THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE Spring 2018
President Trump Signals Support for E15 EPA MUST DELIVER
open doors to big solutions POET.COM
When the first POET plant opened over thirty years ago, it opened the door to endless world-changing possibilities. Beyond that threshold weâ€™ve discovered a world of innovative renewable energy solutions. Biofuels, nutrient-rich proteins and oil alternatives are just the beginning.
FEATURES 12 POET’s Animal Feed Business Rapidly Expands to International Markets Dakota Gold Brand Has Gained Recognition Abroad, ‘Become Synonymous With Quality’
22 Real-world Challenge with a Real-world Solution
POET Sponsors SDSU Engineering Students’ Design Project for Capstone Course
34 Stover Harvest Gears Up Anticipation Builds for the Largest Biomass Harvest Yet; Veteran Growers Share Their Experiences
40 Seeds of Change Mission Grow Continues to Change the Lives of Kenyan Farmers
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By Jeff Broin
by Brian Hefty
by Ryan Welsh
Out Of Left Field
by Scott Johnson
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Prime the Pump
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On the Cover: In a White House meeting on April 12, 2018, President Trump signified the administration is working on regulatory reforms that will allow year-round access for E15. The focus now is to hold the Environmental Protection Agency, including Administrator Scott Pruitt, and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue accountable to the President’s commitment to RVP relief. Read more on page 6. Michael Candelori/ Shutterstock.com, Alex Wong/Getty Images News, Jason Andrew/Getty Images News
POET’s Vital magazine is an important conduit to share how POET is moving our country and our world from depending on fossil fuels to producing sustainable resources from the Earth. We will represent the voices of producers and biofuels supporters, as well as educate and inform readers about agriculture and industry knowledge, opportunities and the power of the human spirit.
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.
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. ©2018 POET, LLC. All rights reserved. Publication Design & Layout: Cassie Medema firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s Time to Make Some Noise About the Ag Crisis by Jeff Broin, Executive Chairman and CEO of POET
For those of us who are involved in the biofuel and ag
Most recently, POET and other biofuels producers have
industries, the signs of today’s looming ag crisis are clear.
educated the White House on the importance of year-round,
You need only look at land values — which are beginning to
nationwide sales of E15. I believe this is our best route
trend downward — and farm debt — which is rising — to see the
forward to grow biofuels and help ag get back on its feet. Full
writing on the wall. In a recent report, CoBank said the debt-to-
implementation of E15 will create another 2 billion bushels of
income ratio for farmers is “creeping closer to the concerning
corn demand annually for farmers.
levels of the 1980s.”
While President Trump has shown to be an ally of biofuels, we
And the worldwide oversupply of commodities continues
still have much work to do. The President needs to understand
to increase. After four straight years of dropping commodity
what drives rural America and that the solution is more biofuels.
prices and increasing carryouts, the United States Department
We need you, and your friends, coworkers and neighbors to
of Agriculture (USDA) predicts more challenges for the next crop
share how more biofuels are critical to improving farm income.
harvest. The future of farming profitably looks bleak.
Sitting on the sidelines is not an option. We need all of you to
Based on these facts, I’ve been surprised on several recent
trips to Washington that many of our elected officials aren’t aware of what’s going on in America’s heartland. They seem oblivious to the fact that agriculture has a big problem. The fact is, biofuels represent the only solution for better market prices going forward. If you’ve heard that exports are a solution, don’t buy it. History clearly shows us that’s not the answer. Exports of corn haven’t changed significantly in decades. And animals have become more efficient through breeding, and more byproducts have become available, keeping commodities used to feed animals flat for decades. However, export opportunities from value-added ag products like ethanol and our coproduct distillers dried grains (DDGS) are growing. Biofuels have already been the balancing force for worldwide agriculture for nearly 30 years, and once again, they represent the only opportunity to alleviate mounting financial issues on the farm. We — agriculture and biofuels — must fight for a larger share of the gas tank in the U.S. and across the globe. To achieve our goals, we must continue to battle against our competition, Big Oil, who is doing everything in its power to stop the expansion of biofuels. I recently met with Vice President Pence and President Trump.
Here are a few ways to join the fight: • Contact your elected officials and ag organizations and make sure they know about the current economic situation in America’s heartland and tell them biofuels is the solution. • Support POET PAC, allowing us to compete with the oil industry in Washington. Visit poetpac.com for details. • Follow POET’s social media accounts.
The key message I conveyed to them is that agriculture is facing
the worst downturn since the 1980s ag crisis, and that biofuels
It takes soldiers to be successful in battle. We need to make
are the only solution to pull America’s farmers through these
sure we’re all in the same army pushing forward to protect
agriculture and the Midwest. Please join me in this fight!
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Year-round E15 Sales Secure White House Support: President Trump Commits to RVP Relief The biofuels industry gained significant traction in early
Biofuels industry leaders from POET, Growth Energy
April in the fight to secure year-round E15 sales by receiving
and others expressed enthusiasm for Trump’s statement of
a commitment from a critical stakeholder: President
support. The biofuels industry has long advocated for RVP
relief because of the benefits it would provide to farmers,
In a White House meeting with farm state senators
consumers and biofuel producers. With RVP, nationwide
and governors on April 12, President Trump signified the
adoption of E15 could drive demand for an additional 2
administration is working on regulatory reforms that will
billion bushels of surplus grain annually.
allow year-round access for E15. Currently, Environmental
“We applaud President Trump for committing to
Protection Agency (EPA) regulations limit the sales of E15
regulatory reform that will permit year-round, nationwide
by retail gas stations during summer months.
sales of E15,” said Kyle Gilley, Senior Vice President of
President Trump committed to granting RVP relief
External Affairs & Communications, POET. “This action
without tying it to any refinery-backed limits on Renewable
will grow biofuels and create market demand for the
Identification Numbers (RINs) — the primary mechanism
commodities raised by farmers struggling with economic
to ensure that refiners blend biofuels — and the Renewable
hardships across the Midwest. Small refiners already
Fuel Standard (RFS). “We’re going to raise it up to 15
received their reprieve through recently exposed waiver
percent and raise it to a 12-month period,” Trump told
requests from the EPA. We are grateful President Trump
reporters, also saying that decision “makes a lot of farmers
is following through on his commitment to protect the RFS
and support rural America.”
KEY ACTIONS/EVENTS OF RIN DEBATE OCT. 25, 2017
MARCH 1, 2018
Senator Ted Cruz puts hold on Bill Northey’s confirmation to USDA
WHITE HOUSE MEETING WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP AND SENATORS CHUCK GRASSLEY, JONI ERNST, PAT TOOMEY AND TED CRUZ;
JAN. 22, 2018
REFINERS (VALERO, MONROE ENERGY,
Philadelphia Refinery PES declares bankruptcy
(ABSOLUTE ENERGY, GREEN PLAINS, POET
PBF ENERGY AND USW); AND BIOFUELS
FEB. 27, 2018 Bill Northey Confirmed
DEC. 7, 2017 Senator Ted Cruz promises “win-win” solution at White House meeting with oil state senators
AND RENEWABLE ENERGY GROUP) Broin and others discussed the importance of the RFS to the nation’s economy and rural America and how lifting regulations on E15 sales would promote growth on all sides and lower RIN prices.
President Trump proposes permanent RVP relief for a twoyear RIN cap and requests parties to consider alternative options.
MARCH 6, 7, 13 Growth Energy Board meets to discuss developing situation and RVP + Multiplier concept.
MARCH 7, 2018 POET’s general managers joined 150 biorefiners in sending a letter to the Trump Administration to reinforce the importance of RINS and the RFS in protecting American jobs and rural communities.
POLICY CORNER White House discussions around RINs and the RFS ramped
Administrator Pruitt issued refinery waivers, industry
up in late 2017 after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) proposed a 10-
leaders responded to White House and USDA requests
cent cap on RINs. The biofuels industry made it clear to
to evaluate solutions that would grant RVP relief while
the White House, United States Department of Agriculture
lowering RIN compliance costs for refiners. POET, along
(USDA) and EPA that Sen. Cruz’s “RIN Cap” proposal was
with Growth Energy, Green Plains Renewable Energy and
unacceptable. It would destroy incentives for refiners to
Archer Daniels Midland, developed the RVP + Multiplier
blend homegrown biofuels, jeopardize thousands of jobs
concept for biofuel market growth. However, Pruitt’s
and family farms across the Midwest, and further reduce
actions now have negated the industry’s interest in offering
demand and prices for U.S. grain.
further relief to refiners.
From meeting twice with President Trump to having
The focus now, biofuels industry leaders say, is to hold
ongoing dialogue with our Senate champions, POET has
the EPA accountable to the President’s commitment to RVP
been a leader in conversations to stress the importance of
higher biofuel blends and the RFS to the nation’s economy
“The President … knows that rural communities are
and rural America.
hurting, and this is an easy way to help, simply by lifting
“Year-round E15 sales would create more demand for the
an outdated regulation against wider choices at the pump,”
feedstocks we use to produce biofuels. RVP would grow the
said Brooke Coleman, Advanced Biofuels Business Council
market for biofuels and increase demand for surplus grain.
