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THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

Gaining momentum E15 – Coming Soon to a Station Near You

The History of POET – Betting the Farm on Scotland The Broin family breathes life back into a failed ethanol plant.

Focusing on the Future with Cover Crops POET’s research begins a multi-year study into the proper uses of cover crops, stover removal and tillage variations.

More Than Just Ethanol POET Biorefineries bring distinct advantages to rural communities and state economies. Fall 2015


IMAGINATION YIELDS

INNOVATION + At POET, we cultivate solutions. Our spirit of innovation made us a global leader in ethanol production, and now we’re producing even more efficient biofuels, foods, feeds and natural alternatives to petrochemicals.

Opportunity is everywhere, if you know where to look. poet.com


contents FEATURES

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THE HISTORY OF POET BETTING THE FARM ON SCOTLAND

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

by Peter Harriman The Broin family breathes life back into a failed ethanol plant.

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FOCUSING ON THE FUTURE WITH COVER CROPS

by Steve Lange POET’s research begins a multi-year study into the proper uses of cover crops, stover removal and tillage variations.

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MORE THAN JUST ETHANOL

by Thom Gabrukiewicz POET Biorefineries bring distinct advantages to rural communities and state economies.

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GAINING MOMENTUM

by Lori Weaver With lower pricing, better performance and fewer pollutants than gasoline, E15 gives retailers a leg up on competitors who have yet to offer the new ethanol blend.


contents COLUMNS

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04

IN SIGHT

by Jeff Broin

06

FIRST LOOK

by Jeff Lautt

56

FROM THE HEARTLAND

by Greg Breukelman

DEPARTMENTS

08 10 18 28 40 44 46 50

30

50

TOP TWEETS

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P / 605.965.2200 F / 605.965.2203 ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS Please direct all article ideas, as well as questions or comments regarding the magazine to: vital@poet.com

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SUBSCRIPTIONS

PULSE PERSPECTIVE FARM FRESH ENERGY FOR LIFE NASCAR® UPDATE RENEW PEOPLE OF POET

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

2

MAIL

$4.95 per issue To subscribe, visit www.vitalbypoet.com

COPYRIGHT Vital is published quarterly by POET, LLC and other individuals or entities. All materials within are subject to copyrights owned by POET. Any reproduction of all or part of any document found in Vital is expressly prohibited, unless POET or the copyright owner of the material has expressly granted its prior written consent to so reproduce, retransmit or republish the material. All other rights reserved. For questions, contact the POET legal department at 605.965.2200. The opinions and statements expressed by content contributors and advertisers in Vital are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of POET. Neither POET nor its third-party content providers shall be liable for any inaccuracies contained within Vital, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. ©2015 POET, LLC. All rights reserved. Publication Design & Layout: Cassie Medema info@gofunkyfresh.com


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

It has been a long, hard battle, and the ethanol industry is used to defending our position. We know when given free market choice, consumers will choose a cheaper and cleaner alternative to gasoline. So when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) once again tried to change the law and retreat from a better fuel, POET was ready to push back. And so were you. On May 29, the EPA released its proposed Renewable Volume Obligation numbers for 2014, 2015 and 2016. These volumes determine the minimum amount of renewable fuel blended into the fuel supply for that given year. Unfortunately, this proposal once again fell short of what we know the industry is capable of providing and decreased the amount of biofuels set forth by Congress and the president when the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was passed. It is difficult to understand the EPA’s actions that will negatively impact the environment. But then we need to consider the far-reaching power of the oil industry. In response, POET, along with various industry groups, participated in the public comment period – telling the EPA the effects such a proposal would have on our jobs, our local economies and our communities. At the end of the comment period, the EPA received more than 640,000 comments! Here at POET, we submitted nearly 7,000 personal comments – more than tripling our efforts from last year’s comment period! Many in Washington don’t know what it’s like to grow up in a part of America where you can drive along a country road and not see another car for miles. And I’m sure many couldn’t pick a combine out of a farm machinery lineup, which is why our personal stories in these comments make a difference. Take a look at this comment submitted by a 4th generation farmer in Iowa: “Every bushel of corn that I grew this past year has been processed by the ethanol industry to add value to that corn…Any change to reduce the RFS will devastate farm families and the entire rural community.”

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This comment is just one of thousands that describe the positive impact the ethanol industry has on everyday life. I consider myself lucky to be able to see this impact firsthand every single day. If only politicians and regulators in Washington, D.C. had that same opportunity! I’d like to personally thank each and every one of you who took time to share your story with the EPA. We anticipate the EPA will announce its final decision at the end of November and we will continue to do everything we can to make sure our voices are heard loud and clear. Although the comment period has officially closed, it’s never too late to get involved. Make sure to check out www.growthenergy. org/action/ today and help defend ethanol and agriculture! This is a critical time for our industry, which is why it’s important investors and farmers let their representatives in Washington know how important the ethanol industry is to our local economies and American farms. Our nation’s 16th President Abraham Lincoln once said: “Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” Our opponents may have a lot more money and a lot more lobbyists, but the truth is on our side. We know our feet are in the right place and with your help, I guarantee you we will stand firm to protect what is right for the future of our country.


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

2051

Phone: 201-767-3900 · Toll-Free: 800-722-6622 www.gea.com


FIRST LOOK by Jeff Lautt, CEO, POET

In the last issue of Vital, Lowell Broin summed up the driving spirit behind the birth of POET. “The government was paying to leave land idle,” he said. “Why should we leave it idle?” That idea on a small Minnesota farm sparked the family ethanol plant that would pave the way for the company we see today. Little did they know at the time what their idea would really mean, not only in rural communities, but for the entire nation. Today, we have a clearer picture of the impact that POET has on the fortunes of America, thanks to a recent economic impact survey we commissioned. These results are covered in more detail later in this issue. A few highlights from that study show that nationally, POET generates • $13.5 billion in sales for U.S. businesses • $5.3 billion for the U.S. Gross Domestic Product • Nearly 40,000 jobs across many sectors of the economy • $3.1 billion in income for U.S. families These numbers are not just POET’s spending and production. These numbers reflect the economic activity we generate through businessto-business transactions, which span industries such as farming, chemicals, transportation and more. These numbers also reflect the increased economic activity at restaurants, hardware stores and more thanks to the new income generated by the plant. POET’s impacts often cross state borders and ripple throughout the country. But the effects at the local level in small counties across the Midwest are most visible. Our plants are changing communities for the better. Our investors, many of them farmers themselves, are

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well aware of this. This was in fact a primary reason they chose to invest in ethanol production, and it further solidifies POET’s roots in agriculture. Of course for all of the good things POET does for its communities, it also receives phenomenal support from its stakeholders. We understand that we owe much of our success to the great people who live in these communities: those who work at POET, those who supply us grain, those who are simply supportive of POET as a part of the business community in their town. Each of our plants take great pride in being an integral part of that town’s identity. We all have “hometown pride”! Our communities give of themselves to us, and we give back. It’s a proven recipe for mutual success. We’re in the business of ethanol production for a lot of good reasons, not the least of which is that it’s a strong industry rife with opportunity for an innovative company like POET. Besides being good business, it improves our environment and the agricultural economy. POET’s production alone potentially offsets nearly $5.5 billion that would otherwise go to foreign oil producers but instead stays in the U.S., recirculating largely in the agriculture sector. The Broin family farm and the opportunities ethanol provided for them is at the core of our identity. The recent economic data tells me we are fulfilling that early vision to build new business and economic opportunities for agriculture. We’re putting grain to good use, and everyone benefits.


2015:

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 we’re making progress toward the next generation of sustainable, renewable fuels.

Learn more at GrowthEnergy.org/E15


TOP TWEETS

8/28

American Ethanol @AmericanEthanol

8/12

@kmanning

Thanks @chadgreenway52 and

If you ever wondered whether

8/25

Kelly Manning

@AmericanEthanol was

@Vikings coach Zimmer for

compatible with marine

discussing #ethanol with

engines…here’s your answer.

@GeneralClark @GrowthEnergy

Jade @jademarie_23

Just saw an @ethanolbyPOET commercial while watching Hulu. Love to see such a great commercial informing the public

8/6

about a great company!

8/13

can handle the Daytona 500, Talladega or the Brickyard,

@SueEllspermann

it will definitely meet the

Celebrated with

needs of daily drivers.”

