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THE FUTURE IS PAVED WITH JIVE POET Is Improving Asphalt With a High-quality, Bio-friendly Replacement for Petrochemicals

RURAL OPTIMISM IN CHALLENGING TIMES Young Farmers Committed to Agriculture, Rural Lifestyle Even in Difficult Ag Environment


opportunity is everywhere if you know where to look


At POET, the workday ends, but the work never does. We’re using renewable resources and our endless passion to create biofuels, nutrient-rich protein and oil alternatives.


FEATURES 10 A New Era Launches With PBR — POET Biorefining, LLC

26 The Future Is Paved With JIVE POET Is Improving Asphalt With a High-quality, Bio-friendly Replacement for Petrochemicals

36 Rural Optimism in Challenging Times Young Farmers Committed to Agriculture, Rural Lifestyle Even in Difficult Ag Environment

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In Sight

By Jeff Broin


Mechanic’s Corner

Automotive Advice from the Under the Hood radio show


Farm Fresh

by Brian Hefty


Nascar® Update

by Ryan Welsh


Out Of Left Field

by Scott Johnson

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People Of POET

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

Vital is published quarterly by POET, LLC and other individuals or entities. All materials within are subject to copyrights owned by POET. POET, JIVE, Dakota Gold, BPX, ProPellet and other associated designs and logos are registrations or trademarks of POET, LLC. Growth Energy is a registration or trademark of Growth Energy, a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the District of Columbia. 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. ©2019 POET, LLC. All rights reserved. Publication Design & Layout: Cassie Medema

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Biofuels: The only real solution to climate change by Jeff Broin, Executive Chairman and CEO of POET

Climate change: two words we often hear circulated in the media and in heated political debates (no pun intended). We’re

The only emission from burning ethanol is carbon dioxide,

no strangers to the frantic speculations attached to the topic.

and 100 percent of that CO2 is utilized by the corn that will be

Is the earth’s temperature rising? Is it destroying our oceans

used to produce next year’s ethanol. Plus, unlike other so-called

and marine life? Is it impacting agricultural production? Will it

solutions to climate change that are even more expensive than

change the lives of future generations?

fossil fuels, biofuels are actually less expensive than gasoline.

As of now, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding

So why isn’t this option being more widely discussed? Why

“yes.” Several recent studies assert that climate change may

isn’t everyone using more biofuels?

be even more detrimental than anyone predicted. Temperatures



patterns are changing more rapidly than anyone could have anticipated and, unless we take action, the results could be catastrophic. While this is a universal problem that affects literally everyone on the planet, rural America could take one of the hardest hits. According to our government’s own National Climate Assessment, “Projected changes in precipitation, coupled with rising extreme temperatures before mid-century, will reduce Midwest agricultural productivity to levels of the 1980s without major technological advances.” Nearly all climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, a significant percentage






transportation. We can’t power our vehicles without some source of energy, so unless we all intend to go back to riding horses, this is an issue we need to address. But it seems that all the solutions that have been offered to turn this dire situation around involve

Many of us are all too familiar with

The truth is that biofuels can replace gasoline, and the protein, corn oil and micronutrients that are produced as co-products help to lower protein and food prices worldwide.

outrageous costs or impractical ideas.

exorbitant amounts of money creating myths and using every possible outlet to discredit the only sustainable solution to fossil fuels that exists in order to protect their markets. But someone needs to tell this story, and who better than us — ethanol producers and supporters, ag companies, farmers and farm organizations — to come together and spread the truth about what we can do to solve one of the world’s most dire challenges? The truth is that biofuels can replace gasoline, and the protein, corn oil and micronutrients that are produced as coproducts help to lower protein and food prices worldwide. And new research is developing additional exciting products that can replace other derivatives of petroleum. The truth is that biofuels are the only short-term solution to global climate change that exists. We need to own this fact, we need to sell it, and we need to make sure everyone knows it. Year-round E15 will be a fundamental step, but it is only the beginning.