Executive Director. “But refiners have held E15 hostage for
It’s a clear win-win-win for America’s farmers, biofuel
years, and they always want more. For this to help farm
producers and merchant refiners,” Gilley said.
families, it will be important that the White House continues
Biofuels industry leaders have worked collaboratively in
to steer clear of refiner-backed changes that would gut the
response to requests in order to advance RVP relief. Before
MARCH 9, 2018
MARCH 15, 2018
Administrator Pruitt convenes a meeting with two biofuel producers and two merchant refiners.
Growth Energy submits the RVP + Multiplier Plan to USDA for evaluation.
MARCH 13, 2018 USDA Meeting with Archer Daniels Midland, Growth Energy, Green Plains and POET. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue backs up President Trump and says that maintaining the status quo in the RFS Program isn’t an option.
APRIL 9, 2018 Meeting with President Trump, Administrator Pruitt and Secretary Perdue to discuss biofuel reform. No public statement is released.
MARCH 10, 2018
MARCH 14, 2018
APRIL 12, 2018
JEFF BROIN SPEAKS TO
RALLY IN NEVADA, IOWA
More than 150 farmers, POET team members and other biofuels supporters showed their support for the RFS during a rally at the farm of Bill Couser in Nevada, Iowa.
Broin discussed how a RIN cap is not acceptable to farmers in rural America and discussed a RVP + Multiplier concept for biofuel market growth developed by POET, Growth Energy, GPRE and ADM.
In a White House meeting with farm state senators and governors, President Trump signifies the administration is working on regulatory reforms that will allow year-round access for E15. 7
POET PAC Spotlight: Why I Give POET PAC is a non-restricted Federal Political Action Committee (PAC) formed to give our industry a voice in the fight. Read why these two individuals invest in the future of biofuels by being part of POET PAC.
Name: Jesse Green | Hometown: Harcourt, Iowa Tell me about your connection to POET.
which means our voice needs to be stronger. The PAC helps
I farm 21,000 acres with my father, brother and nephew.
Why should others give to POET PAC?
Twelve years ago we were approached by POET, and we have been bringing our corn to them ever since. POET has been a great addition for producers in this community and for the quality jobs it provides. I wonâ€™t forget the excitement of having a new investment and a new industry coming
We cannot take for granted the various organizations that represent agriculture in Washington. Giving to POET PAC strengthens the voice of biofuels, which will ultimately impact all producers in a positive way. It takes financial support to do this.
to our area. It was during that time when my father decided to invest in on-the-farm
Is there anything else you want to share with our readers?
storage to accomplish two goals: to be a more efficient operation during harvest and to be a reliable
Do not take the resources we
supplier to POET to ensure long-
have for granted. Those of
us in the ag business have
How did you first hear about POET PAC?
a good thing going and our future is bright. We are the leading producers of
A few years ago I was asked by
world, and the increase in
POET to encourage my neighbors
ethanol consumption makes
to engage our congressmen and
that possible. I am extremely
ask them to support the Renewable
grateful for POET and how they
Fuel Standard. To do this, I gathered
actively support my community and
letters from other producers and made
many others. We need to work together
my contribution to POET PAC.
to make our voice strong and help push the need for biofuels forward locally and in Washington. Your
Why do you give to POET PAC? I firmly believe that producers are a small portion of the population, and they need to utilize every tool they have to get the ag message out there. We need a seat at the table. Producers continue to have more challenges each year
gift to POET PAC will make that possible. Jesse Green, his nephew Braden Spillman and brother Steve Spillman.
Contributions to POET PAC are not tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes. Contributions to POET PAC will be used in connection with federal elections and are subject to the limits and prohibitions of federal law. The maximum an individual may contribute to POET PAC is $5,000 per year ($10,000 per couple). Corporate and foreign national contributions are not permitted under federal law. Please make checks payable to POET PAC. Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to obtain and report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer for each individual whose contributions aggregate in excess of $200 per calendar year. Your contribution to POET PAC is strictly voluntary.
PAID FOR BY POET PAC
Name: Lawrence Schwanke | Hometown: Farms in Stewartville, Minn., and also has a residence in Minneapolis Tell me about your connection to POET.
Why should others give to POET PAC? When you buy a tractor you make a significant investment
In the mid to late 1990s there were a number of ethanol
in your farming operation. As time passes the tires wear
plants starting up. When the effort was made to get the
out and it isn’t as effective as it was when the tires were
one started in Preston, I was interested in being involved
new. If you don’t invest in new tires, you are going to use
because it added value to the corn I grow. From
more fuel, less work will get done and you are not going to really utilize the investment to its
there I joined the board and have served
best advantage. Like a new tractor with
good tires, your investment in the
How did you first hear about POET PAC? Through
biofuel industry is an important asset for you. Investing in POET PAC allows for you to have a positive impact on that legal
and regulatory environment
on the board. The Preston general
that influences how successful
the renewable fuel industry
POET representatives from
will be. If you don’t, you allow
Sioux Falls explained the
Big Oil to shape the legal and
importance of the PAC and
regulatory environment that
how the dollars strengthened
producers depend on, and Big Oil
the rural voice in Washington.
is not known as a friend to farmers and ethanol.
Why do you give to POET PAC? I think giving to the PAC adds value to the corn we grow. The future of producers is greatly influenced by those who create the regulatory climate in Washington. Too often these individuals do not support renewable fuels and are not good for our industry. The investment we have made in the biofuel industry will be more successful if we have true champions in Washington. Giving to the PAC is my opportunity to take action to help elect representatives and senators who have some understanding of the industry. This gives producers a greater chance to have a successful renewable fuels industry.
Is there anything else you want to share with our readers? I think that POET has done a good job of hiring people to work in government affairs in Washington. They know the lay of the land in D.C. and use PAC dollars to educate and build relationships with those who support biofuels. The more dollars available, the more effective the POET government affairs representatives can be. It is important to remember that we cannot match the deep pockets of Big Oil but we have a powerful message, and your support of POET PAC will get that message out.
How do I join? www.poetpac.com
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
Reduce Reuse Recycle
Chancellor South Dakota
At POET – Chancellor, roughly half of the plant’s energy needs are supplied by renewable energy. The plant produces biofuel with the lowest carbon intensity of POET’s bioprocessing facilities, utilizing landfill gas and biomass for energy. The plant uses methane from the Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill. The gas is collected and compressed at the landfill and travels through a 12-mile pipeline to the Chancellor facility. This methane gas is used as fuel in the plant’s distillers dried grain dryers and offsets our dependency on natural gas. Additionally, Chancellor’s solid fuel boiler burns wood chips collected from the surrounding community to produce steam to run the facility. The wood chips offset more natural gas and make up about 40 percent of the plant’s total energy consumption.
Several POET bioprocessing facilities employ additional practices beyond POET' four key environmental stewardship practices (BPX Technology, POET's patented raw starch hydrolysis process; combined heat & power; carbon capture and total water recovery) to lower their environmental impact even further.
ADDITIONAL PLANT SPECIFIC ENVIRONMENTAL EFFORTS
South Dakota POET - Big Stone is located next to a power plant, resulting in environmental benefits for power and water usage.
Lake Crystal Minnesota
POET - Lake Crystal obtains electricity from a solar field.
The Environmental Protection Agency has recognized POET Ladonnia with an Energy Star Reward because of energy efficiencies from an on-site turbine.
POETâ€™S ANIMAL FEED BUSINESS RAPIDLY EXPANDS TO INTERNATIONAL MARKETS by Steve Lange
Dakota Gold Brand Has Gained Recognition Abroad, ‘Become Synonymous With Quality’
POET Nutrition Technical Services Director Kevin Herrick (far right) along with U.S. Grains Council representatives tour a swine farm in Vietnam.
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
This Vietnam feed mill provides feed to swine and poultry producers in the regions around Ho Chi Minh City.
In 2010, POET’s international export
to barges and ocean-going freighters
in the animal feed business and POET
market for Distillers Dried Grains with
that dock in harbors from Ireland
Solubles (DDGS), a nutritious animal
to Indonesia. They just finalized the
Ghaly, who got his start in the
feed, consisted of shipping the biofuel
three-year, paperwork-heavy process
industry in 1995 as a grain trader
coproduct to a handful of companies
of getting Dakota Gold registered to
based out of Egypt, began working
in five countries.
sell in Japan. They are scoping out
with POET in 2010 and was one of the
Much of the actual marketing and
new markets, from Australia to the
first people to market Dakota Gold in
selling took place through a broker.
the Middle East.
The shipping itself was outsourced to
“Our international presence has
“Imagine the effort of going to each
a third party.
increased markedly in the last five
and every country in the region and
to ten years,” says Isaac Crawford,
talking to each and every sector of
team coordinates every aspect of an
the industry — the dairy sector, the
international supply chain that ships
Merchandising at POET Nutrition,
poultry sector, the aqua sector,” Ghaly
roughly one million tons per year of
POET’s animal feed division. “We
says. “They didn’t even know what
its Dakota Gold — now maybe the
have built those relationships and
most recognized brand name in DDGS
made the supply chain very efficient.