@ethanolbyPOET and farmers key biofules. – S

@GrowthEnergy

Richard Childress: “If #E15

Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann

role, opportunities and success of

Growth Energy

8/6

America’s Renewable Future @AR_Future

#RFS supports 852,000 American jobs & $46.2 billion in wages annually. Candidates who take the economy seriously must support it. #GOPdebate 8

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8/3

Brad Hartkopf @BradHartkopf

At the @ethanolbyPOET Summer Sizzle in Worthington, Minnesota. Great support for the #RFS

Twitter is a forum for thousands of

7/21

POET

conversations taking

@ethanolbyPOET

place in 140-character

Brian’s 180 miles in and all smiles riding in his @AmericanEthanol jersey! #RAGBRAI

comments, with participants from all over the world. People or organizations are

7/18

Iowa Corn @iowa_corn

names such as

“We’re looking

@ethanolbypoet.

for ways to make

The topic of

racing greener

conversation is often

& using #ethanol made from corn does that.” @GabbyChaves #IowaCorn300

7/15

represented by user

Sen. Mark Kirk

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

@SenatorKirk

comments do

#IL farmers export

not necessarily

more than 1 billion

represent the

bushels of corn

opinions of POET, LLC.

annually and need fair #RFS.

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PULSE 8/29 “Because of our vision, dedication and steady resolve for clean, renewable energy, Iowa has moved from complete dependence on fossil fuels, much of which was imported, to a leader in renewables. This commitment has created jobs, increased family incomes, provided more consumer choice and established Iowa as a model for how our nation can become energy independent. As presidential candidates come to your community, encourage them to look at the well-established Iowa blueprint for energy independence and support a robust Renewable Fuel Standard which has helped Iowa and the nation.”

8/24 “Under pressure from the oil industry, your Administration is proposing to change the law midstream to allow oil companies to avoid their obligations by simply refusing to distribute renewable fuel to consumers. The proposal would gut the core concept behind the law and break the promise of the RFS. Advanced biofuel innovators are not going to fail. But America will fail to lead if you let oil companies off the hook and investors are forced to look overseas to more stable biofuel policies.” – An open letter from Fuels America to President Obama, which ran as an advertisement in the August 24th edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal during Senator Reid’s (D-NV) National Clean Energy Summit.

8/16 “The oil industry will say anything to maintain its monopoly, and that’s really what this fight is all about. But in the end, it’s the consumer who should choose the winner. Give America’s drivers the ability to choose a fuel that meets their price and performance needs, and let them decide between the status quo and higher-performing, lowercost homegrown alternatives.” – Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, in a recent editorial.

– Iowa Governor Terry Branstad in a recent opinion piece submitted to The Gazette.

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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8/13 “Ethanol provides us the means to produce our own clean fuel and keep the enormous economic benefits within American’s borders. The impact flows from the plants to farmers, communities, throughout the states in which they operate and across the nation.” – POET CEO Jeff Lautt in a press release announcing the results of POET’s first-ever economic impact study.

8/5 “My team didn’t win six Sprint Cup championships, six Nationwide Series championships and two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championships by not paying attention to the performance details of our race cars. So when NASCAR decided to switch to a 15 percent ethanol fuel in 2011, we did our homework. We didn’t listen to the empty rhetoric surrounding ethanol. We did our own testing and proved that higher blends of ethanol deliver. Since switching fuels, NASCAR has experienced an increased horsepower from a higher-octane ethanol fuel blend and decreased emissions. After five years and over seven million miles, E15 has proven its merit. It has met and exceeded the performance requirements for the most demanding driving situations imaginable.” – Richard Childress, owner of Richard Childress Racing, in an opinion piece submitted to the Charlotte Observer.

8/1 “The Environmental Protection Agency is making life difficult for the world’s most productive farmers. Nebraskans help feed America and the world through hard work, advanced technology and bountiful natural resources. We also help fuel Americans without increasing our dependency on oil imports from the Middle East. But through burdensome and intrusive regulations, the EPA is thwarting affordable, abundant, homegrown biofuels.” – U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (RNE) defends biofuels and the Renewable Fuel Standard in a recent opinion piece.

7/27

7/14 “Everyone should do it. Despite the obvious reasons – ‘It’s the right thing to do’ – you will find your team members coming back changed in such a positive way. I know our team gained more appreciation for the everyday joys in life and less worried about material things. We learned a lot about life and friendships from them that will change you and your company forever. They taught me more than I could ever teach them.” – David Olsen, Controller at POET, explains the importance of businesses offering service opportunities to employees in an interview with the Sioux Falls Business Journal after his recent trip to Kenya with Mission Greenhouse.

“We simply have to find new ways to meet our transportation fuel needs. We need to strengthen our own economy, put our treasuries into efforts that will advance our interests, and reduce the huge influx of dollars fueling conflict and terrorism in the Mideast and enriching troublemakers. We need to end the oil price shocks, fears of shortages and threats of supply disruption as our economy is gouged and buffeted by major oil-exporting countries selfseeking policies. Enough is enough.” – General Wesley Clark explains in this editorial why the Renewable Fuel Standard is important to America’s economy and national security.

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the

History of POET

Betting the farm on scotland The Broin family breathes life back into a failed ethanol plant. by Peter Harriman

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This is the second part of a series on the History of POET. The first installment, Ethanol Pioneers, can be read in the previous issue. With its 1.7 billion gallon annual production – enough ethanol to fill 2,600 Olympic swimming pools, float seven aircraft carrier hulls or create similarly incomprehensibly mammoth measures – POET is among the world’s preeminent ethanol producers. It is also a driving force in advancing the science and technology of biofuels. POET’s history gives insight into how it got where it is today. The company’s genetic code features agile learning, meticulous planning, an unblinking eye on efficiency and quality and excellent timing. But a final attribute is the lifeline that allowed POET to leverage all those advantages, and it goes all the way back to the earliest days of the Broin family in Scotland, SD. Boldness. POET’s founders put their family legacy on the line to bring their vision for a renewable fuels industry to reality. Throughout the 1980s, ethanol was still licking its wounds as the first generation of production facilities had fallen victim to unfavorable markets, costly and inefficient fermenting and production processes and failed management. “It had come out of the 1980s beat up and bloody. The whole industry had a lot of potential. But it wasn’t quite there,” remembers Dennis Everson. He is a member of First Dakota National Bank’s board of directors and was formerly president and manager of the bank’s agri-business division. In 1987, in this uncertain environment, Lowell Broin and his sons Rob and Jeff partnered to buy a bankrupt ethanol plant in Scotland at an auction. Their plan was to bid on equipment that could be transported from South Dakota to an existing small plant on the Broin’s Minnesota dairy farm or,

if the price was right, to acquire the entire Scotland operation. In a brochure announcing the auction, “the pictures made it look like a very nice facility,” Jeff recalls. At five cents on the dollar, the price was right, according to Jeff. Rob recalls the Broins putting four times what they paid for the plant into rebuilding it. Had this not worked out, it was not an investment the Broins could have simply walked away from. “We leveraged the family farm to get that done,” says Jeff. “It is a Century Farm, and it was definitely at risk in this venture.” “There were some scary times there knowing the farm was backing it up,” adds Rob. The auction photos advertising the plant flattered it. “A lot of stuff was in need of clean up and repair. It had been sitting there for six years,” says Rob. A bidder the Broins beat out for the shuttered plant had figured its best use was to scrap the equipment and use it as a corn storage facility. James Putnam, of Armour, SD, was a new member of the South Dakota House of Representatives when the Broins came to Scotland. Over the next 26 years, as a member of the House and Senate, he was a key legislative ally as the Broins sought to build a new renewable fuels industry. Putnam recalls the Broins as they sought to revive ethanol production in Scotland. “I remember the dad with young fellows. They knew nothing but work.” At 22, many people find themselves challenged to try something new. Jeff Broin took it to a new level. He was just out of college and beginning a career in banking as a loan officer when his family bought the Scotland ethanol plant. He was summoned home

shortly after the auction for what he thought would be a weekend of work on the family farm. Instead, his parents presented a lifechanging proposition. Would he become general manager of the ethanol plant? “I was a young man, adventurous. I was willing to try anything once.” Rob, 27, soon followed him from Minnesota to South Dakota for a nine month stay to rebuild the plant after harvest concluded on the family farm. Based on their respective talents, Jeff pursued financing and business for the venture, as well as handling the politics. Rob, who had largely built and operated the family farm ethanol plant, took on the task of modifying and improving the equipment and the technology at the Scotland facility. Both were daunting challenges. “Nobody wanted to give us insurance,” Jeff recalls. “We couldn’t get bonding,” for the federal alcohol tax. “Everywhere we turned there was a roadblock to the next step.” A Nebraska creamery owner the Broins met at an auction provided $250,000 cash to back up the bond. Acquiring used equipment from other defunct ethanol plants, closed creameries and from the Schlitz Brewery in Milwaukee, WI that was going out of business, provided material for the needed reconstruction and eventual expansion of the Scotland plant. An unexpected spike in the corn price drained the Broins’ cash reserves and nearly derailed their venture just as it was getting under way. “We got a big scare, but it came back down,” says Rob of the corn price. And the distillers grains and thin stillage were sold to dozens of local and regional dairies and feedlots. It took time and perseverance to get the product

