feed the plant better. If plants have a balanced diet of the right nutrients, the food they produce will be healthier. MT – better soil and plant tissue testing allows farmers to know which nutrients their crops are short of. 2) Better pest control. When a plant is under stress due to weeds, insects or diseases it will produce more natural carcinogens. Just like you and me, we are healthier when we have fewer stresses. MT – biotechnology. I know you may be scared of “GMOs,” but when insects are controlled with proteins that are safe to humans, that means fewer pesticides are used on the crops. MT – safer pesticides. Did you know that many of the new products on the market today are just reproductions of natural things that exist in the environment? Callisto herbicide comes from a tree. Silencer insecticide comes from a flower. Headline fungicide comes from a wood rot. Most of
the dangerous pesticides in the U.S. were banned years ago. MT – biological products. I prefer the term “natural” products, but there are a whole host of safe, naturally-existing bacteria, fungi and plant growth hormone products that are now being used in agriculture. Norman Borlaug, 1970 Nobel Prize winner, said, “I’ve spent the past 20 years trying to bring the Green Revolution to Africa, where farmers use traditional seeds and the organic farming systems that some call ‘sustainable.’ But low-yield farming is only sustainable for people with high death rates.” While many people may lead you to believe that we need to go back to old-school farming techniques like we used 50 years ago (e.g. no pesticides, no biotech crops, no commercial fertilizer, etc.), keep in mind that today our food is safer, our soil erosion has been dramatically reduced, our yields and food production per acre are far higher, our water is cleaner and our life expectancy is longer. In other words, farmers are doing a great job, and by utilizing modern technology these things will only get better. In my book, that’s better than conservation or sustainability. That’s improvement in ag.
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 yield-robbing 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.
History of POET
Ethanol Pioneers Learning the science, building the plant and finding a way to sell the products, the Broins truly did start from scratch. by Peter Harriman | photos by Greg Latza
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The Broin farm during the 1980s.
Rob Broin standing by one of the original fermenting tanks.
The origin of powered flight feeds into a can-do American spirit. With the contents of their bicycle shop, an untutored knack for design and imagination, the Wright brothers got man off the ground. The history of POET parallels this spirit. In the early 1980s, Lowell Broin, family members, neighbors and a handful of ethanol pioneers learned what was needed to later drive the creation of a contemporary biofuels giant from a toolbox of skills similar to the Wrights’. POET Executive Chairman Jeff Broin says of his father, “he was not a carpenter, but he never let that
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stop him from building everything from the house my brothers, sister and I grew up in to the silos that stood tall on our farm. He built a 40-stall block dairy barn mostly by himself.” Lowell Broin “relied on his common sense and creativity to get the jobs done and done right,” his son says. His father’s embodiment of the American entrepreneurial spirit is the foundation POET is built on. It guided his sons and is at the heart of POET’s success. As the country was emerging from the farm crisis of the late 1970s, corn was selling for less than what it cost to grow. On the family farm near Wanamingo, MN, Lowell and Judy Broin and their children Rob, Cindy, Jeff and Todd milked cows, farrowed sows, grew crops and chafed at the fact the greatest revenue from productive farmland was often a federal payment to keep it out of production. “The government was paying to
leave land idle. Why should we leave it idle?” Lowell says. At the same time a growing realization that we were too reliant on foreign oil drove farmers and legislators to come together to create a new industry. Henry Ford had advocated ethanol as a motor fuel from the beginning of the 20th century. Over the years it offered tantalizing but unfilled hope it could become the next big value added commodity for corn growers. Its value as a replacement for gasoline brought new attention to it. “We were looking at a way to make a little extra money on the farm,” says Lowell. “There were already some ethanol plants built, but none of them were making it profitably. We figured out a way to make it work.” The successful formula was to start slow, proceed carefully and bring the family’s talents to bear.
Rob Broin constructing the distillation towers.