Today, he’s in Oman, fresh off a
— to 29 countries. POET sells another
Buyers want to get to know producers,
flight from the United Arab Emirates.
four million tons of DDGS in the
and we have worked hard to get to
Tomorrow morning, he’ll be meeting
know our international customers.”
with a nutritionist and the buyers for
The export team has set up a full-
Getting to know those customers
an animal feed company, discussing
time office in Mexico. They have built
includes regular in-country visits by
relationships from Bangladesh to
POET partners like Diaa Ghaly, the
of Dakota Gold to bulk pricing to
Brunei, and Colombia to Cambodia.
Global Feed and Grains Director for
They rent railcars to move shipments
the U.S.-based Al Dahra ACX, a leader
POET Nutrition Merchandiser David Kiesner at the Vietstock trade show in Vietnam. POET was an exhibitor and presented at a scientific session.
consistent product (all of POET’s 27
in-country point person for the POET
bioprocessing facilities follow the
team back in South Dakota. He’ll
revolutionary new BPX process, a
same guidelines to create Dakota
explore local ports, research area
breakthrough that converted starch
Gold), competitive prices and a high-
regulations and help determine truck
to biofuel without cooking, which
quality protein content. Dakota Gold
or train carriers.
meant better nutrition due to less heat
optimizes milk production in dairy
“The technical support that POET
damage. Dakota Gold was born.
cattle; lowers production costs for
provides is very special,” says Ghaly.
Dakota Gold is not your average
swine, poultry and dairy; improves
“They give free-of-charge support to
DDGS. POET’s Dakota Gold DDGS is
digestibility; and enhances yolk color
their customers all over the world.
held to the highest standards in the
POET goes the extra mile of benefiting
industry. Within the POET system,
If the company decides to buy
and talking to the customer.”
every pound of DDGS undergoes a
Dakota Gold, Ghaly will serve as the
That service, coupled with Dakota
strict quality check to ensure it meets
Gold’s history of high-quality results,
those high standards when it comes
has made the product a brand name
to the product’s uniform particle
in the region.
“Today, if you go to the Middle East
the animals will like its flavor) and
and North Africa and you ask people
high nutrient value. That’s just for
about DDGS, they won’t call it DDGS,”
POET’s “commodity DDGS.” To qualify
he says. “They’ll call it Dakota Gold,
as Dakota Gold, the DDGS must
because the brand has established
qualify for an even tighter quality
itself and become synonymous with
tests to meet the customers’ needs.
Those DDGS are also put though
Dakota Gold has come a long way in
Dakota Gold’s patented BPX process,
a short time. Early on, POET Chairman
which increases the nutrient value,
and CEO Jeff Broin had recognized
that biofuel coproducts — specifically
creates the most digestible DDGS in
DDGS and, later, carbon dioxide and
corn oil — were critical components
Today, POET produces over four
million tons of Dakota Gold annually,
Today, if you go to the Middle East and North Africa and you ask people about DDGS, they won’t call it DDGS. They’ll call it Dakota Gold, because the brand has established itself and become synonymous with quality.
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
which makes up roughly 85 percent of
POET Nutrition Vice President of Trading & Merchandising Isaac Crawford, POET Nutrition Technical Services Director Kevin Herrick and Aldahra representative Diaa Ghaly meet with Nadec Dairy in Saudi Arabia. Nadec is one of the largest dairies in Saudi Arabia and is milking close to 75,000 cows.
its total DDGS production. And DDGS
POET has a history of recognizing
have become the nation’s second-
POET products make up roughly 10
largest animal feed ingredient, behind
percent of total U.S. exports of DDGS,
corn, according to the U.S. Department
says Andy Lindsay, Merchandising
teams. In the early 2010s, when POET
Manager for POET Nutrition. Lindsay,
saw that potential for international
While the domestic sales of DDGS
who works with the container and
growth of DDGS, they began making
have remained relatively stable over
bulk exports, recently returned from
plans to bring that outsourcing in
the last few years, the production of
a week in Colombia, where he met
DDGS continues to increase faster
with seven potential buyers of Dakota
than the production of domestic
directly for this project, Crawford,
“We have really ramped up our
Skuodas and Lindsay — all of whom
really grown over the last 10 years,” says Mike Skuodas, Vice President of Operations at POET Nutrition. “We have a much bigger supply. There’s only so much that can be consumed here.” Domestically, the total production of DDGS has grown from 40 million tons in 2012 to 50 million tons in 2017. “We have to find other homes for those extra tons, and that’s the international market,” says Skuodas, a 28-year veteran of the ag and food
Dakota Gold is the best product out there, and we’re finding the best ways to make sure everyone — everywhere around the world — knows that.
started at POET roughly six years ago — soon found their focus on the international marketing, sales and shipping of DDGS. “POET used to work with companies that shipped the DDGS for us, that acted as a seller for us,” says Skuodas. “Now we’re doing all that stuff right here. We developed the expertise within our team to do these things. We are moving the product all the way through the chain and adding value to the POET system.” The focus also shifted to those direct
industry who has spent the past
relationships with customers.
six years at POET. “There’s a lot of
“We’ve learned a ton in the past
growth in the overall world feed
five years,” says Skuodas. “We’re
industry outside of the United States.
always looking at ways to optimize
Fortunately, we were one of the first
international customer visits,” says
our export process. But maybe the
companies to really recognize that.”
Lindsay, who started at POET five
most important thing we’ve learned
In 2006, according to the U.S. Grains
years ago. “We’ve been more active
is that we need to be there in person,
Council, the United States exported 1
in trade shows and with the U.S.
to promote our product, to see for
million tons of DDGS.
Grains Council, which has a lot of
ourselves the best way to get it there
In 2017, that number was just over
international contacts. We’ve hosted
and to build those relationships.
11 million tons, with Mexico (2.1
more international groups. We’ve
Dakota Gold is the best product out
million tons) as our top importer.
visited more countries and customers
there, and we’re finding the best ways
Turkey (1.4 million tons) and South
and really just tried to get the Dakota
to make sure everyone — everywhere
Korea (1 million tons) round out the
Gold name out there.”
around the world — knows that.”
PRIME THE PUMP
Southern-based Protec Fuel Has Long History of Supporting Higher Biofuel Blends Steve Walk guides Protec effort with enthusiasm, persistence by Angela Tewalt
In business, how can you be sure you have a good
retailers to provide E15 access and assists early retail
adopters of higher-level biofuel blends by awarding grants
When you can convince your competitor to buy it.
to help with their initial investments in infrastructure.
In Florida, biofuel distributor Protec Fuel has not only
reveled in their opportunity to participate in Prime the
Pump but also chosen to target oil-branded retailers for
biofuel distribution, and they are still successful.
“At Protec, our mission is simply to help stations and
Prime the Pump targets high-volume, high-profile
retailers become more successful,” Walk says. “Yes, we
fought through that major oil-branded spectrum, but it’s because we knew E15 would give retailers a great, unique competitive advantage, and having that variety of offerings would make their station that much more successful.” Protec’s diverse customer base gives them an advantage as well. Their solid relationships with both mega chains and single store mom-and-pops alike help them improve the way they market and sell E15. “Our wide variety of customers have given us amazing intelligence,” says David Kaiyalethe, marketing manager at Protec. “As a distributor, we are able to take that feedback and provide our retailers with strategy, education, marketing support and customer insight that is going to make their particular location successful. “Put simply, we know what will work in any conceivable location,” he says. Mike O’Brien at Growth Energy has noticed Protec’s hustle, and he appreciates Walk’s enthusiasm. “When E15 came along, Steve was one of the first retailminded people to really jump on board,” O’Brien says. “Protec has a long history of supporting higher blends of ethanol, and Steve has done a tremendous amount of work in the south.” O’Brien says that Protec was one of the first companies to apply for a Prime the Pump grant. They launched with 16 stations in Georgia, five in Florida and three in Texas. “But the fact that those locations were primarily oilbranded was so unique to us,” O’Brien says. “And quite frankly, our ability to penetrate that market has been
PRIME THE PUMP
opposed to E15 getting ahead in the market, but Steve’s drive will really pay off in terms of how we penetrate branded oil sites in the future.” Today,
distributes E85 to over 400
About Protec Fuel Protec was founded in 1999 in Boca Raton, Fla., and is one of the largest distributors of biofuels to both independent retailers and government fleets in the United States.
200 of those also offer E15 — across the south, Steve Walk accepts the 2017 TOBI Award for Market Development from Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy.
Atlantic areas. Walk says their goal for 2018 is to add at least 200 more stations on top of what they’ve already done.
Yes, we fought through that major oil-branded spectrum, but it’s because we knew E15 would give retailers a great, unique competitive advantage, and having that variety of offerings would make their station that much more successful. Steve Walk, Protec CEO
“We will continue to look for likeminded retailers who are equally as passionate as we are about providing a great product to the general public,” Walk says. “Once every generation something unique comes across the fuel industry that really is a game changer, and E15 is that fuel. We are ecstatic about E15.” Growth Energy recently celebrated Walk’s enthusiasm by honoring him with the 2017 TOBI award for market development, an annual recognition for those who show extraordinary leadership in growing the biofuels industry. “Really,
accumulation of all the work Steve has done over the years,” O’Brien says. “He flies under the radar and hasn’t gotten the recognition he deserves for growing his business and helping all the retailers he has.” “Steve has been lockstepped the entire time,” O’Brien says, “and he is our unsung hero.”