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sold so the plant could operate. The Broins’ dogged determination, and Jeff ’s persuasiveness, helped them gain access to needed capital through local bank financing, a loan from the South Dakota Revolving Economic Development and Initiative fund and a 20-cent per gallon state incentive for ethanol. “They put on their good pants and shirts and came to Pierre to talk to the legislators,” Putnam recalls. “No one was real happy about the subsidies, but they had a good plan.” Having had bad experiences with past ethanol failures, legislators were skeptical about supporting the Broins with an economic development loan and incentives, Putnam says. But Jeff and legislative supporters like Putnam were able to get new Gov. George Mickelson behind the Broins’ venture. “The governor looked at the figures himself. He said ‘let’s run a bill and see what happens,’” Putnam said. Everson, at First Dakota, attests to Jeff Broin’s ability to make a compelling case for the Scotland plant. “He walked in with a plan. ‘Here’s what we do. Here’s how we ramp up. This is what we need today. If it works, this is what we need tomorrow,’” Everson says. “He had an answer to all my questions. It was hard to say no to such a plan.” Everson even took the unusual step of bringing members of the bank’s board of directors to Scotland. “It’s the only time I’ve ever taken the board to a borrower.” But how many borrowers are willing to back their belief with their family legacy? “You didn’t have to be around Jeff and Rob very long. Their enthusiasm was contagious,” says Everson.

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Frank Kloucek, a Scotland farmer who served in the South Dakota House and Senate from 1991 through 2012, was another supporter of the Broins’ efforts. Kloucek also says he got the first load of livestock feed, a byproduct of ethanol production, from the Scotland plant. Kloucek remembers the Broins had to annually overcome opposition to state funding for the decade they sought it. “The Legislature was always behind, then on the last day, they’d find some money to fund it,” Kloucek says of ethanol subsidies. He also recalls Jeff appearing at a 7 a.m. committee hearing to fend off opponents. “I don’t know if he drove all night. He was there.” Jeff calls the economic incentives “extremely important. We wouldn’t have made it financially without them.” However, “all those years, not once was it included in the governor’s budget. Every session we would have to work with key legislators to figure out how to fund it. The South Dakota Corn Growers, and one farmer in particular, Orrie Swayze, a Wilmot farmer, were always there to help.” Eventually, the late Jeff Fox, first a lobbyist for the South Dakota Corn Growers Association and later Vice President for Legal and Governmental Affairs for POET, devised a plan that would create a mechanism that tied the per gallon subsidy to the gas tax, which provided structure to the effort to secure funding. “But every year we would have to go back and lobby and testify to make sure it stayed in place.”

MAKING IT WORK Rebuilding the Scotland plant presented Rob challenges equal to his brother’s efforts to finance it. To keep costs down, the Broins

purchased as much used equipment at auctions as they could. Still, the Broins had to replace much of the existing plant. A system commonly used in ethanol plants built in the 1970s and 1980s to upgrade alcohol proof from 190 to over 200 “didn’t really work,” says Rob. “I knew that would have to be replaced.” A vital, and expensive, centrifuge system disintegrated in the first few weeks of operation and needed to be replaced. “We didn’t have a good backup plan for that.” Rob had been instrumental in building the ethanol plant on the Broin farm. He gained valuable insight there. “I thought ethanol was like agriculture. The production happens in the fermentation. The yeast do the work. They’re like livestock.” Growing up on a dairy farm, he learned the importance of taking care of cattle. In making ethanol, “you need to take care of your yeast.” Rob returned to farming in Minnesota after the initial startup. Two years later, the decision was made to expand from one million to three million gallons per year, and Rob returned to Scotland permanently. In the months of reconstructing the original plant and subsequent years of expanding it, Rob remembers “we were just solving problems every day, finding ways to make things work better. “It was a really fun time. It was a new industry. There was a lot of opportunity.” Younger brother Todd Broin took a year off from college to work on the farm to


support the venture, later moving to Scotland after college, first as a production manager, then to apply his computer science degree to develop computer control systems for the ethanol production process. It was an example of the drive toward efficiency that characterized the Broins’ success. At the urging of Steve Lewis, a fermentation specialist from Genencor who is now POET’s Vice President of Innovation, and Deb Roth, now Plant Research Lab Director at POET Research Center, the Broins leased a High Power Liquid Chromatograph. It was an expensive addition to an ethanol plant in that era, but it made the Scotland plant more efficient than its competitors. When they began making ethanol in Scotland, the Broins also learned about managing people. They originally hired 13 employees, and Jeff said over the first years he came to realize treating them as members of a team was the best way to draw out their talent and loyalty. “We couldn’t afford to pay people much at the beginning.” Rob chuckles. He had colorful memories of the original operations crew. “It was a young crew, and we didn’t have a lot of experience being people managers. There were some colorful moments, that’s for sure.” The success of the Broins’ venture in Scotland helped spur the creation of farmerowned ethanol plants in South Dakota and across the country, Putnam stated. Kloucek calls South Dakota’s financial backing for the Broins as they were establishing themselves “maybe the best economic investment in the state’s

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history.” And Everson says, “Jeff and his two brothers literally brought new technology to ethanol that made it viable. They were the pioneers of the ethanol industry as we know it today.” From the original Scotland production facility, POET has grown to 28 plants. Jeff says “eventually we learned what was working at Scotland and that helped us.” The Broins branched out into building and managing ethanol plants through POET Plant Management. Divisions were added for marketing ethanol and coproducts, as well as a division for research. The Scotland plant has become POET Research Center. At Scotland now, state-of-the-art technology in biofuels production is developed and taken to commercial scale in the two pilot plants located there as well as the original plant, now 8 million gallons per year in capacity. “We have a lot of flexibility. No other company in the industry has the ability to do that scale of research the way we do. It’s a major strategic advantage for all of the POET plants,” says Jeff. The Broins’ decision to risk the legacy of the family farm to make ethanol in Scotland is the cornerstone of POET today. This is Rob’s take on the Scotland era: “We were at the right place at the right time with the right people with the right talents. God’s hand was on it.” “What we started in Scotland led to a major impact on worldwide commodity and land prices,” says Jeff. “There were so many that played a role in this venture and we wouldn’t be here without them. To all of you I can only say thank you.”


W I S C O N S I N

WORLD’S LARGEST & LONGEST RUNNING ETHANOL EVENT

32nd ANNUAL

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


PERSPECTIVE

Vital asked: As a farmer, how has the ethanol industry impacted your operation? JERRY DEMMER, CLARKS GROVE, MN Ethanol has helped open new markets and created new opportunities for my family farm operation in Southern Minnesota. Just as importantly, I’ve seen what ethanol has done to improve rural communities. All communities, big or small, urban or rural, ag-based or not, need economic opportunities and strong infrastructure to thrive. Thanks to ethanol, many rural communities have seen revitalized development on Main Street, better schools and upgraded healthcare facilities. Rural areas still have their own unique challenges, but the impact of ethanol has given many people a reason to return to rural communities. That’s not only good for my own farm, it’s good for all of us.

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JOE RUSSELL, MUNCIE, IN It has really increased corn prices. I have six ethanol plants within 50 miles of here, and from my perspective, competition for my corn is a wonderful thing. But perhaps even more importantly, now that we’re able to take corn, which has captured sunlight, turn it into liquid fuel almost instantly, rather than having to wait for hundreds of millions of years, that puts American farmers in the energy business. We now have the ability to produce plenty of corn and soybeans for food and still have extra to help supply the needs of the motoring public. The amount of ethanol now exceeds the amount of fuel we get from the Alaska pipeline. Ethanol has also been a great thing for rural communities. It’s an honor to be a farmer and be part of that equation.

ROB SHELLHAMMER, WABASH, IN It’s been a tremendous thing! I’m situated between two ethanol plants, and by having end users in the neighborhood, it has resulted in better margins and better basis than we could get previously.