There’s really only one solution to reduce the impact of

As we move into this new year, let’s all make a pledge to bring

emissions from the transportation sector: biofuels like ethanol.

the truth to light and change the narrative around biofuels like

Traditional starch feed stocks are 43 percent cleaner than

ethanol — agriculture’s prized product that can reverse global

gasoline; when coupled with new innovations in feedstocks

climate change.

and production technologies, that number can be as high as 100 percent.


the reasons. The oil industry has spent


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POET State Affairs Update Policies at the state level can have a major impact on the production and consumer adoption of biofuels. Decisions made by governors, state agencies and legislators can incentivize investment, support rural jobs, improve air quality, protect the environment and public health, and save consumers and taxpayers millions. POET continues to work with state policymakers across the country to help achieve their goals by ensuring greater access and promoting expanded use of homegrown biofuels. The following are a few focus areas:

Fueling State Vehicles Most Midwest states currently have policies for fueling government flex fuel vehicles, but unfortunately those programs are often underutilized and not properly enforced. Fueling state vehicles with E15 and E30 is a great way for government agencies to support family farmers and biofuel jobs, and help state agencies save taxpayers hard-earned money on the cost of transportation fuel.

Infrastructure for Higher Biofuel Blends Providing economic incentives for fuel retailers to offset the cost of installing blender pumps is another important way that states can improve consumer access to higher ethanol blends. Supporting the installation of blender pumps is an investment in the future as more consumers start to realize the savings and recognize the many benefits of higher ethanol blends.

Low Carbon Fuel Standards Lawmakers in numerous states are considering enacting Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS) as a way to battle climate

Ensuring Access to E15 in California and New York

change and improve air quality. California and Oregon led the nation in developing and implementing the LCFS,

Even though it is an EPA-approved fuel, two of the largest

and neighboring Washington may be the next state to pass

fuel markets in the United States currently do not allow

legislation curbing the carbon intensity of transportation

drivers the freedom to fill up with E15. POET is working

fuel. A coalition of biofuel producers, environmental

to educate policymakers in California and New York on

advocacy groups, agriculture associations and policy

the many benefits of bringing E15 to their states, including

experts is working to develop a model LCFS program for

saving drivers money at the pump and replacing toxic

the Midwest, and a dozen Northeast and Mid-Atlantic

emissions that contribute to poor air quality and respiratory

states are formally collaborating on new transportation


fuel standards through the Transportation and Climate Recent analysis shows that transitioning from E10 to E15


in New York would cut carbon emissions by 748,000 metric POET continues to partner with policymakers from coast

tons per year – the equivalent of taking approximately

to coast to ensure that the many environmental benefits

129,000 vehicles off the road.

of biofuels are appropriately recognized and accurately measured in each state’s LCFS program.









According to the state’s

POET operates six ethanol plants in

POET has four ethanol plants in

Department of Motor Vehicles,

South Dakota. According to a 2015

Minnesota; POET’s ethanol activities in

California boasted more

economic impact study, POET’s

2014 in the state accounted for more

than 25 million registered

ethanol activities in 2014 accounted

than $318 million of Minnesota’s GDP

vehicles on the road in

for $636 million of South Dakota

and generated $26.2 million in state

2017. Unfortunately, tailpipe

GDP and generated $384 million in

and local tax revenue, according to a

emissions from those vehicles

household income and $38.4 million

2015 economic impact study.

is contributing to some of the

in state and local tax revenue.

worst air quality in the country.




Iowa is the leading state in ethanol

POET is constructing a new biofuel

POET opened an 80-million gallon

production, according to Iowa

facility in Shelbyville, Ind. POET

expansion at its Marion facility.

State University’s Agricultural

Biorefining – Shelbyville will be the

With this expansion in place, POET

Marketing Resource Center.

28th starch biofuel plant in POET’s

Biorefining — Marion has an expected

Iowa’s ethanol production during

network, and the fifth in Indiana. It

annual capacity of 150 million gallons

2016 and 2017 was estimated (on

is expected to add 45 full-time jobs

of clean-burning biofuel and 360,000

average) at record volumes of

and $110 million in annual corn

tons of high-protein animal feed per

4.1 billion gallons and 4.2 billion

purchases for farmers in the area,

year. New production from this facility

gallons, respectively.

primarily within a 30-mile radius.

is expected to add 26 million bushels of annual corn demand for area farmers.




‘This Is an Effective, Easy Way to Have a Voice in Washington’

Active engagement in the political process is important to protect the future of biofuels and rural America. POET established its own nonconnected political action committee (PAC) in 2008 to engage elected leaders and show how biofuels will lead to a cleaner and brighter future. Read why a few of our members feel that

POET PAC Members Share Why They Give

their investment makes a difference.