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
Protec distributes E85 to over 400 stations, of which over 200 of those also offer E15. Their current geography focus includes Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Georgia and Ohio. In the middle of their Prime the Pump initiative, Protec received grant funding through United States Department of Agriculture’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP), a state-led effort investing $210 million to evaluate innovative approaches to marketing E15 and E85 while supporting farmers and domestic jobs and reducing the demand for foreign oil. BIP will conclude at the end of 2018, and Protec will resume their Prime the Pump initiative.
‘Salute to Farmers’ Float: Recognizing the Importance of Farmers by Brian Hefty When someone says the word agriculture, what do you think
farm, including a combine and tractor, the first thing we wanted
about? Unfortunately, many Americans today will say, GMOs,
everyone to notice was all the people on the float. Our 102
pesticides and food safety. While these things may play a role in
riders were family farmers from across the United States. What
agriculture, that’s not what I think about — and it’s certainly not
agriculture is really all about is families feeding families in our
the first thought we want anyone to have. The most important
country and around the world.
thing in agriculture is the people. We are fortunate in our
We also set another record: There were seeds from all 50 states
industry to have great, hard-working people who want nothing
covering the Salute to Farmers float. We asked Ag PhD viewers
more than to produce the best food possible for our growing
and listeners from across the U.S. to send in their seeds for the
decoration. Many also sent stories like this one: “We would like
If you watched the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s
this seed to be part of your Rose Parade float, because it was part
Day, hopefully you saw the Ag PhD Salute to Farmers float. The
of Granddad’s last corn crop.”
float set a record with 102 riders. Floats aren’t typically allowed
If you ever get the chance to go to the Rose Parade, make sure
to have more than a few people on board, but I wanted our float
you go out at least two to three days early to see some of the float
to have 102 because that’s the No. 1 thing I wanted viewers and
decorating. Every float must be covered 100 percent in plant
attendees to notice.
material. The Salute to Farmers float was the second longest
Approximately 50 million people watch the Rose Parade, and
in the 2018 parade at 110 feet. It was 18-feet wide and 30-feet
there are just shy of 1 million in attendance along the 5.5-mile
high at the peak. Imagine decorating that one seed, one flower
parade route. While we wanted those viewers to see replicas
and one leaf at a time! While the frame for every parade float is
of the modern equipment we use on the typical Midwestern
built over weeks or months during the year, all the decoration is essentially last minute. It is an amazing process, and one that happens in just five days leading up to the parade. Thousands of flowers are individually set in water vials and placed on each float one by one. Thousands of volunteers work in shifts almost non-stop. Then, most floats are driven approximately 15 miles from where they are built in Azusa, Calif., to the parade route in Pasadena on New Year’s Eve. This drive requires a large, police motorcycle escort, and six to nine hours to complete for each float. Did I mention the float drivers are underneath the float with limited visibility in cramped quarters? The Tournament of Roses Parade was an incredible experience for us, and hopefully it helped spread the great message about what farmers do. In the United States, we have the safest, cheapest, healthiest and most abundant food supply in the world. That’s why we encourage all Americans to say,
The Salute to Farmers float at the Tournament of Roses Parade was decorated with seeds from all 50 states. 20
“Thank you, farmers!”
IS MADE HERE.
For years, we’ve been told that cellulosic biofuel 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. ®
REALWORLD CHALLENGE WITH A REALWORLD SOLUTION POET Sponsors SDSU Engineering Studentsâ€™ Design Project for Capstone Course by BryAnn Becker Knecht | photos by Greg Latza
Part 1 of a series that focuses on POET’s partnerships with area universities.
Mitchell Sandey, Colin LeBrun, Caleb Lang, Brady Buck and Alex Koepke with the prototype in South Dakota State University’s Ag Engineering lab.
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
n many college engineering courses, project
design, hydraulic calculation and electrical schematics.
scenarios come from a textbook and lack real-world
The prototype, using a hydraulic ram, compresses the
constraints, like having to account for criteria such
material and then melts it into a tube shape. The project
as speed, safety and cost.
won first place in the industrial category for SDSU’s College
In other words, students might size a cylinder but
of Engineering Design Expo.
not have to consider cost. That’s not the case at
“They did a great job, and they seemed to really enjoy it.
South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings,
It’s a real-world application on a piece of equipment that
nobody has ever developed for this specific application. You
SDSU’s Senior Design Capstone Program in the
can see the real-world value of this not only for cellulosic
Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
biofuel but also for anyone who handles this volume of
(ABE) allows students to tackle an industry-based project
bales,” Peterson says.
— and all the real-world loopholes, nuances and challenges
LeBrun now serves as the point person for the 2017-2018
that come with it.
capstone course students who are working on phase two
Students have the opportunity to select a project offered
of the project. Jud Evanson, Milling & Materials Handling
by a variety of companies. Industry sponsors present an engineering challenge for the two-semester course, designate a company point person, and supply funding to build prototypes and mockups. Colin LeBrun, a 2017 SDSU graduate who is now an engineer for POET, had his first opportunity to design a prototype from scratch during the capstone course. LeBrun, who had worked twice as an intern for POET, contacted the company in 2016 to ask if they had any potential projects
If we can get that back into the solid fuel boiler easily, it has great BTU value [British thermal unit, a traditional unit of heat]. We can burn the plastic and create steam for the plant.
for the course. POET presented a project to solve a material handling challenge at Project LIBERTY — POET-DSM Advanced
Biofuels’ commercial scale cellulosic biofuels facility in
Engineer, POET Design & Construction, also serves as a
Emmetsburg, Iowa — with the goal of eventually using it on
POET advisor along with Peterson.
Phase two of the project involves working on the feeding
LeBrun and two other classmates designed a prototype
device in the front of the machine and the cutting device
to more efficiently handle and compact the large volumes
on the back end. A lagging issue from the prototype from
of netwrap and twine removed from corn stover bales
phase one was that the machine needed to be manually fed
entering Project LIBERTY. POET has developed a machine
the material. “You had to physically take the netwrap off
to remove the netwrap and twine from the bales, but the
and feed it into the chamber. One of our main tasks was to
material proves cumbersome to transfer to the solid fuel
get the netwrap into that extrusion chamber,” says SDSU
boiler in order to reuse it for energy for the plant.
senior Caleb Lang, who is working on phase two of the
“If we can get that back into the solid fuel boiler easily, it
project along with Mitchell Sandey, Alexander Koepke and
has great BTU value [British thermal unit, a traditional unit
of heat]. We can burn the plastic and create steam for the
The students arrived at the idea to use two cylinders.
plant,” says Todd Peterson, Milling and Material Handling
They ran a few ideas past LeBrun and Peterson and then
Manager, POET Design & Construction, who has been a
made more design changes.
POET advisor on the project since fall 2016. “We thought, if
The second part of their work this year has been to
we can densify it, that would be an advantage to us in terms
automate the sizing system. They noticed that the sizing
of how we handle the raw volume of the material. What
of the end material was inconsistent. Their model uses a
we’re exploring is the densification of the material.”
hydraulic cylinder to push forward a hydraulically actuated
In phase one of the project last academic year, LeBrun
saw blade to size the log-shaped material into 4-inch-thick
and SDSU students Cody Myers and Grant Bose developed
a workable prototype. Students worked on a multistep
For Buck, the industry collaboration and real-time
approach in designing the prototype that involved machine
feedback is motivating. “It’s exciting to know we can test
About the POETsponsored SDSU Student Design Project Project LIBERTY utilizes corn stover as a feedstock to produce cellulosic biofuel. The stover is delivered to the plant in bale form. The round bales are wrapped by three layers of a polyethylene netting, while the squares are held together with six strands of polypropylene twine. The first step in the conversion of stover to biofuel at Project LIBERTY is to remove the netwrap and twine from the bales. POET uses a specially developed net wrap remover to separate the netting and twine from the bales. Once removed, the plastic is used as an energy source by burning it in the plantâ€™s solid fuel boiler to create steam for the rest of the plant processes. The netting and twine are bulky, so an efficient method of conveying these materials to the boiler is highly desirable. The prototype designed by the SDSU students condenses the netwrap and twine that is removed from corn stover bales entering Project LIBERTY. The netwrap and twine is condensed into a log shape at the end of the process. Phase two of the process involves automating the sizing system at the back end of the process to size the log-shaped material into 4-inch pucks to more easily transfer it to the solid fuel boiler.
The net wrap and twine is condensed into a log shape by the end of the process.
our ideas. You definitely take more pride in your work. You’ll either benefit or suffer from the work you put in beforehand.” That’s a lesson that lasts beyond a final exam grade. “At the end, our students get to see their projects in action and listen to the feedback from the people that will be using our product. Students will remember the industry feedback much longer than they ever will remember a grade on a homework assignment,” says Van Kelley, PhD, Department Head of ABE at SDSU.
At the end, our students get to see their projects in action and listen to the feedback from the people that will be using our product. Students will remember the industry feedback much longer than they ever will remember a grade on a homework assignment.