RANDY OVERMAN, PERU, IN Since the ethanol plants came, we have more competitive markets, which obviously helps our bottom line. And the plants are also close enough that it’s easier to haul to them rather than other terminal locations. It has also benefited the country by growing our own supply rather than having to import oil from other countries.

SEAN OGREN, LANGFORD, SD We like the feed that comes from the byproduct of making ethanol, the wet distillers. It also puts good use to numerous bushels of corn which has to have an impact on the price. Especially locally, the ethanol plant usually pays a dime or a nickel more which in turn helps keep the local elevators competitive with their price.

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FOCUSING ON THE

FUTURE

WITH COVER CROPS by Steve Lange | photos by Greg Latza

POET’s research begins a multi-year study into the proper uses of cover crops, stover removal and tillage variations.


In mid-August, a pair of Emmetsburg, IA-area farmers planted cover crops – oats and tillage radish – on a total of 220 acres on two test plots that, over the next few years, could be some of the most scrutinized, most soilsampled, most monitored and most marketed farm fields in the country. On those 220 acres, POET, in partnership with Monsanto, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Iowa State University, the National Soil Health Partnership, AgSolver and others, has planted the seeds for future research – at 40 pounds per acre, using a prototype Hagie Interseeder that allows summer planting of cover crops before harvest without

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aerial seeding. This land will yield research results in three areas important to the near future of agriculture: crop cover, stover removal and tillage methods. One plot will test crop cover and varying degrees of stover removal. The other plot will monitor crop cover and tillage methods, comparing the effectiveness of normal tillage to reduced tillage to strip till. While the study has been in the works for three-plus years, its importance seems to be at an alltime high. The increased need for biomass has driven the demand for stover removal, which has not only served to help manage residue but has also added a revenue

stream for some farmers. Many Emmetsburg-area growers have seen the benefits of that firsthand through Project LIBERTY, POETDSM’s commercial-scale cellulosic biorefinery. And the recent Des Moines Water Works lawsuit, in which the utility is suing three Iowa counties for allowing nitrates from farm fields to pollute drinking water, has helped move the long-underutilized and overlooked practice of planting crop cover to the forefront of farming. It’s not a new concept. The history of cover crops dates back thousands of years and has been practiced by ancient Chinese, Indian and Northern European farmers who


planted lupins to help shore up sandy soils. In ancient Rome, grape farmers regularly planted bell beans in vineyards. “Originally, many farmers used legumes as a cover crop,” says USDA Research Scientist Tom Kaspar. “They would plow them down as green manure before we had commercial fertilizers.” Those long-ago-learned history lessons, though, sometimes get lost when it comes to long-term planning. “We’ve known forever that erosion was bad,” Kaspar says. “It took the Dust Bowl to remind us. But you drive around the countryside in the spring and you see that the message hasn’t gotten through to all of the people.” “Farming as we know it today has to evolve and change, become more progressive and efficient,” says Adam Wirt, Director of Research Operations at POET. “This study can give us important data in two areas that can help drive this change.” For Wirt, cover crops, stover removal and tillage variations go hand-in-hand, a message POET has been preaching for years. “We know that proper stover removal allows farmers to better manage residue as yields become larger,” Wirt says. “We know that cover crops do a lot of things, including holding nutrients in the soil. We know that improved tillage methods play a big role. More importantly, we know inherently that these things can better farming. We know these are the right things to do and we have to start doing it more.” The two farmers involved in

POET’s new test plots, Dan Chism and Rick Hurley, recognize the benefits of biomass and the positives that come with increased stover removal. Hurley, a corn and soybean farmer, has been delivering biomass bales to Project LIBERTY since 2013. “We learned early on that the removal of part of the stover will also help us manage residue in the long run,” he says. Chism, who farms 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans, believes that producers need to remove more stover in order to better manage the nutrients in the soil. “By ‘more,’ I mean more than the current 20 to 25 percent we are removing from behind the combine,” he says. “We have to look harder for ways to reduce and prevent nutrient loss, and I think this study is a great way to start.” While this can seem counterintuitive, the increased plant populations of today’s farming methods mean more stover in the field, and too much residue can lead to problems such as the inability of nitrogen to decompose in the soil. Often, the removal of more stover — if done using a good soil management plan — can actually help increase crop production, soil quality and nutrient levels. By removing stover, farmers can reduce the intensity of tillage or the number of tillage passes, which leads to less oxidation of the soils and less erosion of soil and nutrients. At the same time, introducing cover crops along with residue removal can work to lessen tillage and provide a root structure that can continue to hold nutrients

in the soil profile. While neither farmer has much experience with cover crops, both understand the importance of the research. And though they still have to deal with their regular dayto-day farm work, both Chism and Hurley stress the need to focus on farming’s long-term future, a future that will rely on better management practices in everything from nitrogen retention to the impact of tillage to how nutrients are held in the soil. “I don’t know that anyone in northwest Iowa has ever really analyzed a cover crop with different tillage methods this extensively,” Chism says. “This is a very proactive program POET is spearheading, and I want to be proactive.” The cover crop message is one the USDA has been advocating for the past few decades, with minimal success, says the USDA’s Kaspar. “In the 1990s, the state of Iowa had about zero percent of acres using crop cover,” he says. Today, the USDA estimates that Iowa plants 380,000 acres of cover crop, still just 1.5 percent of the state’s total possible acreage. “We need these types of tests to help get this message across to the farmers,” Kaspar says. “Cover crops are an important longterm investment, and we need to demonstrate the long-term results. Farmers need to make that investment in the productivity of the soil.” This type of long-term, largescale, farmer-first focus has enticed heavy hitters like Monsanto to partner with POET. “POET continually impresses

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us by keeping the grower in center focus,” says Kevin Coffman, Market Development Lead in Ag Environmental Strategy at Monsanto. “Part of the early learning and preparation has been listening to the growers. Growers know their fields. Growers know their soil. And growers are impressive innovators. They are always looking for a way to improve their system and sustain their investment in the land.” That farmer-first mentality has been a focus since these test plot discussions began three years ago, according to Alicia ElMamouni, Associate Biomass Research Scientist at POET Biomass. “We know we need to get the farmers to understand that this will be an important part of the future of their farming practice,” says ElMamouni, who has parlayed her Peace Corps background into a career in biofuels. “Once they see the increased benefits, the farmers will drive this research.” “This study is a unique coupling of cover crops, stover removal and tillage management” says Dave Muth, Senior Vice President at AgSolver, a software company partnering with POET to turn the in-field data into long-term projections. “We believe these three ideas are the cornerstone to developing the next generation of residue management in agronomic systems.” POET and its partners chose two cover crops: oats and tillage radish. Both take root relatively easily, both are hardy and both die over the winter, meaning farmers don’t have to worry about termination time come spring. And, more

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importantly, both reduce erosion, increase the microbial activity and nutrient cycling in the soil, capture and store carbon in the soil and reduce excess carbon and nitrogen. While the idea is not new, the farming landscape has been dramatically reshaped in the last few decades, shifting to an agricultural system with far less crop diversity than it had in, say, the 1970s. Today, according to the USDA, the total land area in some Iowa counties is more than 90 percent corn and soybeans. That means less pasture area, less oats, less alfalfa. Winter crops, in many regions, have become almost nonexistent. “We’ve gone from a system where you’d have something growing in the winter, to having nothing growing in the winter,” says Kaspar. “Cover crops are a long-term investment to protect and preserve your soil. We need to make that investment. We need farmers to be able to see that.” Adam Wirt has played a pivotal role in pitching the benefits of various POET processes – such as the baling and selling of biomass – to area farmers. So he understands the importance of the Iowa test plots as a real-world, hands-on marketing tool. And the plots will be used as a marketing tool, with everything from roadside signage to newspaper ads to public tours of the farm fields. “There has been a lot of talk about the benefit of cover crops, but unless you can see and touch things, they aren’t a reality,” Wirt says. “We’re trying to create that reality for growers. These are the men and women who will drive the future of farming, and we can give

them that data, and show them that reality, that will help them map out that future.” Right here, on 220 acres in Iowa, POET and its partners hope to give those growers the kind of real-life results that could lead to long-term advancements in agriculture. Despite the fact that the seeds are still relatively fresh in the ground, every single person involved in the Iowa test plots will tell you they have already learned something. Whether it’s from the research on the viability of tillage radish or from the interviews with growers with a long history of cover crops or from poring over the data on nitrogen retention, the three-year preparation process has already yielded tangible results. It may take years of soil samples, nutrient analysis, biomass production and collection, residue data and thousands of data points, but every single person involved in the Iowa test plots will also tell you that these 220 acres could change the future of farming. “This study symbolizes a long-term commitment to the advancement of agriculture,” says Wirt. “This study already includes important partners working together to create publicly accessible information that will benefit everyone. This could change how we view everything from residue removal to cover crops. We want to share this. This is much bigger than just who we are.”