Gary Van Hoosier, Truck Driver, POET Ethanol Products | Independence, Mo. Giving to the PAC means that you have some skin in the

Why do you give to POET PAC? ANSWER: I believe in the products, the people and the industry I work for. In a heavily regulated environment, it

game and that your voice will be heard in Washington, D.C.

makes that possible. I can’t be in two places at once, so we

Q: What would you say to encourage someone else to give to POET PAC?

need to rely on our team in Washington to advocate for our

A: It’s a way to contribute to something that unifies the

best interest.

voices of many and fights for what we believe in. You have

is important to have advocates in Washington, and the PAC

to look at the big picture. There are things happening in

Q: What do you wish other people knew about POET PAC? A: It is a necessity for our company and for the future.

each of our lives and locally, but there are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes in Washington. POET PAC is our advocacy tool and it works!

Mike Lovejoy, Fifth Generation Farmer, Lovejoy Farms | Wakonda, S.D. What motivated you to give your first gift to POET PAC? A: In 2018, I attended a What’s Fueling Ag event hosted by POET. This meeting covered a lot of information concerning the ethanol industry and the resistance we face from the oil companies who are concerned about losing market share. The thing that motivated me to give to POET PAC was understanding how PAC dollars are used and that PAC dollars helped us have eight White House meetings in 2018.

that help elected officials understand the challenges we face in agricultural states. The success of the biofuels industry will help raise the price of corn and will positively impact rural America. POET PAC gives small producers like me a chance to influence policy that ultimately drives supply and demand.

Q: What would you say to encourage someone else to give to POET PAC?

It was clear that PAC dollars work!

A: This is an effective and easy way to have a voice in

Q: Why do you give to POET PAC?

know we need a strong political presence. The squeaky

Washington. After 38 years running the family farm, I

A: As a farmer, I know that I cannot make a big impact in

wheel always gets the grease!

Washington on my own. I need to invest in opportunities 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.




Tammy Rupe, Credit Manager, POET Ethanol Products | Wichita, Kan. come from a long line of grain farmers in South Dakota and

What motivated you to give your first gift to POET PAC?

Kansas. I have seen success and failure and people working

A: The PAC allows me to support both the agriculture and biofuels industries, both of which are bombarded by falsehoods. My contribution, combined with others, provides an avenue for POET External Affairs to dispel the falsehoods about biofuels to the nation’s leaders.

all hours of the day and night to provide for their family and others. Giving to the POET PAC is a way for me to further the farmers cause as well as support the industry I work in.

Q: What do you wish other people knew about POET PAC? A: POET PAC is bipartisan and issue-focused. I’m one person

Q: Why do you give to POET PAC? A: I give because I believe in the issues POET is passionate about, such as reducing our nation’s dependence of foreign oil, expanding the market for clean and green renewable fuels, and improving the economic environment for

and by myself am not able to make as big of an impact as I want. POET PAC affords me the opportunity to make my voice heard about the matters that I care about to the people who make the decisions and laws of our land.

agriculture and rural America. Although all the issues are important to me, agriculture and rural America pulls on my heartstrings the most because it impacts my family. I

Seth Artz, Director of Investor Relations, POET | Sioux Falls, S.D. What motivated you to give your first gift to POET PAC? A: I was once at a table with a Congresswoman from Illinois and witnessed firsthand the dialogue and questions between her and those at the table. I learned she used the information from that discussion in a committee meeting a few weeks later to defiantly push back on misinformation being peddled by our opposition. From that moment forward, I was sold and understood how critical POET PAC is in creating those conversations and sparking those

A: POET PAC is less about funding politics and more about piercing through those political complexities for a worthwhile and noble purpose. POET PAC funds are used effectively to positively influence policy that impacts this industry and our country.

Q: What would you say to encourage someone else to give to POET PAC? A: Ask questions and let POET policy team members tell you their stories. Every year they interact with hundreds of

moments of truth.

governmental officials to tell the truth about biofuels. They

Q: What do you wish other people knew about POET PAC?

building advocacy. These chances don’t come easy, but PAC

are good at establishing relationships, gaining support and dollars give them the chances they need to influence flawed understanding and fortify support.

How do I join?

(605) 965-2377







POET Chief Operating Officer Jeff Lautt speaks to investors at a meeting in fall 2018.

Unifying Under One Entity to Become the World’s Largest Biofuel Producer by Miranda Broin | photos by Brian Koch





ov. 30, 2018 marked a

question. Eventually, we realized that

pivotal day in the next

it was going to have to change to allow

chapter of the POET story

for future growth.”

when the consolidation

That realization came in late 2012,









officially completed. Operating with

emerging, battered and bruised, from

the strength of those 26 facilities,

a period of exceptional challenge.