The goal is to develop a workable prototype by this spring
SDSU Ag Engineering students discuss the project with POET engineer and SDSU alumnus Colin LeBrun (center), who serves as an advisor for the project.
and do further testing at Project LIBERTY. “Hopefully it’s
Kelley agrees. “Our faculty come to campus every day
a robust-enough design to stand up to the commercial
with the goal to inspire the nation’s next generation of
environment. The next step is to automate it, which
innovators and leaders in agriculture. Strong industry
is something we would do in house with the process
connections with innovators like POET keep our students at
automation team,” Peterson says.
the forefront of the agricultural industry.”
This industry collaboration offers benefits on all sides.
The Senior Design Capstone Program offers myriad
“It’s a great opportunity for POET to engage students on
benefits to students. They have the opportunity to learn
something that is an active problem looking for a solution
collaboration skills and ways to improve their projects,
for POET. It’s a great thing to get a dedicated group of
notes Douglas Prairie, P.E., Instructor of Agriculture and
students on it and let them work toward a solution,”
Biosystems Engineering at SDSU. “Students learn project
communication skills and learn to see themselves as
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
Colin LeBrun, Brady Buck, Mitchell Sandey, Caleb Lang and Alex Koepke work on the project in South Dakota State University’s Ag Engineering lab.
It keeps us in contact with these up-and-coming engineers. We want to know them. We want to talk with them. If we can engage them early on in internships and engage them in programs like this and they like it, that keeps the pipeline going for POET.
independent contractors on a project. They learn budget estimation, time management and collaboration skills, as well as how to improve their projects,” Prairie noted. Peterson says part of the value for POET is to help with talent development at POET. “It keeps us in contact with these up-and-coming engineers. We want to know them. We want to talk with them. If we can engage them early on in internships and engage them in programs like this and they like it, that keeps the pipeline going for POET,” Peterson says.
Investing in Knowledge American Ethanol taps Andy Randolph, technical director of ECR Engines, to teach the benefits of biofuels as an efficient, high-performance fuel by Ryan Welsh Ben Franklin, one of our Founding Fathers, was known for his
around a comparison of biofuels and gasoline.
wit, brilliant theories and overall gumption for a man in the late
“With ethanol, hydrogen burns very clean,” he explained.
1700s. A famous note we’ve taken to heart at American Ethanol
“Having some oxygen bound to the fuel increases oxidation
is, “If a man empties his purse into his head no man can take it
efficiency. Gasoline, however, produces more carbon emissions
from him. An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
Last spring, Dr. Andrew Randolph, technical director of ECR
Randolph demonstrated this by burning both biofuel and
engines, joined University of North Carolina - Charlotte for the
gasoline in different plates and showing the imprint of carbon
last EPIC speaker series of the semester to provide some insight
emissions. For biofuels, the oxygen that is contained in the fuel
on why the E15 biofuel is a valuable alternative for a variety of
reduces carbon emissions.
vehicles, from NASCAR vehicles to the everyday driver.
He explained that biofuel’s high octane number, which
Randolph’s research focuses on the combustion properties
quantifies the susceptibility of a fuel to autoignite, reduces
of alcohol-diesel and alcohol-oil blends, and has contributed
this susceptibility and aligns with automotive industry trends
to five NASCAR Cup championships with three different teams
toward smaller displacement, high-specific power engines.
as technical director of ECR engines. His analysis was based
Biofuel also has a high heat of vaporization that further
Dr. Randolph hosting Auto Mechanics at ECR Engines
Ethanol is the safest, least expensive octane booster. Ethanol has nearly three times the Hvap [heat of vaporization] as gasoline.
When ECR implemented fuel with higher biofuel blends into
NASCAR, the engine power increased slightly. This was because
provides a power boost via
the biofuel provided more cooling so the post-race piston
“Ethanol is the safest, least
When asked about the potential shift from 10 to 15 percent
expensive octane booster,”
biofuels, Randolph explained that it’s a slow transition because
said Randolph. “Ethanol
of older model cars.
has nearly three times the
“We have to work our way up slowly because of potential
Hvap [heat of vaporization]
difficulty with the calibration in older cars,” he said. “But I do
as gasoline. Power also
think we will go national. There will be no problems associated
increases with a cooler
with it in the future.”
We will continue to invest in knowledge at American Ethanol,
and the interest we accrue is showing to be fruitful.
Heat of vaporization is the
E15 is available in 29 states. North Carolina adopted it and is
amount of energy required
fifth in the nation. There are almost 1,400 stations nationwide.
to convert a substance from its liquid phase to its gaseous phase. He acknowled the higherheating value of biofuels that results in 34 percent
Dr. Andrew Randolph speaks at EPIC Energy Seminar.
less fuel economy than pure gasoline, but argued that the cost of fuel drops faster than the fuel mileage, making biofuel-gasoline blends a bargain. Another counterargument posed is that water is not soluble in gasoline, making it harmful to boat engines, but Randolph noted that any water in the fuel system is only an issue for boaters operating on pure gasoline. Randolph also addressed the notion that biofuels ruin small engines by explaining that small engines are calibrated “extremely rich,” so the fuel can aid with cooling. (The carburetor on the engine is set to run richer or heavier in fuel compared to air.) Small engines are set to run rich because it runs cooler and is considered to put less stress on the engine. Ethanol has cooling properties, so it is a win-win.
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
ENERGY FOR LIFE
JOURNALING FOR SPIRITUAL RENEWAL
SPRING INTERVAL WORKOUT
by Melissa Fletcher, Spiritual Care Advisor, POET
by Cole Fricke, Wellness Coordinator, POET
Journaling is a tool that can help us express our
Here’s a fun SPRING interval workout that’s designed
thoughts and emotions and even find spiritual
to get you and the kids outside enjoying that beautiful
renewal, no matter your age. Journaling can be simple
spring weather after being stuck indoors all winter.
or elaborate — the choice is yours!
Do 45 seconds of work for each exercise, followed
For example, my dad keeps a daily journal that
by 15 seconds of rest before the next exercise. You can
includes a few sentences to recap the day’s highlights.
do anywhere from one to three rounds, depending on
It’s simple but effective.
how you’re feeling. Just take an extra minute between
Journaling can also help us express our thoughts
to God. Prayer journaling is simply talking to God through a letter. When we write
Start in a crouching position with your hands reaching
down on the floor. Use your legs to jump vertically up
prayers, we can
in the air, making a large “X” shape with your arms and
keep track of what
legs. Land softly with your feet together, and go down
we prayed for and when
personally find this type of journaling very rewarding. Sometimes
S – STAR JUMPS
in your crouching position.
P – PUSH-UPS R – RUSSIAN TWISTS
Start seated with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
writing and sketching. If you are artistic,
Keeping the spine long and the abs engaged, lean back
drawing to express what’s on your heart can do
slightly and lift the feet a few inches off the floor. (To
wonders for the soul. You can also incorporate stickers
modify, keep the feet on the floor.) Slowly twist the
or photos to create a journal collage.
upper torso to the left and bring your hands beside
No matter what shape your journal takes, don’t
the left hip. Return to center, and then slowly twist to
worry about its format. This is your special journal to
the right and bring your hands beside the right hip to
put your own spin on that no one else has to see.
complete one rotation.
Here are a few tips for starting your own journal: 1. Organize your supplies (notebook, photos, colored pencils/pens, stickers, etc.) 2. Set aside a few minutes each day where you can express your thoughts, write a prayer, or draw a picture capturing your thoughts and emotions for the day. 3. Be creative. Try new things. 4. Every month review your journal and reflect on your journey. 5. Be thankful for every life moment: the joys, the hurts and the sorrows. Journaling is refreshing for your soul. So open your notebook, take out a pen and let the journey begin!
4 cups ripe diced tomatoes or 2 cans (14 oz. each) diced
I – INCHWORMS Stand up tall with your legs straight and drop your hands to the floor. Keeping your legs straight (but not locked), slowly lower your body towards the floor, and then walk the hands forward. Once in a push-up position, start taking tiny steps until your feet meet your hands.
tomatoes 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 teaspoon mild chili powder 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon paprika Pinch of cayenne pepper (or more to taste) Pinch of sugar (optional, to taste) Salt and pepper, to taste
N – NINJA KICKS Start with your feet and hands on the floor, always keeping your hands on the floor. Instead of kicking straight back like a donkey when you push your feet off the floor, kick out to the side (like a ninja donkey). Land in the starting position.
6 eggs 1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley (optional) Heat a deep, large skillet or sauté pan on medium. Slowly warm the olive oil in the pan. Add chopped onion and sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add garlic and continue to sauté until
G – GLUTE BRIDGES Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your hands at your sides. Push through your heels and use your glutes to lift your hips as high as possible. Pause and squeeze at the top, and return to the starting position.
the mixture is fragrant. Add the diced bell pepper and sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium until softened. Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan; stir until blended. Add spices and sugar, stir, and
SHAKSHUKA: FUNNY NAME, FANTASTIC RECIPE
allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until it starts to reduce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
It sounds more like a sneeze than something you’d
Crack the eggs directly
want to eat, but trust me, you’re gonna want this simple
over the tomato mixture.
and satisfying recipe again and again.