Over the course of several years, the Broins built a distillery capable of producing about 250,000 gallons of ethanol. Oldest son Rob “went to school to learn the chemistry part of it,” his father says. “My wife would look through the want ads for used tanks and distilling equipment.” Sons Jeff and Todd studied agricultural business and computer technology in college, respectively. Family lore has Lowell working out the principles of distilling ethanol in a pressure cooker on the kitchen stove. It might have happened. “That’s what they tell me. The kids tell me we did that one time,” he says. He does remember “we had to mix sulfuric acid in the mash to make it ferment right. I always had holes in my clothes because of the acid.” An enduring recollection is
working with Rob and a neighbor, Ray Schoenfelder, to build the original distillery. Those were good times. Schoenfelder, “a mechanical genius,” according to Lowell, rented a house from the Broins. He was working as a Mercedes auto mechanic and taking vocational education classes in design and fabrication in Rochester, MN. “Lowell knew that,” says Schoenfelder. “That’s where we started to collaborate.” Making ethanol “was pretty much like distilling anything.” Lowell had the idea. “I just kind of went through the process that it could be done. It was pretty straightforward. Just a matter of how to connect this to that.” Lowell says “some of the neighbors thought we were crazy.” But in Schoenfelder’s mind “it absolutely made sense.”
The key to making a success of an ethanol venture was not distilling ethanol. “It’s how you get it to the marketplace, bring it to somebody else. That’s what makes a difference. Lowell was a great guy at getting it to the market,” he says. Dave Vander Griend, now CEO of ICM Inc. in Colwich, KS, played his own part in what seems in review a practically lighthearted venture. Vander Griend was just taking a break from his own career designing ethanol plants when Rob Broin contacted him about the family’s plans to produce ethanol. “I worked at the Broin farm a couple of months and helped weld it together to make an ethanol plant,” Vander Griend says. “I ate dinner with the family and even slept in the farm house.” Ethanol the Broins produced averaged about 175 proof. It was sold to several existing Minnesota ethanol plants that further refined
Present day image of where the fermentation tanks and distillation towers were located.
it to 200 proof. A wet mash cattle feed was a valuable ethanol production byproduct. “It was hard to sell, because it was wet. But people wanted to buy it,” Lowell says. The ability to sell feed, in fact, dictated the schedule of the entire ethanol enterprise. “We ran as much as we could sell feed,” he says. The Broins own dairy cattle became fond of another byproduct, the ironically named “sweetwater.” “It was the sourest stuff you can imagine, but the cattle loved it. We had a tank by the bunk feeder. We’d haul sweetwater to the cows, and when they saw that out in the pasture they’d come running.” Pioneers take all the risk. As compensation, however, they have the joy of discovery and the freedom
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to roam across a new country or an intellectual or economic landscape before it is fenced in by tradition, government regulations and common practice. It may not be readily recognized, but an endearing aspect of the early days of building the ethanol industry is simply “it was a fun thing to do,” says Lowell. He keeps coming back to that word. “It was a lot of fun. We enjoyed it.” Deep in the DNA of farmers is a fundamental delight in a good deal. As Lowell sought to produce ethanol without going too far into debt to do it, he happily roamed junkyards and auctions to acquire equipment, often from other ethanol plants that had failed. “We learned a lot from their mistakes,” he says. A competitor beat out the Broins for a set of steel tanks at an auction. But when that ethanol venture went under, “they sold the tanks back to us, and they hauled them to the farm for us.” The memory of that good deal still pleases Lowell. The Broin plant made a great stride toward completion when the family purchased columns needed for the distillery. “We bought everything we needed at the same place. We happened to find the right junkyard west of the Twin Cities.” “We didn’t stick a lot of money into it,” Lowell says of his family’s entry into ethanol. This differentiated the Broins from other ventures that did invest heavily. “They had so much stuck into it they had to make a profit right away.” It was several years before the Broins advanced sufficiently to add
on and double the size of the farm plant production. That plant has since been sold and reassembled on a South Dakota farm where it is still in operation, Lowell points out proudly. One of his few regrets is “we never took enough pictures of everything. People would love to see those pictures.” Schoenfelder and Vander Griend were caught up in the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship as well. “Absolutely. Anything that’s new is fun to me,” Schoenfelder says of working with the Broins. “You never know where it is going to go until you put something to pencil or machine it, make it. Wow, it’s either better or worse than you thought. But the outcome you never know until you actually do it. That’s the fun part.” Vander Griend says “it felt like you had an opportunity to make a difference.” He and Lowell were of like mind about the state of agriculture three decades ago. The lack of valueadded commodities resulted in tight government controls on production and purchasing programs to send U.S. grain to third-world countries. “We were ruining their agriculture and creating more starvation,” according to Vander Griend. For third-world subsistence farmers who make up the majority of the population in those countries, “how do you compete with free food?” Fulfilling the promise of ethanol to develop substantial new markets for U.S. farmers seemed a worthy quest.