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The Ethanol Process

PART

2 of 4

FROM FLOUR TO FERMENTATION

OVER FOU R I SSU ES WE AR E BRE A K IN G DOWN TH E P OE T E THANO L PR OCESS TO HELP I LLUSTRATE WH AT WE DO. PA RT TWO E X PLAINS HOW CORN FLO U R I S TU RN E D IN TO E TH A N OL .

L

CORN KERNEL

E R M I L

COMPOSITION

Starch

M

Fat

M

Protein

H

A

Fiber

UR O L F CORN

S L U R RY TA N K Cor n flour is mixed with r e c y c l e d w a t e r. E n z y m e s a n d y e a s t a re a d d e d t o t h e slurry on the way to the fermentation tank.

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FUEL

FEED & FOOD

Starch

Fat, Protein and Fiber

Enzymes & Yeast


CHEMISTRY

O

CARBON DIOXIDE

O

O

O

H

YEAST

C

H

C

H

H

C

O

H

H

C

C H

ETHANOL

H

O

O

C

O

H

H

YEAST

O

H

H

H

CARBON DIOXIDE

H

H

C

O

YEAST

C

C

GLUCOSE

H

H

O

O

C

H

O

H

YEAST

C

H

H

H

H

C

ETHANOL

H

H

FERMENTATION: A MOLECULAR TRANSFORMATION Special enzymes are added to the corn flour and water which break down the long starch molecules into simple sugars called glucose. Yeast then converts the glucose into ethanol and carbon dioxide.

N T O A I T N A K T N E M FER While the slurry mix quietly sits and waits, the enzymes and yeast begin their work of converting starch to ethanol through a process called fermentation.

CO2

CO2

CO2 ETHANOL

CO2

CO2

ETHANOL

ETHANOL CO2

ETHANOL

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fresh FARM

Cover Crops Improve Soils A couple years ago Case IH did a nationwide survey of farmers asking them which new farming practice they planned to adopt for the first time that year. Out of all the new technologies out there, a whopping 24% of farmers said cover crops. Depending on the cover crop you choose, you can get benefits including a reduction in soil erosion, increased soil organic matter, feed for grazing, a reduction in soil compaction, more beneficial microbial life, higher levels of plantavailable nutrients for your next crop, weed suppression and more. Cover crops should improve the long-term and short-term health of your soil. If you are considering cover crops on your farm, here are our top 5 tips: 1) While you can seed a cover crop anytime you want, you may not get enough benefit out of it if you don’t have at least 45 to 60 days until your first killing frost. If you are worried you will only have 30 or 45 days of growth after harvest, try aerial seeding to get your crop established just before harvest. That will give your cover crop more total days to grow.

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submitted by Brian Hefty

2) Use a blend. By picking multiple crop species, you have a better chance to accomplish more of your goals. Plus, you are less likely to have a disaster, like if one crop doesn’t get started well or if your only crop choice doesn’t support mycorrhizae fungi. Our best suggestion for a blend involves at least one grass species (e.g. rye, oats, wheat), one legume species (e.g. soybeans, peas) and one non-legume broadleaf (e.g. radish, turnip). 3) Invest $15 to $20 per acre. You don’t need to seed high rates of most cover crops to do well. You can certainly go with more plants if you want, but a general rule of thumb is to invest around the $15 to $20 range. 4) Use the best herbicides to kill weeds in your crops without much regard for your cover crops. Don’t get me wrong. We don’t want to see lots of carryover hurting all your cover crops so much that nothing grows, but your cash crop pays the bills. Make sure you get the weeds out of your cash crop to maximize your profit. Then, work with your agronomist to pick the right cover crops following your cash crop and herbicide selections.


5) If you are worried about your soil being too cold in the spring due to the cover, you can terminate your cover crop earlier in the fall. Fall is also a great time to kill perennial and winter annual weeds, so you get a double-benefit by spraying a herbicide in the fall. Our number one piece of advice with cover crops is this – TRY THEM. If you’ve never planted a cover crop before, you will likely be uncertain about them. The best way to learn is to simply plant some cover crops side-by-side with bare ground and see what cover crops can do for you. We also have many farmers trying aerial seeding or seeding with a Hagie prior to harvest. We are big believers in cover crops in most situations, as they can help improve your soil health, your yields and your profits.

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

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MORE THAN JUST ETHANOL POET Biorefineries bring distinct advantages to rural communities and state economies. by Thom Gabrukiewicz

Bright lights, big city – Groton! As a May graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Sioux Falls native Dominic Boyer is doing something many of his engineering classmates are not – he’s getting his hands dirty with real world chemical engineering experience in South Dakota. Boyer, 22, is the Plant Engineer at POET Biorefining – Groton. And he couldn’t be happier to come back home to start his career. “I’m getting to jump in and do a lot of things that kids I graduated with are unable to do,” he said. “I think POET offers a lot of opportunities, especially for young engineers – and a lot of people in general – to find high-quality jobs close to home. It’s all I could ask for.” Recently, POET commissioned ABF Economics of Doylestown, PA, to complete an economic impact study. A nuts and bolts look – with loads of facts and figures – at POET’s significance to the national economy, as well as to the states where 28 biorefining plants produce ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, Dakota Gold distillers products and Voila corn distillers oil.

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Yet it’s the people who are impacted by POET’s reach that are the real story. Stories like Boyer’s, and the stories that follow, help explain POET’s importance in the marketplace. According to John M. Urbanchuk, Managing Partner at ABF Economics, POET’s contributions can be felt in direct, indirect and induced ways: Direct effects are the known or predicted changes in the economy resulting from POET’s operations. “For example, the direct employment impact of POET is the number of people POET has on payroll.” Indirect effects are the result of the business-tobusiness transactions required to produce direct effects. “A good example of an indirect job supported by POET is a corn farmer who grows and sells corn to a POET plant.” Induced effects are derived from spending on goods and services by people working to satisfy direct and indirect. “That would be an employee at a retail establishment that benefits when a POET employee or family member spends the income generated by POET.”


We could tell you that in 2014, POET generated $13.5 billion in sales for U.S. businesses or supports an estimated 39,378 full-time jobs, but what better way to tell the story than to listen to the voices of those who are touched by POET daily.

DIRECT EFFECTS “I came in as Governor in January of 1983, and at that time we were a very energy dependent state, basically fossil fuels imported from overseas,” said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. “Today in Iowa, we produce more in ethanol than we consume in gasoline – and that’s created a lot of great jobs. It’s been good for the environment, it’s been good for the economy and it’s good for Iowa’s corn farmer. “We are very excited at the change that has taken place,” Branstad continued. “We appreciate a company like POET making these investments in many small communities, which has just helped us revitalize rural Iowa. “In the past, we educated a lot of talented people in the state who left to get good jobs outside Iowa,” Branstad said. “Now, we’ve got people who grew up in Iowa, who have friends and family here and are able to come back and find good quality jobs in their local communities where they can earn a respectable living – and make a contribution to their communities.”

INDIRECT EFFECTS “Our partnership goes back many, many years,” said Peter Halling, Senior Director, Global Marketing – Biofuels for Novozymes, the world leader in bioinnovation – including industrial enzymes, microorganisms, and biopharmaceutical ingredients (the stuff that gets the most out of the ethanol production process). “Obviously, both companies have benefited from this partnership economically. Novozymes from selling to an important customer like POET, an organization that values – and is willing to pay – for innovation, as well as for POET, which has gained an economic and competitive advantage with Novozymes’ innovative solutions.” “It’s been a blessing in disguise,” Halling said of the nearly decade partnership with POET. “We’ve had a very steep learning curve and we’ve worked very hard to deliver the products that help POET in

Dominic Boyer

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad

Erika Thompson

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the marketplace – it’s kept us sharp, and it’s kept us consistent, and that is a very good thing.” “I took a couple of plant tours early on and I did my research, and I have to tell you, POET has a great business model, so there has never been any apprehension in supplying grain to them,” said Todd Hesterman, a 52-year-old corn farmer from Henry County, Ohio. “It’s certainly a step in the right direction toward independence from foreign oil. And I tell you what, the ethanol business has been the spark we needed in this country, that’s for sure.”