Space evenly over the
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
mixture to simmer for 10-
15 minutes, or until eggs are
cooked and the sauce has slightly 1 tablespoon olive oil
reduced. Keep an eye on the skillet to
1/2 onion, peeled and diced
make sure that the sauce doesn’t reduce
1 clove garlic, minced
too much, which can lead to burning.
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped Garnish with the chopped parsley, if desired, and enjoy! (Recipe adapted from toriavey.com)
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
Stover Harvest Gears Up Anticipation builds for the largest biomass harvest yet; veteran growers share their experiences by Susanne Retka Schill | photos by Greg Latza
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
The corn stover harvest is about
you have a flood. It doesn’t block up
to get much larger in the counties
our field cultivator when trying to
replacement has increased.
go through corn stalks. And you can
make a few bucks doing it.”
illustrates another benefit of the
at Project LIBERTY — POET-DSM
“We’re not taking a tremendous
Advanced Biofuel’s 20 million gallon
amount of stover off,” said Bruce
and business opportunities. Miner
cellulosic biofuels plant. “We’ll be
Nelson, who farms a few miles north
helps his dad farm 12 miles west of
increasing the acres and our custom
of Emmetsburg. “Typically we have 4
Emmetsburg at Ruthven. He holds
base by 50 to 60 percent,” said Allan
to 5 tons of biomass in the field after
Keller, Plant Biomass Manager, POET.
harvesting the grain, and we’re baling
The stover harvest — which removes
a portion of the residue left after
Based on earlier research, POET
combining field corn — is bringing
recommends 1-ton removal as a
new economic opportunity to the area
sustainable level. After the bales are
as growers are paid for the collected
off the field, one can hardly tell which
biomass and others get involved in
corn fields were baled and which
baling and transporting the big bales
weren’t, Nelson said.
for processing at the plant. The goal is
economic, environmental and social
one tillage pass across the farm
Producers who have participated
on corn acres. On one part of the
in multiple stover harvests report
farm in particular, with plenty of
positive experiences. “I’m a big fan
rocks and rolling ground, stover
of it,” said Justin Eichelberger, who
removal has meant tillage could
farms 40 miles south of Emmetsburg
nearly be eliminated, Nelson said.
at Manson. “You don’t have [residue]
He reports minor impact on nitrogen
a full-time job and has a small cattle
blowing away or washing away if
and phosphorus levels from stover
operation. Beginning five years ago,
We take pride in not taking too much off. We don’t want to run dirt and rock through our balers, and I know people don’t want dirt showing.
he used his round hay baler to roll up his acres, along with a few neighbors. Since then, he’s added two balers and started a sideline business in the fall. “It’s given me an opportunity to build some equity,” he said. The other two growers have new sideline businesses as well. Nelson and a friend have created some fulltime and a number of part-time jobs, he reported, doing custom baling and hauling. Eichelberger and a friend also provide baling services around their community. “We take pride in not taking too much off,” Eichelberger said. “We don’t want to run dirt and rock
Biomass harvesting takes place in October 2017 on Craig Brownleeâ€™s land in Emmetsburg, Iowa.
Nick Moiser changes the bale netting.
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
through our balers, and I know people
few months. The plant is steadily
don’t want dirt showing.”
Keller explained POET’s goal is
to have the stover harvested and
thought process is changing to, ‘Can
harvest sounds more complicated
the bales moved off the field within
we do more acres?’” he said. “This will
than it is, he said. The chopper/
a week of the grain harvest being
be our biggest harvest, but we fully
spreader on the combine is turned
anticipate filling all our contracts.”
off and the stover dropped into a
“We usually are underneath that,”
POET has developed its model for
windrow to be baled without raking.
Keller said. “We utilize in-the-field
biomass contracts with flexibility,
As new growers are recruited, some
storage until the bales are needed at
Keller continued. “We try to allow
express concern, he added. “I don’t
the plant. Some are picked up real
farmers to be as involved as they
think the people around Manson are
soon, and some stay out there 12
want to be.” Producers can do their
that nervous about taking stover off. They’re more nervous that the bales are going to sit there a long time.” Nelson
commissioning challenges faced at the first-of-its-kind plant, some didn’t get those bales moved for several months. “If a guy has a Type A personality, it could really bother him,” Nelson said. He’s been a supporter of Project LIBERTY from the beginning, even working with some of the early prototype harvests. This fall will be the eighth season Nelson and his farming partners, his dad and uncle, have contracted their corn acres. The stover harvest has progressed, Nelson said. Today the backlog of bales on farmers’ fields has been eliminated. “Everyone had troubles
own baling and delivery, make their
We try to allow farmers to be as involved as they want to be. Most of our customers are receiving between $15 and $35 net per acre. The guys doing it themselves are making the most money, because they are managing the process.
own custom arrangements or, if they prefer, have POET’s team handle all the logistics. Payment reflects how much of the work they do. “Most of our customers are receiving between $15 and $35 net per acre,” he said. “The guys doing it themselves are making the most money, because they are managing the process.” As POET’s biomass team members meet with farmers to explain the program
protocols for baling, they occasionally call upon one of the researchers involved early on in determining how much residue removal would be sustainable. Douglas Scientist
at first, from the producer to POET,
Department of Agriculture Research
to the custom guys, but along the
Service based at Iowa State University,
way there’s a lot of answers that have
tells any group he talks to that, as a
come with experience.”
soil scientist, “my first priority is to
For example, Nelson mentioned he
take care of the soil. If you take care
has gained a better understanding
months — our pay structure is set up
of the soil, the soil will take care of us.
of where to site field stacks, better
to reflect that.”
That’s the ground rule.”
systems for hauling and unloading
He acknowledged the hiccups at
“Many of those producers are
bales, and the big one: “Now that the
the plant preventing timely deliveries
encountering residue management
plant is running better, it makes it
was a problem at first. “But the mood
problems,” he explained. He doesn’t
easier to schedule when to bring the
is drastically improving in the past
Biomass harvesting takes place in October 2017 on Craig Brownlee’s land in Emmetsburg, Iowa.
manage the residue, because that could disturb the root-zone carbon. “Intensive tillage really burns up the organic matter imbedded in the soil,” he said. He suggests producers consider sustainable stover removal instead.
following crop plant, but less ground cover means soils warm more quickly in the spring, which in turn aids germination and field stands. POET’s approach to harvest corn residue has been conservative, Karlen said. “The target is 1 to 1.5 tons per acre and for the yields in the supply shed they’re working in, it is well within the guidelines of sustainability, even if the producer doesn’t want to reduce tillage. But I think they will find they can reduce tillage intensity.” When done right, there will be sufficient plant residue left on the soil to sustain and even slightly increase organic matter, he said. In talking about future sustainability and biomass harvests, Karlen said he can envision a time when perennial grasses will be deployed on degraded land or steep slopes. The corn stover harvest for ethanol is the first step in creating market demand for advanced biofuels and biochemicals that will call for additional biomass, he said. “The bottom line is we must have a long range vision to use the land sustainably, with greater diversity. It’s not only good from the energy perspective, but it’s good economics for the individual producer, for the community and the environment.”
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
Seeds of Change: Mission Grow Continues to Change the Lives of Kenyan Farmers
POET’s nonprofit organization, Seeds of Change, focuses on bringing quality education, reliable food supply and healthier environments to people around the world through its three missions: Hope, Grow and Breathe. Mission Grow specifically provides practical, efficient farming techniques that allow local Kenyans to significantly improve their quality of life. The project area is in Eastern Kenya, and over the last five years it has impacted half a million people! Learn about how James Mbithi and Josephine Mbinya have seen dramatic changes in their villages thanks to donations that have come through Mission Grow.
Africa Poultry Vaccination Changes Farmer’s Life James Mbithi lives in the village of Ukia in Kenya. With resources provided by the support of Mission Grow, his life has changed dramatically over the past two years. In fall 2015, James had only five chickens. After a visit from a Village Based Advisor, one of the local counterparts on the ground, he was educated on the importance
I can now plan for
increase his flock to 180 birds in a
community by providing a nutrient
little over a year.
dense food at a reasonable cost,
In spring 2017, James had a local
educates other farmers on the benefits
buyer request 100 of his chickens for
of vaccinating poultry and increases
an event. With the $800 that James
their income, creates a demand for
made off the sale, he was able to build
building supplies and laborers, and
a new chicken structure capable of
allows James to send his children
holding 2,000 chickens, as well as a
to school and gain an education to
new breed of chickens called Rainbow
continue building on the foundation
Roosters. This improved breed
their father has started.
hardy and matures in half the time of
“Through this venture, I want to
indigenous chickens. James now has
establish a ‘kuku’ (chicken) empire
more than 1,000 chickens and plans
that will give me returns,” James said.
to sell half of them in order to build a
“I can now plan for another child and
house for his growing family.
his/her future will be secure. With my
The benefits of a simple chicken
chicken business, I am sure I will be
vaccination that costs less than $.05
able to give the child the best that life
are rippling out to touch more than
has to offer.”
James and his family. It reaches the
another child and his/her future will be secure. With my chicken business, I am sure I will be able to give the child the best that life has to offer.