These days, Schoenfelder is CEO of Black Diamond Extreme Engineering, in Cannon Falls, MN. The company develops products and designs prototypes for medical manufacturing and for power sports. His part in helping the Broins get into the ethanol industry “is basically really close to the beginning of what I do now. I would call it a major building stone. It opened my eyes to design work, prototyping.” Lowell looks back. “I don’t think anybody could do it like we did. That was luck. We did not push fast. People don’t do that anymore. They have got to get big right away.” The Broins eventually took their own step in that direction. Looking to buy equipment from a bankrupt ethanol plant in Scotland, SD, the Broins found such a good deal they purchased the entire 1 million gallon facility and decided Rob would take a break from farming to rebuild the facility and convinced Jeff to move to Scotland to run it. It was the start of POET. “It has given a lot of people jobs. I’m pleased to see that,” Lowell says of what the Broin venture into ethanol has become. The ethanol industry has moved beyond him. But he is still on the farm, helping a grandson who has taken over operating it. For his part in building the renewable fuels industry Lowell says “I never went to any school. It just looked like a lot of fun. The kids would get to figure it out and make it work if I couldn’t. It has made money for them, and now I get to go to Arizona in the wintertime.”
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.
Q: Balancing work and family can be really stressful. I often find I can’t wind down enough to get enough sleep. Then I am tired and irritable the next day, which stresses me out even more! Do you have any tips for me? A: I hear ya! With three teenagers, a busy job and a ton of volunteer commitments, things can get a little hectic in my life as well. I am thankful that I am able to recognize the warning signs of too much stress, so that I can prevent it from getting out of hand. What are the warning signs? • Insomnia • Anxiety • Moodiness and irritability • Stomachaches • Headaches • Increased heart rate • Feeling overwhelmed • Trouble concentrating • Lack of time to do the things you love • No longer caring about your appearance
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Too much stress over a long period of time can cause a host of health problems including digestive disruption, decreased immunity, brain dysfunction, weight gain, chronic illness, hormonal imbalances and premature aging. Yikes! We all have stress in our lives. No one is immune from it. However, how we perceive that stress and how we nurture our bodies through stressful times is what makes or breaks your health. Check out these tips to help you get a handle on that unavoidable stress. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS Learning to accept your circumstances and focus on the present helps you to relax and destress. You begin to clear out the background noise and just be aware of the moment. We often wish for different circumstances, which causes us more suffering and stress. Mindfulness allows us to accept what we cannot change and more fully celebrate the beauty of the moment. Here’s how: Find a quiet and comfortable spot. Sit tall with your heart open and your eyes gently closed. Slow and deepen your breath as you feel yourself relax. Then simply sit still. As thoughts come to mind, acknowledge them and let them pass like clouds in the sky. Don’t try to change anything or ruminate on anything. Just let it go. After some practice, you will be able to practice mindfulness right on the spot. TAKE FIVE When you feel your pulse start to rush and the redness come to your face, it is an indication that you may need a little time out. When you practice deep breathing, your parasympathetic nervous system helps to relax you and improve
your mental and emotional status. Your breath has so much power over your brain and body. You can slow yourself down and refocus in just a few seconds. Here’s how: Sit with a tall posture. Inhale slowly through the nose for a count of 5. I like to say to myself, “Hope, love, gratitude, peace and focus,” as I inhale. Then hold your breath for a count of 5. Finally, exhale very slowly through your nose for a count of 5. Repeat 5 times. NOURISH YOUR BODY What you choose to eat and drink directly affects your ability to cope during tough times. Living on processed foods and gobs of sugar? You may want to consider swapping that out for healthy fats that nourish your brain. When you give your brain the right building blocks, you are better able to stay clear-headed and focused. Here’s how: Eat more wild-caught salmon, extra virgin olive oil, olives, coconut oil, coconut, pastured eggs, nuts, seeds, avocados and organic butter. Also consider a high quality fish oil supplement to ensure you get enough Omega 3 fatty acids. SWEAT IT OUT You can dramatically improve your hormone balance through regular exercise. Mood, blood sugar, immunity and libido all benefit when you pump some iron, do the down dog or hit the track. Here’s how: Do a search for a yoga studio nearby and try a class. Hire a personal trainer for a few sessions to help get you started on a smart and safe path. Mix up your regular routine by adding High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Do you enjoy running or walking outside in the summer? Check out the “Get Active” section for an easy way to incorporate intervals. DE-STRESS BEFORE YOU REST When you’ve had a stressful day, jumping into bed and going to sleep can be a challenge. Treat your body kindly with some TLC before hitting the hay.