INDUCED EFFECTS “It’s a very small town, so I knew business was probably going to be slow – we are in the middle of Iowa,” said Erika Thompson, owner of Edgewater

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BBQ in Emmetsburg, Iowa. “But I like that we’re in small-town Iowa, it has always been my dream to have a business, but I also have a family – I’m the mother of three and they mean everything. I am really happy in how it works here, that I get to work, but I also get to enjoy my family. “When I opened, that’s when POET was building Project LIBERTY (POET-DSM’s state-of-the-art cellulosic ethanol plant) and I tell you one thing, I don’t think I would have been nearly as successful if it hadn’t been for the POET employees, I mean, we had lines out the doors,” Thompson continued. “It’s always a pleasure to have my POET guys come in, they’re so funny and they’re just amazing people. “POET has been a blessing to my business – and to my life.”


yearly

annually

per year

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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.

POET-DSM.COM

®

Advanced Biofuels


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Gaining momentum With lower pricing, better performance and fewer pollutants than gasoline, E15 gives retailers a leg up on competitors who have yet to offer the new ethanol blend. by Lori Weaver | photos by Greg Latza

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Easy on the wallet, easy on the environment, easy on your engine – those are the critical points retailers are underscoring with customers as they persuade them to try E15 fuel for the first time. For retailers, the advantage of introducing consumers to the new ethanol blend is obvious. With lower pricing, better performance and fewer pollutants than gasoline, the new fuel gives retailers a leg up on competitors who have yet to offer the new ethanol blend. But consumer education remains critical. Most retailers find the biggest challenge in marketing the new ethanol fuel is to get motorists to try E15 for the first time. Once convinced to give it a try, customers soon find that the advantages of E15 speak for themselves. “The average sales volume of E15 is roughly 18 percent of total sales,” explains Mike O’Brien, Vice President of Market Development

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for the Washington, D.C.-based ethanol advocacy group Growth Energy. “In some cases, E15 is outselling all other grades of fuel offered by retailers.” Any hesitations among customers when first introduced to E15 nearly always stem from concern over whether the fuel is safe for engines. Yet, E15 is the most widely tested fuel ever to be offered for sale in the U.S. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved its use in vehicles of model years 2001 and newer, or about 80 percent of vehicles on the road today. E15 also contains fewer pollutants and emits less carbon emissions than regular gasoline. It is cleaner and has higher octane than gasoline – all at a price typically lower than 87-octane fuel. Jim Pirolli, Vice President of Fuels at Kum & Go in West Des Moines, IA, points out that a bit of uncertainty is a natural reaction to new products in the marketplace

and one that can be addressed through consumer education. “Those of us in the industry were surprised to find our biggest challenge was getting customers to try E15 for the first time. The biggest focus for us is in trying to inform customers about what E15 is and where it is available, while also reassuring them that this is a safe product, and one they should try,” says Pirolli. But once they give E15 a try, most customers are quickly sold. “People think, ‘Wow, I can save a dollar or two every time I fill up and there’s no change in performance?’ They come back. But yes, getting people to try it is our biggest challenge.” Pirolli, who is responsible for the fuel strategy at Kum & Go, including decisions about what fuel products the company is going to carry, says that while 170 of Kum & Go’s 430 stores offer E85, only about seven currently offer E15. But those numbers will soon be rising.


Over the next two years, Kum & Go plans to make E15 available at more than 65 stores across Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Dakota. According to Growth Energy, among all retailers there are roughly 130 locations in 19 states offering E15. In addition, there are another 200 or so retail locations preparing equipment and infrastructure to begin offering E15 in the near future. “By first quarter 2016, there should be more than 260 locations in more than 20 states offering E15,” estimates O’Brien. “More importantly, leading chains like Sheetz, Kum & Go, Murphy USA, MAPCO and MINNOCO are adopting E15.” The increase in E15 availability can have a significant impact beyond the local pump. Moving to E15 would create another 136,000 American jobs on a nationwide basis that can’t be outsourced and

eliminate up to 8 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. That’s the equivalent of taking 1.68 million vehicles off the road, all while helping consumers save at the pump. The decision to offer E15 is a natural fit for Kum & Go because of the company’s long history of innovations in biofuel offerings, according to Pirolli. The company considers itself a pioneer in ethanol, with a history of environmental sustainability and biofuel innovations dating back to the 1970s. Today, Kum & Go is continuing its focus on biofuels by partnering with several industry organizations, including Growth Energy. Just as they have with locations offering E85, Pirolli says the organization has helped Kum & Go make use of brand ambassadors to promote E15 to customers at special events and train store employees about how to discuss the product’s attributes.

“We are moving toward our views of what customers are going to want in the future,” Pirolli explains. “It seems E15 is definitely a product positioned as high quality, economical and environmentally friendly. It checks the boxes of a lot of things we consider when we decide to go forward with a product launch.” Kum & Go’s experience with E15 is not uncommon. Reactions from retailers and their customers have been overwhelmingly positive. “Offering a fuel price of about five cents a gallon less has a huge advantage over the competition,” points out O’Brien. “With E15, retailers see a competitive opportunity. E15, on average, equals about 18 percent of total fuel sales per month. Given the price advantage and strong initial sales of E15, I would say consumers are reacting positively to the new fuel.”

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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: It seems like I get sick every single winter season. The flu has knocked me down for weeks at a time. Do you have any tips to help avoid this misery? A: I love that we Midwesterners get to experience the changing of the seasons. I mean, is there anything better than a crisp fall day? Or a big piping hot bowl of chili in front of a raging fire? It’s the best! What is not the best is being shut in all winter surrounded by slimy sneezes, hacking coughs and runny noses. Here are a few of my favorite suggestions for getting your immune system in tip-top shape so you are able to fight off the cold bugs, flu bugs and any other bugs that may come your way.

OPTIMIZE YOUR FUEL Imagine this: You pull up to the fueling station and see that one brand of fuel is only $.25/ gallon. “Awesome! Gonna save me some money today!” you say to yourself. But when you fill up, big gloppy chunks of oil drip into your tank. Your car barely sputters along. You saved money, filled up with junk and your car doesn’t run. Now imagine this: You pull up to the fueling station and see that a superior fuel, let’s say E85, is $2.00/gallon. “Hmm…a bit higher, but I want to put the best possible fuel in my car,” you say to yourself. You fill up and your car speeds away like a silver bullet, running smoothly and efficiently and purring like a kitten. Yeah! When you fuel your body, you get the same outcome. Cheap, crappy fuel makes your body sick and sluggish. Quality fuel makes your body run efficiently. What is quality fuel? • Vegetables and fruits from a wide variety of colors. Eat the rainbow! (Not a Skittles rainbow, silly!) • Clean protein from fish, pastured meats, eggs, raw milk cheese, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt • Healthy fats from olives and olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut and coconut oil • Lots and lots of water! When the focus is on fresh, whole foods rather than processed products and sweet treats, you can’t go wrong. TAKE CARE OF YOUR SPIRIT Our immune system protects us from colds, cancer and everything in between. When we experience stress, our body prepares for fight or flight. All non-essential systems shut down – including your immune system. How do you reduce stress? • Be grateful, kind and forgiving. • Live a life of integrity. • Breathe deeply. • Protect your boundaries. When things are hitting the fan, try to say to yourself, “Not

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my circus, not my monkeys.” You cannot control all of your circumstances. You can only control your reaction. • Love deeply. • Laugh a lot. • Sometimes happy hour is better medicine than a trip to the gym. (Sometimes…not all the time!)

GET YOUR ZZZZ Your body repairs itself every night while you sleep. In today’s busy world, sleep often becomes less of a priority. If we want to boost our immunity, we need to put sleep right at the top of our to-do lists. How to get more sleep: • Remove all light from your room

• Sometimes intimate conversation is time better spent than creeping on social media. What does your soul need?

• Use white noise and/or ear plugs

PREPARE FOR BATTLE You never know when your body will face a challenge. It could be a serious injury or an exposure to a virus. Either way, you want your body to be the strongest it can be. Being physically strong will not only help you avoid illness and injury, it can help ensure you bounce back quickly if you do get knocked down.