POET Biorefining, which has come to

Recession, drought and financial crisis

be known as PBR, is now the largest

had decimated several companies;

producer of biofuels in the world.

many ethanol plants went bankrupt

The bulk of this massive transition

and were sold to outside entities.

took place in numerous mergers

“Before we had just competed with

over a period of three years, but it

other small companies and farmer-

took over a decade of patience and

owned plants,” said Lautt. “Suddenly

planning to lay the groundwork that

we found ourselves competing with

made it possible.

large public companies — even oil companies — and we knew we needed

“We can go public, or we can be patient.” POET’s substantial growth over the past 30-plus years has required extraordinary vision, common sense, and,




adaptability. The company has been faced with countless big decisions, all of which have been met with intention and precision to anticipate the needs of an ever-changing industry. Until now, one of the most prevalent examples was the bold decision to unite all of the company’s divisions under a new name in 2007. The initial discussions that would eventually lead to PBR date back to roughly that same time. “We began looking at the model and saying, ‘Is this still the right model to continue to build the business?’” recalled Jeff Lautt, POET President and Chief Operating Officer. “And at the time, it was. But we would sit down year after year and ask the same


to reposition ourselves.” It was in that same year that POET







taking the company public. Prominent bankers, consultants and lawyers were brought on board to assess what the process would entail, and with all that horsepower on board, things were barreling rapidly in the direction of going public. The team went through all the necessary motions of working with Wall Street banks, meeting with plant boards, and appraising each plant and division of POET with the intention of rolling everything together. D-Day was looming closer, but something just wasn’t sitting right with the POET team. “My gut was telling me that we were about to make the wrong choice for the company,” remembered




Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “So I went to the executive team and said, ‘We have two options: We can go public, or we can be patient. It will


We began looking at the model and saying, ‘Is this still the right model to continue to build the business?’ And at the time, it was. But we would sit down year after year and ask the same question. Eventually, we realized that it was going to have to change to allow for future growth. Jeff Lautt, POET President and Chief Operating Officer

POET executive team begins process of taking company public, but pulls the plug before the public offering is completed

2012 POET Grain is formed in order to improve the company’s grain position, bioprocessing plants and financial structure June


Still seeking to position POET to best handle future volatility, discussions begin about attaining the benefits of a public company without becoming one

2013 In response to the success of POET Grain, the model for POET Biorefining is created


PBR I is completed and seven plants become part of POET Biorefining

Nine additional plants join PBR in phase two




2017 Three more plants are acquired by PBR June


When the remaining seven plants join PBR, consolidation is officially complete. POET Biorefining is one company operating with the strength of 26 bioprocessing plants December




I think that following our intuition is a discipline POET has practiced really well, and it was very meaningful in this case because going public at that time would have been exactly the wrong thing. Jeff Lautt, POET President and Chief Operating Officer


require us to grow more slowly, but it

was the establishment of POET Grain

will allow us to do it our way. This just

in 2014, which united every plant’s

isn’t feeling right, so I think we should

individual grain business under one

pull the plug.’”

large grain division. “That strategy

The team was in agreement, so they

has been fantastic,” said Broin. “We’ve

hit the brakes. In hindsight, there’s no

improved our grain position, we’ve

question that was the right decision.

got the right financial structure, and

A downturn in financial markets had

all the plants are now investors in that

made the public offering difficult to

single company. POET Grain was the

complete. In addition, some of POET’s

first step we needed to take in order to

competitively sensitive information

make the leap to PBR.”

would have been made public, which

The success of that endeavor fueled

would have been detrimental to the

further conversations about an even

long-term success and profitability of

bigger merger, which would involve

the business.

the aggregation of multiple plants



into one entity. Strategic discussions

companies is they get on the one



continued, and in 2015 the team

yard line, and there’s so much inertia

arrived at the model that is known

that they go forward even when it

today as POET Biorefining. But, as

becomes obvious it’s a bad decision,”

Broin had predicted, the process

said Lautt. “I think that following

would require patience.

our intuition is a discipline POET has

“We knew it would be next to

practiced really well, and it was very

impossible to get 26 boards and plant

meaningful in this case because going

entities all rolled together at once,”

public at that time would have been

said Lautt. “It would be like trying to

exactly the wrong thing.”