Here’s how: Consider a hot Epsom salts bath with lavender essential oil before bed. Practice light yoga or stretching to help the body to settle in for the night. Consider an herbal tea such as “Bedtime” by Yogi Brands. Finally, a magnesium citrate supplement of 300-500 mg/ night can help with the restlessness you may be feeling. SAY NO I know! It is really, really hard to say no. Especially when it is a worthy cause or when it involves people you love. But sometimes you have to. You know how you need to secure your own oxygen mask before helping others? Same here. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. Protecting your family time and doing the things you love is not selfish. When you are emotionally healthy, you are better able to give of your time and talents. Here’s how: “I’m sorry, but I am not able to do that right now.” If you are asked why, simply say, “It doesn’t fit in my schedule.” Try to avoid coming up with excuses. It is ok to be firm.
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.
Massaged Kale Salad with Mangos & Pumpkin Seeds SERVES: 4 -6
TOTAL TIME: 15 MINUTES
INGREDIENTS: • 3-4 bunches fresh kale, washed, stemmed and sliced into ribbons * Lacinato (black) is tenderer • ¼ red onion, very finely minced • 2 mangos, peeled and diced • ½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil • 1 tablespoon real honey • 1 lemon, juiced • 2-3 teaspoons sea salt, to taste
METHOD: • Put kale in a big bowl • Add lemon juice, honey, olive oil and salt • Massage with your hands for about 2-3 minutes and let sit for at least 5 minutes • Add onion, mangos and seeds to salad, mix it gently and let sit an additional 5 minutes to let flavors meld
Get Active Looking to change up your cardio routine? Here is an easy HIIT pattern that any walker or jogger can incorporate.
• If you are on a track: Sprint the straightaways and walk the curves. Repeat for 20 minutes. • If you are on the streets: Sprint one block and walk one block. Repeat for 20 minutes.
HIIT is an efficient way to boost metabolism,
• If you are on a bike trail: Sprint 30 seconds and
increase energy and improve health.
walk one minute. Repeat for 20 minutes.
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DON’T JUST CHANGE YOUR JOB
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.
NASCAR® UPDATE submitted by Ryan Welsh, Director of Sales and Marketing for American Ethanol Photos courtesy of NASCAR®
Leveling the Playing Field As a fundamental part of economics, competition affects how many options consumers can have, how much goods and services cost and how much innovation takes place. It creates winners and losers, and whether or not we like it, it is an important factor in a free and growing society. At its best, competition inspires excellence. At its worst, it breeds discouragement or greed. Nevertheless, it leads to change because of our basic human nature to be the best. It drives us to work harder, so we can implement these new solutions before anyone else and have the competitive advantage. In NASCAR, competition drives the sport. It has caused NASCAR to develop technologies that make
NASCAR’s sanctioning body has never taken safety infractions lightly but they did turn a blind eye to Jocko Flocko who would go on to become NASCAR’s only winning monkey back in 1953. Shortly after the win, Jocko’s curiosity got the best of him. While running up front during the Raleigh 300, Jocko slipped out of his harness and pulled up the trap door on the wheel well. He had seen Tim do this many times before as the device was used to gauge tire wear. A pebble came off the tire striking Jocko and sending him into a tizzy. Other drivers recalled seeing the monkey jumping around the car looking like a bird. Tim Flock literally had a monkey on his back, clawing everything, forcing him to make an unscheduled pit stop and hand the monkey off to a crew member. This took the team out of contention for the win and sent Jocko Flocko into racing retirement.
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the cars lighter, faster, safer and more efficient. Highpower engines, improved tires and lighter frames have resulted in cars that were previously racing up to speeds of 100 mph, which are now capable of going 200+ mph. It has changed the sport and forced NASCAR to implement rules that help level the playing field and keep drivers safe. The drive to be the best will sometimes cause people to forfeit their own safety even if it is against the rules. In the early 1950s, Tim Flock, who used to race with his pet monkey, Jocko Flocko, in the cockpit, was disqualified from a NASCAR modified race because they found his roll bars were made from painted wood, making the car much lighter.