• Take a hot bath before bed

How do you prepare? Add lean muscle through weight training and intervals. To all of my girlfriends out there – please don’t be afraid of weight training. You won’t get bulky, you’ll get more awesome! Stretch, twist and bend often throughout your day. Many of us sit at a desk for long periods of time. GET UP and MOVE! Small movements throughout your day add up to big results. Remember to strengthen your body because you love it, not because you hate it.

• Keep your room cool • Tidy things up in your room

• Turn off electronics at least an hour before bed • Consider natural remedies such as chamomile tea, lavender oil, magnesium, melatonin and/or valerian root • If you know you snore and/or you feel unrested in the morning, consider getting tested for sleep apnea HEDGE YOUR BETS Even when we are doing all the right things, it can still be hard to get all the nutrients our body needs. Sometimes a little nutritional insurance can be a good idea. If you think it is right for you, consider a daily probiotic, vitamin D3 and omega 3 supplement. Already feel a tickle in your throat? The first thing I reach for is vitamin C, zinc and a hot cup of tea with raw honey and lemon.

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In the POET Kitchen A weekly Menu Monday recipe

Bison Chili SERVES: 10-12

TOTAL TIME: 8-10 HOURS

is shared with all POET Team Members. Here is the most popular recipe from last quarter.

INGREDIENTS: • 2-3 tablespoons butter, bacon fat or olive oil • 3 pounds ground bison *or ground beef if bison isn’t available • 2-3 tablespoons minced garlic • 1 each red pepper and yellow pepper, diced • 2 sweet yellow onions, diced • 1 can tomato paste • 2 cups mushrooms, diced • 28 ounces diced or crushed tomatoes • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper OR chipotle pepper powder *this is the heat! • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder *yes, I mean it. • 5 tablespoons chili powder • 3 tablespoons cumin • 1 tablespoon each oregano and ground coriander • 1-2 cartons beef broth, depending on how juicy you want it. I use closer to 2. • 1 tablespoon sea salt • 2 teaspoons fresh cracked pepper METHOD: • Brown bison and garlic in the cooking fat • Add all ingredients in a slow cooker set on low for 8-10 hours • Top with avocado and/or diced red onion

Get Active

Cat & Cow Pose

Has your back been bugging you? If so, check out these simple moves to strengthen and stretch your way to

• Begin on the floor on all fours. Make sure your

being pain free.

and go loose. Lift your head and tailbone up

knees are under your hips, your wrists are under your shoulders, your back is flat and your abs are engaged. Take a big inhale. • On the exhale, round your spine and imagine you’re pulling your belly button up towards your spine. Really engage your abs. Tuck your chin toward your chest, and let your neck release. This is your cat like shape. • On your inhale, arch your back, let your belly relax towards the sky. This is the Cow portion of the pose. • Continue moving back and forth as you exhale in Cat Pose and inhale in Cow Pose.

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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®

Back In the Saddle Again In the movie Days of Thunder, we were given a glimpse into the mental challenges a driver faces on a weekly basis. Cole Trickle, played by Tom Cruise, was a young, up-and-coming driver who was as fearless as they come on the race track. As he started to collect top finishes and improve in the standings, he was involved in a vicious wreck that left him in the hospital. While his physical injuries healed, it was uncertain whether he would overcome the mental scars that stripped him of his racing spirit and tenacity. At the end of the movie Trickle was able to return to his previous form but it was far from easy.

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American Ethanol driver Austin Dillon showed his own ability to overcome adversity when he returned to his No. 3 Chevrolet unscathed days after a dramatic wreck on the last lap of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6. Dillon crawled out of the mangled shell of a race car and gave the loyal audience a wave that he was okay. NASCAR’s dedication to safety became evident when Dillon was able to exit his car without a scratch.


Our driver, Dillon, not only shook off any ghosts of fear and defeat after the crash, his resilience got him right back in the saddle ready for Kentucky Speedway a few days later. Since then, he posted a fourth-place finish at Michigan International Speedway, his best finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series so far. Like the real life Dillon and the fictional Trickle, the drivers of the American ethanol industry have proven to be resilient when difficulties arise. The competition is fierce and the industry has been through its share of crashes whether it’s public relations smear campaigns or unfriendly government regulations. Yet, the industry continues to get back in the driver’s seat each and every day to do what it loves most – helping farmers, revitalizing rural America and providing an American-made, clean, green, affordable, renewable fuel to motorists around the globe!

WWW.VITALBYPOET.COM

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renew

Getting a Glimpse of the Past The Franklin Car Club (FCC) visited POET Biorefining – Preston. The collector’s group brought a dozen cars that were built between 1903 and 1934. The Franklin automobile was one of the luxury cars of its time but fell victim to the Great Depression and production was stopped during 1934. These cars, like many during the early 1900s, ran on ethanol. Standing next to his Franklin in the picture below is Jeff Hasslen, FCC coordinator, with Chris Hanson, POET Biorefining – Preston General Manager.

The American Ethanol Boat The American Ethanol sponsored powerboat stopped by POET Biorefining – Laddonia on its way to the 2015 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. Laddonia team members got a close up view of the 50’ Mystic owned by Don Onken which runs on 90% ethanol. The boat would go on to win the shootout, posting a speed of 208 mph and claiming another victory for the power of ethanol!

Happy Retirement Jim! Jim Barrett has been with POET Biorefining – Preston since 1999 as a mechanic. He is highly talented and epitomizes the POET value of “Always Striving for Excellence.” Jim has lead most of the in-house fabrication projects in the plant for years. He has been a strong resource for the team and a friend to all. Jim has plans to do custom restorations of muscle cars during his retirement.

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Operation LZ For 18 months, the Welcome Home Committee in North Central Iowa has been planning a five day event called Operation LZ (Landing Zone) to honor those who were called, served and sacrificed in all branches of service around the globe during the Vietnam War. Team members at POET Biorefining – Hanlontown gathered at the corner of the plant property to welcome over 300 veterans on motorcycles that were following a traveling replica of the Vietnam Wall to Forest City, IA. The wall was on display throughout the weekend during the event which included a variety of activities including speakers, music and an air show. The POET Vanguard Squadron also performed. More details regarding the long overdue welcome home can be found at www.operationlz.com.

Renewable Fuel Standard Celebrates 10 Years

RFS

10 YRS

On August 8, 2005, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was signed into law. To celebrate 10 years, the America’s Renewable Future (ARF) team stopped by POET locations in Emmetsburg, Gowrie and Coon Rapids with some cake, sodas and koozies. The ARF team was traveling across Iowa to create awareness of the RFS and garner support from the presidential hopefuls.

Pictured: Annette Sweeney, ARF Co-Chair, and Cathy Gustafson, POET Biorefining – Gowrie Operator.


Leipsic

Ethanol Day! In August, POET released its first-ever economic

impact

study,

revealing

the

significant impact POET made to national economic growth and job creation in 2014. POET employees, stakeholders, family and friends celebrated the announcement at a series of POET Ethanol Day events in its operating states, where attendees enjoyed food, activities and heard from local officials. Mitchell

Lake Crystal

Jewell

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Cloverdale


50th Annual Scottie Rodeo Days Scotland, SD celebrated their 50th Annual Scottie Stampede Rodeo Days in August. The POET Research Center team members were involved with and led many of the activities that went on during the weekend. The activities raised $1,435 and it was donated to the following organizations: Cory Bierle Fund, Scotland Food Pantry, Scotland Snack Pack Program and the Delmont Tornado Relief Fund.

Š 2015 CenterPoint Energy 144978

CenterPointEnergy.com/CES 800-495-9880


NOT YOUR

Average Acreage Wait a minute. Is that a camel in Iowa? by Janna Farley | photos by Greg Latza

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As Colleen Osborne stands in her backyard, a large two-humped camel stretches his long neck toward her, angling for a touch and a treat. Happy to comply, Osborne scratches his ears and pops a carrot into his large, velvety mouth. The camel’s bushy eyebrows bob in appreciation as he looks at Osborne with his googly, golf-ball-sized black eyes fringed with two rows of long eyelashes. Osborne, Quality Manager at POET Biorefining – Jewell, looks back at the camel just as admiringly. Moby, a 4-year-old Bactrian camel, isn’t just an animal. He’s a part of Osborne’s family – and garners regular attention from curious passersby. Of course, Osborne and her husband, Allen, are used to people stopping by their Dows, IA acreage to ask questions. They’ve been building their own house – frame by frame – since 2008, primarily out of old cedar telephone poles the Osbornes have transformed into planks of wood with a sawmill. “We have just as many people stopping by to see the house as we do the camel,” Osborne says. The attention doesn’t bother Osborne. She loves sharing stories about Moby and her house with others.