Newcastle disease. These vaccinations are an extremely cheap and effective way to prevent early poultry deaths. James began vaccinating all of his chickens regularly and was able to
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
Chinese Cabbage Helps Farmer Provide Additional Produce, Earn Extra Income for Her Family Water for irrigation is a constant challenge for many Kenyans, who largely depend on seasonal rains to establish and grow their crops. Some farmers in the regions supported by Mission Grow have begun using Micro-Irrigated
(MI-VEG) in order to grow a variety of vegetables without utilizing a large volume of water. Josephine Mbinya is one of these farmers and started experimenting with Chinese cabbage to provide some additional produce for her family. She had attended a local training, and the MI-VEG caught her attention because they required so few inputs: a bit of labor to dig a small pit, a plastic sheet to line the bottom, some manure and soil, and thorny branches to protect the plants from chickens. Only a small amount of water twice a week was necessary to establish and maintain
plant growth. Josephine
cabbage grew so well she soon had excess. She is now able to harvest three
Sixty farmers have taken up the MI-
times a week and makes $14 each
VEG technique in my
week at the open air market near her
village, and they have
home. This is a substantial increase to her income. It has allowed her to
beautiful pits bursting
supplement her family’s diet with
with greens. They now
healthy produce and given her the ability to provide adequate clothing
call me ‘mama mboga
for her children. Her next upgrade
safi’ (mother of clean
will be to improve her kitchen and buy all new utensils. “Sixty farmers have taken up the MI-VEG technique in my village, and they have beautiful pits bursting with greens,” Josephine says. “They now call me ‘mama mboga safi’ (mother of clean vegetables).”
Connect With Seeds Of Change seedsofchange.org facebook.com/SeedsofChangeFoundation twitter.com/SOC_foundation instagram.com/seedsofchangefoundation 42
the best ideas
are the ones you haven’t thought of yet POET.COM
At POET, we’re not looking for easy fixes for obvious problems. We’re looking for the next generation of problem solvers, who can identify challenges we don’t even know exist yet. So if you’re more interested in unanswerable questions than answers that can’t be questioned, you’ll probably fit right in.
RENEW POET - Leipsic celebrates 10 years POET â€“ Leipsic celebrated 10 years of biofuel production with a luncheon in January 2018 for POET team members and guests. Representatives from the offices of Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Rob Portman and Congressman Bob Latta presented the team with congratulatory letters. Congratulations, Leipsic!
POET - Hudson Raises $1,000 to Relieve Student Lunch Debt POET - Hudson team members raised $1,000 to relieve student lunch debt at Alcester Hudson School District over the 2017 holiday season. The fund provides a lunch of a sandwich and milk to students with a deficit until their lunch accounts become current. Team members who contributed to the fund received a chance to win one of five POET quilts donated by Shift Supervisor Dorothy Dodge. She made each quilt with denim uniform pockets,
Hudson team hopes to continue
POET – Ashton Participates in Team Building Activity
its contributions to the school
In March POET – Ashton Shift Supervisor
lunch debt-relief program,
Jacob Kollasch led some newer POET
offering each student the ability
- Ashton team members through a
to have hot lunch on a daily basis.
“Strengths Finder 2.0” training. The
donated jean material, old T-shirt materials and photos. The POET -
training included a discussion worksheet, videos and a creative paper tower activity. They discovered the importance of seeing the strengths of others to work as a team.
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
POET, LLC Participates in Funski 2018 POET, LLC sponsored three teams that participated in the 2018 Media One Funski event. The fundraiser features a variety of winter events including skiing, fat tire biking, snowboarding, snow sculpture, cross country skiing and more. POET teams did well in both the individual time trial and headto-head competitions. The event raised about $35,000, which will go to supporting Childrenâ€™s Inn, a domestic abuse shelter for women and children in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Inspiring the Next Generation of Heroes POETâ€™s vision and mission to change the world is inspiring individuals of all ages, including Tate Mammenga, a fifth grader at Webster Area Elementary School near POET - Groton and Big Stone. Mammenga created this comic strip featuring an environmentally friendly hero for the course. We are extremely proud to play a role in inspiring the next generation of heroes.
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
RENEW Growth Energy Executive Leadership Conference 2018 More than 300 biofuels leaders and allies learned about the market and political landscape for biofuels in February 2018 during Growth Energy’s ninth-annual Executive Leadership Conference (ELC). POET Chairman and CEO Jeff Broin spoke several times, including presenting a speech on “Does Ag Need Biofuels?” and leading a panel discussion on the pending ag crisis. The panel compared today’s farm economy to the ag crisis of the 1980s, noting the role the biofuels industry played in pulling America’s farmers through those hard times. Broin was joined by several of the top agricultural leaders in the country including Zippy Duval (American Farm Bureau President), Roger Johnson (National Farmers Union President), Mark Poeschl (National FFA/National FFA Foundation President) and Chip Bowling (National Corn Growers Association President). Growth Energy also presented 2018 TOBI Award winners. Rob Walther, Vice President of Federal Advocacy, POET, received the TOBI Award for Advocacy. These awards serve as markers to the rest of the biofuels industry that these individuals have gone above and beyond in their service.
POET Chairman and CEO Jeff Broin (top), POET Vice President of Corporate Affairs Doug Berven (middle) and Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor all spoke at the 2018 Growth Energy Executive Leadership Conference.
POET Chairman and CEO Jeff Broin (far right) leads a panel discussion with agriculture industry leaders about the pending ag crisis.
Growing a future Get involved. seedsofchange.org
PEOPLE OF POET
Matt Reiners Operates at High-Energy Pace to Keep Up with Family, Work by BryAnn Becker Knecht | photos by Greg Latza
Matt and Alicia Reiners and their children Wyatt, Chase, Isabelle, Austin and Harper at Wingâ€™s Gymnastics Academy in Sioux Falls.
The day of a snowstorm this past
built a 12,000-square-foot facility and
Despite the chaos and long days that
winter, Matt Reiners found himself
are planning an expansion to house
usually end with dinner as a family
at home after 5 p.m. on a weeknight
the growing program.
around 9 p.m. and then lights out for
with nowhere to go.
“We knew it was going to be a big
everyone at 10:30 p.m., Matt wouldn’t
Weeknight activities for the Reiners’
change, and I was going to have to be
have his “typical” days be any other
five kids had come to a halt.
Mr. Mom. She basically goes to work
Hockey practice for their two oldest
at the gym when I leave work every
“The moral of the story is that our
sons was called off.
lives have been busy for 15 years.
There was no dance or choir practice. His wife Alicia’s gym in Sioux Falls, S.D., Wings Gymnastics Academy, wasn’t running programs because there wasn’t any school. “It was the most boring four hours of my entire life. I can’t imagine what other people do at night,” he says. Matt Reiners is typically going a mile-a-minute. Friends and colleagues describe him as high-energy and action-oriented — that guy who never slows down. As a Vice President of Business Development
POET’s animal feed division, his workday typically runs from 7 a.m. to
I realized how much it destresses me. Honestly, probably my only quiet time I get is my time in the tractor. It’s my one point of decompression. I love doing it — it’s hard to explain. It’s my little zen.
about 5 p.m. After
That is our normal. I think it’s fun. It’s a heck of a lot of fun,” he says. Perhaps the only place you’ll find Matt slowing down to pause is when he’s farming. Matt, who grew up on a family farm near Twin Brooks, S.D., didn’t realize how much he missed farming until he took it up again as an adult. “I realized how much it destresses me. Honestly, probably my only quiet time I get is my time in the tractor. It’s my one point of decompression. I love doing it — it’s hard to explain. It’s my little zen.” He and his dad purchased in 2012 what he calls a “hobby farm” outside of Harrisburg, S.D. Along with family friend Steve Messner, they farm corn
and soybeans. The hobby farm has
shuttling the Reiners’ five kids to
since grown from 50 to 500 acres. It’s
become a great opportunity for Matt
hockey practice and everything in
to spend time with his dad, and to
between. Alicia stays at home with
day,” Matt says.
have his own kids experience some
their younger children during the
“When I first opened the gym, I had
time on the farm.
day and works on her business before
been a stay-at-home mom for seven
“We started it so my kids could get
passing the baton to Matt for child
years,” Alicia says. “I said to him, ‘I
out of the city. My middle son, Wyatt,
care in the evenings.
want you to understand how this
is officially a farmer. He took his first
It’s a shift in home responsibilities
is going to affect your life.’ He said,
crop to the elevator last year and
that Matt signed up for when he and
‘Yeah, no problem.’ But I said, ‘I don’t
rented his first piece of land and fell in
Alicia decided to follow her dream to
think you know what you’re signing
love with it. It’s becoming something
open a gymnastics academy. When
up for.’ When it was time for him to
that all three of the older kids are
they started the business five years
take over [some of those household
ago in a strip mall, about 30 to 40 kids
responsibilities] he just did it. Having
Reiners describes his farming habit
enrolled, and 200 kids had enrolled
to learn how to juggle it together was
as his “golf game.” “I say to people,
by the end of the first year. They later
you invest in golf clubs and a golf cart,
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
The Reiners family at their family-owned business, Wing’s Gymnastic Academy, in Sioux Falls.
and I invest in a combine and a corn
Melmer has worked with Matt and
sons’ practice. He’s always looking to
planter. It’s a different hobby.”
other POET team members as part of
cultivate relationships with people
Matt, whose childhood home in
Growth Coach, a leadership coaching
and know them beyond just a face.”