NASCAR’s only winning monkey Jocko Flocko
Country singer Marty Robbins (“El Paso”) was an avid NASCAR fan and a part-time driver who actually raced many of the big superspeedways, including Talladega in 1973. He stunned the competition by turning laps that were 15 mph faster than his qualifying time. Apparently, in his motel room, Robbins had knocked the NASCARmandated restrictors out of his carburetor. After the race, NASCAR tried to give him the Rookie of the Race award, but Robbins wouldn’t accept it, admitting he broke the rules because he “just wanted to see what it was like to run up front for once.”
Marty Robbins at Talladega
The new 2015 American Ethanol paint scheme features E15 and supports retailers who have committed to offering E15 to the consumer
Stories of NASCAR’s rule breakers may be entertaining, but being safe and doing what is right in the realm of competition is no laughing matter. The days of allowing a monkey as a co-pilot are long gone with driver safety and car performance being held at a higher standard than ever before. NASCAR’s improvements in automotive technology and safety enhancements have paved the way for many changes we have seen in our everyday vehicles. Developments in rear view mirrors, fire retardant materials, disc brakes, aluminum engine blocks, improved tires and impact protection are all derived from auto racing. NASCAR is the perfect proving ground for new advances in engine and fuel performance because the competitive nature of the sport won’t allow for
a decrease in power and performance and safety regulations won’t allow a dangerous product. Five years ago, NASCAR made the seamless transition to Sunoco Green E15, a race fuel blended with 15% American Ethanol. It has proved to be a superior fuel as it has been tested across seven million miles of the most grueling conditions a fuel can be tested (8000 RPMs for about 4 hours). NASCAR made no significant changes to the engines and the fuel has been flawless. We too are taking what we learn at the track and transferring this knowledge to the public with the expansion of E15 into many service stations. It has been a great partnership and another great step in providing a proven ethanol solution for the general public.
The Words No One Wants To Hear
Jack Myers of POET Biorefining â€“ Corning is dealt a blow which forces him to reassess his priorities. by Janna Farley photos by Greg Latza and Ashley Templeton
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Five years ago, Jack Myers didn’t know how to move forward. That’s not something you’d expect to hear from the devoted dad and husband, community cheerleader and dedicated POET employee. And it wasn’t something he shared with many people. But the thought was never far from Myers’ mind as he underwent radiation therapy to treat his cancerous nasal polyps in 2010. Radiation wasn’t easy. The treatments usually left him nauseous. But what was even worse was the stress. Doctors warned Myers that radiation could cause him to go blind in one or both eyes, so he was constantly worried – especially when his eyesight started to get a little fuzzy and he started seeing unexplained flashes of light. It was almost too much to handle, Myers says. He’d already lost his sense of smell, and he started to wonder if life would be worth living if he were blind, too. “At one time, I wanted to quit radiation,” he says. “I just wanted to give up. It was all wearing me down too much.” That wasn’t the Jack Myers Greg Olsen, General Manager at POET Biorefining – Corning, knew.
GIVING HIS ALL Since the day they met eight years ago, Olsen says, Myers has been enthusiastic and committed – the kind of guy who doesn’t give up easily. “When he first came in the door and interviewed for the job, I had no doubt in my mind he was going to be the guy we hired,” Olsen says. “He has a good work ethic, good values. He’s a guy you know is going to give his all.” Olsen hasn’t been disappointed. Since day one, Myers has given 110 percent in his role as Commodity Manager for POET Biorefining – Corning. He helped open the plant in 2007. His primary responsibilities are to buy the grain to support the plants in Corning and Coon Rapids, where Myers has also taken on the Commodity Manager role, and to make sure all of the contracts with farmers are done correctly.
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Jack’s MRI images of his cancer.
As a grain buyer, Myers works with farmers who want to sell their corn.