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KEEPING IT INTERESTING AT WORK, TOO Osborne takes this same open, honest approach to her work at POET. “Colleen is a great example of our company culture at work,” says Kevin Monroe, General Manager at POET Biorefining – Jewell. “Colleen always treats others with kindness and respect, is always striving to do her best and is never afraid of change.” Change is the key word. Responsible for the dayto-day management of all activities associated with the laboratory as well as facilitating the transfer of all incoming and outgoing data from the laboratory, Osborne deftly monitors plant operations and quality. “No day is ever the same,” she says. “Everything changes all the time. Things don’t get boring in the lab.” That’s kind of Osborne’s mantra. She doesn’t like to be bored. In fact, that’s how she ended up with a camel as a pet in the first place. One day, Osborne’s husband mentioned that it might be fun to raise a camel. On a whim, the couple went to an exotic animal auction in Macon, MO. There, they met a 6-month-old Bactrian camel. “I fell absolutely in love,” Osborne says. They didn’t take that camel home, but Osborne was smitten. The idea of owning a camel was something they just couldn’t shake. “We started talking to a lot of people and doing a lot of research on what it would take,” she says. When they heard a couple from Bowdle, SD, was

selling their herd of camels, the Osbornes met Moby. “It was love at first sight,” Osborne says. “He was the one.” She says she thinks the feeling was mutual. So three years ago, they took the then 1-year-old camel home to their acreage outside of Dows, IA.

CAMEL CURIOSITY People are naturally curious about Moby, and gawkers who see him from the road often can’t help themselves from stopping, “If he’s in the pasture by the pond, all you see is this big, brown animal. So you see a lot of people slowing down, wondering what this animal is,” she says. “When they see it’s a camel, they always ask a lot of questions.” What does he eat? Where does he sleep? How do you take care of him? Osborne is happy to talk about her beloved camel. “People don’t expect him to be so extremely friendly,” she says. “And Moby just eats up the attention.” Every now and then, a bus or two full of kids will show up, too. Osborne says. “It’s a bit of a learning experience for them. They enjoy it, and we love it.” Life-long Dows resident Jeanette Wenzel says most people are surprised to learn a camel lives among them in their small, rural community. “It’s not the kind of animal you expect to see around here.” Her granddaughter’s preschool class visited Moby a couple of years ago. “She just thought it was great,” Wenzel says. “She came back and said, ‘Grandma, I thought camels were supposed to live in the desert. And here we have one right here in Dows!’ ”

HOME SWEET HOME Just as often, people driving by Osborne’s acreage will stop to check out their house – a big, timberframed house that the couple has been building, from the ground up, for the last seven years. “It’s what we do in our spare time,” she says. Osborne’s husband designed the house. Right now, he’s making kitchen cabinets with some hickory their neighbors gave him. “I’m usually the one who ends up sanding and finishing the wood that he’s cut,” she says. “It’s been a joint effort between the two of us.”

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The house is still considered a construction zone, with several walls that aren’t dry walled or painted yet. “It’s taken us awhile, but we’ve got a couple of rooms that are quite livable,” she says. “It’s nice. It’s something we can call our own and pass down to our kids should they ever want it.” In the meantime, they keep working – and answering questions about their house projects and unique pet. Between work at POET, work on the house and working with Moby, there’s never a dull day in Osborne’s life. “There are some days I would take a little boring,” she says. But if that were really true, she wouldn’t have Moby.

Moby, Colleen and the grandkids (Tess, Lucy, Nyla and Cole) WWW.VITALBYPOET.COM

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CONUNDRUM ACROSS 1. Hackers’ theft targets 4. Mineral groupings 9. Afford without a problem 14. Profit bringer, cash ___ 15. Computer communication 16. Accept 17. Geologic period 18. Yo-Yo Ma’s instrument 19. Specks 20. Total sets of GHG emissions caused

by an organization or event

23. One doing sums 24. Meat skewered by Monty Python 25. Ph.D.’s next hurdle 28. Blunder 33. Forestry product 36. Monetary unit of Nigeria 37. Trends that define the speed of

climate change

43. Prenatal test, for short

DOWN

44. Make an impression

32. Father figures 34. Elect

45. Natural fertilizers

1. Starbucks order

35. Freshwater fish

47. Ocular cleaning aids

2. Sport fish

37. Card

53. Pierre ____, French novelist

3. Grassy turfs

38. Cassowary look alike

56. Ring-shaped cake

4. Log

39. Santa ___ winds

57. POET works constantly to reduce

5. Doomsayer’s sign

40. White metal

this to improve the sustainability of

6. Shoe material

41. Ruffian

the environment

7. Metric weight units

42. Shakespearean pronoun

63. Undercover, informally

8. Single-master

46. Spanish for sun

64. Kenyan tribesman

9. Package that’s en route

48. Trim

65. Female pronoun

10. Flimsy, as an excuse

49. Shy

66. Famed opera house La ___

11. Prefix with matter

50. Available

67. Unattractive

12. Sheepskin leather

51. Baby carriage

68. Elusive one

13. Formerly

52. Like some gazes

69. Cut off from escape

21. Speculate

54. Office subs

70. Cast

22. One may be worn with a kilt

55. Together

71. Like some humor

26. Be indebted to

57. Aquarium residents

27. Earth center

58. Years back

29. It facilitates replying to a MS.

59. Fraudulent trick

30. Elton John, e.g.

60. One-man band performances

31. Large vase

61. Biblical twin

FOR ANSWERS, VISIT

vitalmagazineonline.com/answers

62. Many a Seattle weather forecast

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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

AgCountry

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CenterPoint Energy

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C4

New Holland

URL www.agcountry.com

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FROM THE HEARTLAND by Greg Breukelman

The Price of Admission After the last VITAL issue, I received several comments from readers on the story I shared about a valuable life lesson I learned from my father. Well, he didn’t raise no dummy, so I thought I’d share another! We were living in Huron, SD when I turned eight years old. We moved there so my dad, a banker, could finish his college degree, from what is now a defunct institution, Huron College. We lived in a small apartment across the street from what I thought was the most amazing and magical place on earth - the grounds for the South Dakota State Fair! Shortly after my eighth birthday, my dad and I made it to the Fairgrounds to attend their dirt track races. I loved the smell, sound and thrill of watching the local dare-devils put their skills and homemade race cars to the test. On most race nights, I could only experience the thunder of the cars from my bedroom. But on this night, I would actually be there! I could hardly contain my excitement as my dad was purchasing our tickets. Even more than loving the races, I really just loved being with my dad. I vividly recall him telling the lady at the ticket booth that he needed one adult ticket and a ticket for an eight-year old. As soon

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as he received the tickets and stepped away from the booth, I immediately said to my dad, “Why didn’t you just tell her I was seven-years old? The sign says seven and under are free! How would she ever even know?” My dad turned to me and said, “I could have done that, but if I did, not only would I have been lying, I would have been stealing too.” I can tell you that 40 years later, I have no recollection of anything that happened during the races that night. But those few words from my dad are etched in my memory. I’ve repeated them so often to my daughters that they make fun of me. Isn’t life funny how we anticipate events or a final destination, but yet how oftentimes the truly memorable things happen and the valuable lessons are learned during the journey? That night, I’m sure my dad was hoping he could give me a good time and some memories at the race track. But I got all I needed at the ticket booth.

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


DO THESE FACES LOOK HUNGRY FOR

SURPRISES? T H E ONLY SUR PR I SI NG THI NG A B O UT DAKOTA GO LD DDGS FR OM P O ET IS H O W CONSI STE NT I T I S, E VE RY TIM E .

NO SURPRISES. JUST GOLD. | DAKOTAGOLD.COM


4615 N. Lewis Ave. Sioux Falls, SD 57104

SMART IS

HELPING ALTERNATIVE ENERGY BECOME MAINSTREAM. As ethanol becomes more and more important in American energy production, its next phase of evolution is essential. That’s why New Holland stands behind the advancement of cellulosic ethanol. It’s the kind of SMART thinking that continues to bring ethanol into our daily lives.

PROUDLY SUPPORTING AMERICA’s ENERGY INDEPENDENCE.

NEWHOLLAND.COM/NA © 2015 CNH Industrial America LLC. All rights reserved. New Holland Agriculture is a trademark registered in the United States and many other countries, owned by or licensed to CNH Industrial N.V., its subsidiaries or affiliates.

Vital Magazine - Fall 2015  
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