Twin Brooks is about 20 miles from
program. “I told him, after I was done
the POET – Big Stone bioprocessing
coaching him, I felt like I needed a
college. Since then, they have stayed
facility, was already familiar with the
in touch through all the big life events.
company when he was hired by POET
Melmer attributes Matt’s success,
Yerdon also says that another one
in 2010. His father-in-law, Larry Ward,
both at home and work, to his ability
of Matt’s standout qualities is that he
and older brother, Dustin Reiners, had
to manage his time. “He’s masterful
is tenacious about driving for results.
both spent many years working for
at managing his margins, those small
Matt’s ag background comes through
POET in various positions.
bits of time that other people might
in that persistence, he says.
“I found this regulatory affairs
spend chilling out or doing something
“He’s a farmer at heart. When
job for POET Nutrition and the rest
that might be relaxing. He’s moving
he looks at an opportunity, he first
is history,” Matt says. While Matt
on to the next program or task.”
considers, how can we make this
started working in regulatory affairs,
work? And then he peels back the
he ended up moving to a sales role
Development Manager, POET, says
layers from there. If there’s value,
and then most recently moved into
Matt excels at developing relationships
he’s going to be out there trying to
a business development role when
with people in all aspects of his life.
capture it. Farmers are always looking
the company saw his talents in
“He has an inherent ability to talk
for that value-add. I still see that in
with people and build relationships,
Matt’s work today. When Matt sees
Matt’s high-energy personality is
whether it’s trying to do a deal for
opportunity, he goes for it. He’s not
evident in the workplace, too. Rick
POET or at the hockey rink for his
afraid to ask questions and get his
hands dirty.” Farming
opportunity to find a common link with
helps him with his day job and to understand “what keeps producers up at night.” “One of our goals is to be the most trusted partner for who we work for. It helps me to speak their language, establish credibility and understand their situation. It keeps me grounded in that world. It keeps me centered. It all starts with the farmer here at POET.” And so if Matt has taken up the responsibilities and role as “Mr. Mom” within recent years, he’s also taken up
He’s a farmer at heart. When he looks at an opportunity, he first considers, how can we make this work? And then he peels back the layers from there. If there’s value, he’s going to be out there trying to capture it. Farmers are always looking for that value-add. I still see that in Matt’s work today. When Matt sees opportunity, he goes for it. He’s not afraid to ask questions and get his hands dirty.
another mantle: farmer. “I realized that that’s a part of who I am. I’m a farm kid, and I still love to do it.”
Buck Yerdon, Commercial Development Manager, POET
MATT REINERS HOMETOWN Twin Brooks, S.D. EDUCATION B.A., Business Administration, Briar Cliff University, Sioux City, Iowa FAMILY Wife Alicia; children: Austin, 14; Wyatt, 12; Isabelle, 10; Harper, 2; and Chase, 23 months; plus two dogs, Cash and Lulu (chocolate lab, French bulldog)
Alicia and Matt Reiners watch daughter Harper practice at Wing’s Gymnastic Academy.
HOBBIES Farming, golf
THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
ACROSS 1. Female voice 5. Humane org. 9. Pig homes 14. Croquet site 15. Steeped drinks 16. Words of refusal 17. Looks over 18. “Exodus” author 19. Cores 20. Advantage of ethanol as fuel 23. Go off script 24. Site of annual Nobel Peace
25. Parrot 28. Dark, in verse 30. Smoothed 32. Jeanne d’Arc, e.g.: abbr. 35. Tear 38. “Fur ___” (Beethoven dedication) 39. Two of POET’s bioprocessing
43. See ya!
44. Binge 45. Beast of burden
1. One of the Baldwins
32. ___ on you!
46. Sacred songs
2. 1972 Derek and the
33. Elizabeth I was the last one
48. New Haven college
51. Hosp. units
3. Like some jackets
36. Compass direction
52. Swedish auto
37. Invasion time in WW II
55. Parish priest
40. “Told ya!”
58. A typical POET bioprocessing
6. Andean land
41. One not included as
plant will produce this number
7. Egypt’s capital
of gallons of biofuel in a year
42. High seriousness
61. Kind of review
9. Give away, in a way
47. Part of a jazz combo
64. “Don’t bet ___!”
10. Bud holder
49. “___ Abner” (Capp comic strip)
65. Minor go-with
11. Apple’s mobile/tablet
50. French pastry
66. “___ Jacques” (children’s song)
53. Make up for mistakes
67. “___ chance”
12. Suffix with differ
13. Cadillac model
69. Object location system
21. Parker part
57. Makes muddy
70. Rams’ mates
22. Martinique, par exemple
71. Part of R&R
25. Santa ___ (California track)
59. A touch
26. Coins across the border
60. Big name in magazine
27. Perfect places
29. Like some drinks
61. Producer, abbr.
31. “All over the world”
62. Plan for the future, maybe
63. Checked, as a box
devices run on it
singers, for short
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Seeds of Change
OUT OF LEFT FIELD
Eventually We Will Make a Joyful Noise by Scott Johnson, Data Systems Administrator, POET Psalm 98:6
Of course, I’m slightly exaggerating to prove a point. My
“With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise
before the King, the Lord!”
into a redemption story. We all start at zero. Even the world-
I suspect the author of this Bible verse did not have a fifth
renown musician Hans VerSchniedenhoffer was once a terrible
grader starting school band.
clarinetist. At age 11, he completely botched a simple solo at his
“Noise”? Definitely. “Joyful”? Let’s talk about that.
first Berlin Junior Symphony concert. He was so mortified and
Fifth grade is the first year kids have an opportunity to
shaken from his blunder that he accidentally knocked over his
participate in school band in our town. The first band concert
and two other neighboring
represents a culmination of their three-month musical careers. My daughter is one of several flute players in her grade. They prefer to be called “flautists” — the official musical term for flutists, fluters. Whatever. Seems a little pretentious considering three months and a day ago, most of these virtuosos couldn’t tell the difference between a saxophone and telephone. This fleet of flautists and fellow phenoms were attempting to appease my sophisticated musical palate for the next half hour. Failure was forthcoming. During that excruciatingly long half hour, I was afraid to look around the crowd, assuming I’d see the same horrified, uncomfortable looks on the faces of fellow parents (or worse, find out I was the only one with that look). The cynic in me said, “Yikes! these kids sound horrible.” The optimist in me said, “Yikes! These kids sound horrible. We should get ice cream after the concert!” It sounded like a flock of nauseated geese going through puberty. Then someone handed those geese clarinets to play. If a Gilbert Godfrey Christmas album and fingernails on a
A fifth grade band concert is the food equivalent of a bologna sandwich made from a loaf of slightly expired bread from a convenience store.
chalkboard had a baby, that baby would be a fifth grade band
music stands. Twice. He barely made it through the remainder of the concert, alternating
untimely clarinet squeaks, practically ruining the whole event for his fellow young bandmates. The experience was
Hans from ever touching a
again. Yet through support, encouragement and grace, he was persuaded not to give up.
and most importantly his parents tolerate
concert. That baby would also play the clarinet. A fifth grade
expression; they blessed it. Years later, Hans went on to be the
band concert is the food equivalent of a bologna sandwich made
most decorated clarinetist of his era, winning the coveted “Clari”
from a loaf of slightly expired bread from a convenience store.
award seven times and the unthinkable “UberClari” twice.
It’s distinguishable as food, but for Heaven’s sake, don’t give it a
The story of Hans VerSchniedenhoffer reminds us: We are all
clarinet to play! This was objectively the worst band concert I’d
fifth grade band students. Every time we start a new job. (Honk!)
Whenever we enter a new relationship (Squeak!) Any time we
The rockin’ recital helped reinforce a truth I had known for
wade into unfamiliar waters. (Squawk!) Initial imperfections
years: Kids are terrible at stuff. They can barely play musical
can discourage us, but they cannot be allowed to define our
instruments. Their artwork is all “abstract.” They can’t dunk a
future. Some people might disparage us. People might criticize
basketball, catch a fly ball, or reach the green on a par 5 in two
us. Some may even roast us and chide our abilities in a poorly
shots. They can’t grill a steak to a perfect medium rare. They
written back-page column of a quarterly biofuels magazine.
can’t drive a car. They don’t understand U.S. tax code. They can’t
Don’t give up. Keep playing. Eventually we will make a joyful
recite any lines from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” They should
noise. Footnote: Yes, I totally made up Hans VerSchniedenhoffer.
just quit trying and leave these advance tasks to the experts: us
Story still applies.
4615 N. Lewis Ave. Sioux Falls, SD 57104
is an endless resource
At POET, we understand that when it comes to energy solutions, the earth provides everything we need, no drilling required. Right here in South Dakota, we use renewable resources to create biofuels, nutrient-rich proteins and oil alternatives. Even after three decades, brand new innovations keep sprouting.