It’s a job Myers takes very seriously. “I’m always striving to get better. I’m always looking forward,” he says. “That’s what I try to do. There’s room for improvement in all aspects – for me and for POET.” Myers encourages his co-workers to follow his lead. “Jack wants to do the best job he can do, and he wants everyone around him to do the best job they can do,” says Dan Wood, Commodities Supervisor at POET Biorefining – Corning. “He expects it.” Myers works so hard, Olsen says, that there have been days when he’s had to kick him out of the office and tell him to go home. “When he first moved here, he was really absorbed in his job,” Olsen says. “You can’t spend your entire life in the office.” Olsen urged Myers to get involved with the community. Not surprisingly, Myers jumped in with both feet, volunteering with the Adams Community Chamber of Commerce. He tirelessly works at fun events, like the annual pedal pull competition. There, he’d help line kids up (and keep them in line) for each age group. But he’s never shied away from the dirty jobs, either, like walking the streets with a garbage bag to pick up trash after community events. “He’s a great asset to the community,” says Jerry Peckham, President of the Adams Community Chamber of Commerce. “He always comes out with a good attitude. He’s just always friendly and smiling. I wish we had more people like him.” It’s all about doing whatever he can to make a difference, Myers says. So when an opportunity to serve as the Commodity Manager at POET Biorefining – Hanlontown came up, Myers took the job and started to commute back and forth from Corning to Hanlontown. Myers put his home up for sale and had plans to wait until the end of baseball season to move his family to Hanlontown. “I love working with people who have the vision to make a change in this country and beyond with renewable fuels,” he says. “Everyone here is committed to excellence. Everyone is always looking forward to get better. And that’s what I try to do, too.” Life was, Myers says, pretty darn good. And then, in July 2010, everything changed.
Jack Myers at POET Biorefining Corning.
SHIFTING GEARS At the time, Myers thought he was dealing with nasal polyps. Turns out, the polyps were cancerous. Fortunately, the cancer didn’t penetrate his brain. But because of where the tumor was located, surgery was risky, and surgeons had to remove a portion of Myers’s skull on his forehead to access the tumor. After recovering in the hospital for eight days, Myers was on medical leave for several weeks – the whole time thankful that everything went as well as it did. “Faith and family – and, of course, medical science – that’s what gets you through,” Myers says. Still, Myers worried about work. The best and closest option for the nearly four months of postsurgery radiation treatment was in Omaha, an almost four-hour drive from Hanlontown. Corning was just
Jack with his wife Billie and two children Trevor and Kayley an hour and a half away. Myers returned to Corning. “To allow me to switch gears like that was pretty amazing,” Myers says of POET. “That says a lot about the company, to not even blink an eye at that.” That’s not to say it was easy. With cancer, nothing is guaranteed. In the stressful months after his cancer diagnosis, Myers had a lot on his plate. “I think it affected my kids and my wife more than it did me. They’re the ones who had to see me in the hospital – and it was hard for them to see me like
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that,” he says. “So I spent a lot of time just trying to keep on a happy face. ‘Don’t worry. Dad can come back from anything,’ I’d tell them. But I wasn’t sure.”
A CHANGED MAN Today, five years later, Myers doesn’t like to think he’s a different person. But cancer definitely changed him. He’s still as determined and dedicated on the job as ever, but his approach to work – and to life – isn’t the same. “Through that whole ordeal, the whole unknown, you learn not to take things for granted,” Myers says. “After I fully recovered, I decided that if I’m here, I’m going to make the most of my time that I can.” For Myers, that meant taking a hard look at what’s really important. His wife and kids, now ages 16 and 12, are his No. 1 priority. That’s a given, Myers says. “Every day, there are only a certain number of things you can do. So you have to ask yourself, ‘What do you want to accomplish? How can you get it all done?’ You really have to start prioritizing what you want.” That kind of work-life balance is important at POET, Olsen says. Olsen knows how easy it is to push priorities aside when job demands get tough. “We still have a job to do, but when it comes down to it, we have to take care of ourselves, we have to take care of our families. That needs to come first.” That balance is healthy – at home and at the job, Olsen says. “It’s only going to make you a better person, a better employee.” That’s not to say that Myers hasn’t stopped giving 110 percent on the job. He’s just better able to see the bigger picture these days. “I’m happier than ever to be alive,” he says.
I B E LI EVE I N
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.
Senator Joni Ernst visits Hanlontown As part of her 99 County Tour, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) visited POET Biorefining – Hanlontown on Tuesday, April 7. The visit included a brief meeting with POET and local dignitaries followed by a tour of the plant. Pictured: Joe Rowe, Sen. Joni Ernst, Rick Scholbrock (Hanlontown Mayor), Kelly Hansen, Jorgen Paulsen, Derek Segerstrom and Michael Green
The LEGO Builders A group of 4-H students from Big Stone County toured POET Biorefining – Big Stone on March 19th to explore how automated controls are used in our industry. The group (3rd-6th grade) is learning to build and program using robotics via LEGO’s Mindstorms sets. POET’s DJ Haggerty helps teach the program. The Big Stone plant sponsored a LEGO Building Competition on March 22.
Welcome to Gowrie POET Biorefining – Gowrie recently served on the design committee and assisted in paying for the welcome signs for Gowrie, IA. Three signs were installed including one with a digital board that will display POET’s corn bids.
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Burnett Circle POET Biorefining – Macon had a road named on their property in memory of the late Steve Burnett, General Manager of the plant until his passing in 2013. The street sign was donated by the Macon County Commissioners and installed by an employee. Gwen Burnett, Steve’s wife (3rd from the left), visited the plant on April 13, 2015 and employees had the opportunity to show her the new sign. Pictured: Heather Baker, Pam Sampson, Gwen Burnett, Glenn Peterman, Ken Richison, Ed Kacmar and Howard Snell.
Party Like It’s “1989” POET Biorefining – Chancellor recently celebrated filling fermentation batch 10,000 with an 80s prom party. Team members participated in a bean bag tournament and enjoyed music and karaoke. Prizes were awarded for the best dressed male, female and couple.
Jennifer Bertrand & Jennifer Eilmes
Don Adams and Liz
Kenny & Kianne Gilles
Helping Those In Need POET Biorefining – Mitchell team members (and family) volunteered on April 18th at the Impact Lives Food Pack. More than 1,000 people from the community met at the Mitchell Corn Palace to help pack 286,000 meals that will go out around the world to help those in need. Each package of food delivered will feed POET team and family pictured: Back row: Laura Liable, Esther Linke, Marcia Eidahl, Sara Schoenfelder, Logan Tuet, Becky Pitz, Becky’s daughter Brianne. Front row: Kendra Schoenfelder, Esther’s granddaughter Sydney, Laura’s daughters Abigail, Raelynn and Riley, and Natalie Piehl.
a family of six for a day and one box will feed a family for a month. The meals contain rice, soy protein, dried vegetables and a powder (like chicken bouillon) with vitamins added.
The World’s Largest Ball of Paint In celebration of the Alexandria facility’s seven year anniversary, General Manager Dave Hudak took his team to add a layer of paint to the World’s Largest Ball of Paint, which is a tourist attraction in Alexandria. POET Biorefining – Alexandria painted the 24,500th coat of paint on the ball, which has been certified and listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Pictured: Vincent Tio, John Twibell, Deborah Rife, Ryan Lindeman, Dean Thurston, Dan McMahan, Kim Hiatt, Dave Hudak and Kari Cook
CPR Certified In March, POET Biorefining – Hanlontown completed plant-wide CPR/ First Aid training. Many have expressed thanks for the skills training, having immense value at work and beyond. Team members also report a heightened comfort level with coworkers having been trained how to react in a CPR-type emergency. Pictured: Jorgen Paulsen and Barb Vermedahl 52
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Biomass Blast The biomass team at POET Biorefining – Emmetsburg has been giving presentations to 4th graders on biorefining and biomass techniques used at Project LIBERTY. The presentations involved educational materials and seven stations of hands on experiments. Over the course of three days, this program – “Biomass Blast” – exposed over 440 kids to concepts in renewable energy.
National Agriculture Day POET Biorefining – Hudson’s Commodity Manager, Russ Hazel, was invited to the Hudson Care Center. Russ visited with residents at the Hudson Care Center and gave a short presentation on ethanol and feed production. Residents were able to see and feel samples from the corn that is delivered to the plant and the co-products that are produced from corn. The purpose of the invitation was to celebrate the abundance that is provided by local agriculture and to connect with residents who were once producers or lived on a family farm.
© 2015 CenterPoint Energy 144978
CONUNDRUM ACROSS 1. Risk-reducing position 6. Technology POET created to evenly
distribute distillers grains onto rail
cars (goes with 66 across)
10. “Close Encounters....” craft 13. Daisy variety 14. Aptly named tangelo 15. Once more 16. Patented POET system that
converts starch to ethanol
18. Daybreak 19. Plays the odds 20. Cookie brand 21. WW II fighting unit (abbr.) 22. Palindromic, poetic preposition 23. Lads and dads 24. Copies 27. Scatter 30. Living 31. Starts a computer up again 36. Freezing
35. Backgammon impossibility
1. English political philosopher
38. Explanation of one’s motives
39. Marks on a survey
3. Showtime crime series
40. Repeats 5 times for an Abba song
41. Major network
5. Musket ending
44. Show off
6. “Filthy” dough
45. Symbol of industry
47. Victorian, in a way
8. “What’s more . . .”
9. Insult, slangily
49. Wins every game in a series
10. Not scared
51. Tropical fish
56. ___ record
11. Just a handful
52. War horse
57. Green Gables or Thousand
12. Have the deed to
53. Golfer’s target
15. Shift shapes
56. Pith of palm starch
58. Nutritional animal feed produced by
17. Cry at a circus
57. Quickly, quickly
POET from residue corn solids
21. Dinosaur’s last name
58. Confer knighthood
60. Key consumption statistic that
24. Plant again
59. Law and Order
POET has reduced as part of its
25. Story start
26. Pig pen
60. “ . . . walk and ___ not that
62. Part of B.T.U.
28. Play a wrong note, e.g.
63. Shrek, for one
61. Bring into play
64. ___ and took notice
32. Kennedy movie
65. Cry from a lamb
66. See 6 across
37. Gas released from yeast during
fermentation which POET sells
for use in food processing and
41. Touch of frost 42. Wet 43. Tree with gourdlike fruit 46. Chimney grimes 50. Group of ants 51. RX abbr. 54. Propel a boat, manually 55. Cereal grain
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investigation subject they are,” Shakespeare
FOR ANSWERS, VISIT
directory To receive free information about products or services advertised or listed in this issue, please contact advertisers via their Web address below.
PAGE ADVERTISER 55
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FROM THE HEARTLAND by Greg Breukelman
Get Screwed! One day during my teenage years, I remember observing a situation where I thought someone was taking advantage of my dad. I don’t recall the exact situation – maybe it was during a family vacation and a pan handler convinced him to hand over a few bucks. Even though the circumstance is vague, I do remember exactly what his response was when, as an all-knowing teenager, I informed him that he was being swindled. But this no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is guy who was raised without a mom said to me, “You’re probably right. But when I’m on my deathbed, I’d rather be the guy that got screwed over than the guy that screwed over someone else.” Over the years, I’ve thought a lot about that off-handed comment made by my dad and what he meant by it. I don’t think he was saying that a person should purposefully get used or exploited. I’m also pretty sure he wasn’t promoting paying more for something than what was asked – after all, he was Dutch. What I’ve come to realize is he wanted me to understand that worrying about being taken advantage of is no way to live life. And if someone intentionally does “screw” me over – it’s really the other person’s problem, not mine. He was telling me to be generous, to give freely and what someone does with that generosity is their responsibility. In other words, he said it’s better to be a giver than a taker. Little did my dad know, not too many years later he would actually be lying on his deathbed. After his passing our family received mountains of cards and letters. Many wrote us about how my dad made a difference in their lives. We heard stories about the impact of his
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generosity and his encouragement. We were told by some about how he, as a small town banker, gave them the break they needed when they needed it most. Or how he helped get their new business or farm operation financed when no one else had faith they could make it work. We heard wonderful tales from his co-workers about how they owed a great deal of their success to him because he invested in them as individuals. Just a couple weeks ago, a prominent local businessman stopped me to tell me about the impact my dad made on their entire organization decades ago and that it wouldn’t be where it is today without him. My heart jumped with joy! This month marks twenty years since my dad passed from this world to the next. So I’ve been thinking a lot about him and the lessons he taught me through his words and his actions. His life taught me about not sweating the small stuff. He taught me about honesty and doing what is right. He taught me the importance of family. And he taught me about generosity. Even though he didn’t get as many years on Earth as I would have wished, I’m grateful for the time I did have with him. And I also hope that when I’m on my deathbed I’m known as the guy that got screwed over instead of the guy that screwed over someone else. Thanks for the lessons Dad! I still miss you!
Greg Breukelman works at POET as Senior Vice President of Communications.
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