swallow a watermelon. So we decided

PBR is born

to do something we knew we could execute.” They started in the Eastern Corn

As the dust settled and 2013 rolled

Belt, since all seven plants in that

around, a new idea took hold: How

region were built around the same

could POET attain many of the

time, with similar boards and investor

advantages held by public companies

bases. Meetings were held with each

without actually becoming one? The

plant to initiate PBR I, the first stage

drought of the previous year had

of the consolidation. While it took

proven that the company needed

some time to work out the details,

to establish new financing options

negotiate the valuations and convince

to handle volatility in the future.

each board of directors that PBR was

Executives and plant boards sought

the right vehicle for future growth, by

to achieve consistent stock values,

early 2016 all seven boards had voted

liquidity options for existing investors,

unanimously to take the merger to a

and the expandability and flexibility

membership vote. Shareholder votes

of one large financial structure.

were held at each plant that spring,

The first phase in that transition

and in the end the approval rate to


Minnesota Michigan South Dakota


PBR I (2016) PBR II (2017) Three-Plant Merger PBR III (2018)






Seth Artz, Director of Investor Relations, POET, answers investors’ questions after a meeting.


move ahead with the merger was

rate of more than 96 percent in favor.

plants were approached with the

more than 97 percent.

POET Biorefining had 16 plants

opportunity to join POET Biorefining,

The following year POET embarked

among its ranks. Only ten remained.

and after numerous meetings with

on PBR II, the accumulation of nine

Then, in mid-2018, PBR purchased


additional plants located largely in the

three additional POET plants in a

boards voted to take the mergers to

Western Corn Belt. Once again, POET

transaction that once again generated

their shareholders for a decision.

executives worked with the boards of

a high investor approval rate of 98

Once more, every single shareholder

directors to explain the proposition

percent, bringing the total to 19.

group voted in favor, with a 94

and negotiate the values for each

The final acquisition, PBR III, had a

percent collective approval rate. The

facility. After the boards approved the

wide array of complexities and would

consolidation was finally completed

merger another membership vote was

prove to be the most challenging phase

at the end of November 2018.

held, yielding a shareholder approval

of the three. The seven remaining






I am truly motivated by this new opportunity to once again make the world a better place – for farmers, for consumers, and for future generations – through biofuels.

An ‘exciting new era’ begins True to their reputation as ethanol pioneers, the POET team had achieved yet another industry first with PBR: The consolidation of 26 individual plants into one unified entity had given POET the strongest capital position for a standalone dry mill biorefining company in our nation’s history. It also made them the world’s largest producer of biofuels. Through




had proven once again that there is strength in unity. “If you were previously an investor in a single plant, your opportunity to grow the value of that investment was limited based on the plant’s ability to grow,” said Lautt. “Now investors are able to grow along this large platform of a

Jeff Broin, POET Chairman and CEO

business, which provides a plethora of potential new opportunities.” Those





include value

transparency and diversification of investment risk. Shareholders can also participate in new ways to create income and receive enhanced share prices. “More




originally invested in POET plants over time, and their investment strategies have evolved over the past one to two decades,” said Seth Artz, Director of Investor Relations, POET. “PBR is doing

of the PBR share repurchases, both in part and in full.” Perhaps most notably, PBR provides unprecedented



opportunities. “PBR’s partnerships with investors, producers, and communities continue just as they did before the mergers,” said Wyatt Haines, Treasurer, POET. “One material difference is PBR’s improved ability to grow its gallons and co-products per plant. Plant expansions allow those facilities to reach




efficiency by offsetting fixed costs, while bringing more dollars to those communities and increasing demand for local corn producers.” In





already enabled an 80 million gallon expansion at POET Biorefining – Marion — the largest in POET history — and the construction of a new plant in Shelbyville, Ind. And that’s only the beginning. “PBR has launched a very exciting new era for the company in terms of potential growth and expansion, as well as mergers and acquisitions,” said





essentially all of my adult life to the ethanol industry and its impact on the American farmer, and I am truly motivated by this new opportunity to continue making the world a better place — for farmers, for consumers, and for future generations — through biofuels.”

a great job supporting those needs in various ways, and liquidity options are a key feature. Those options have had a major impact with nearly half of the investor base taking advantage




It All Starts With the Fuel Automotive advice from The Under The Hood radio show

Don’t fear the fuel. We try to avoid politics on Under The

lead to premature failure of them.

Hood at all costs. But we do take sides with the car when

On the vehicles we’ve had in our shop that belong to our

we can offer some advice that will extend the life of that

customers that are using higher blends of ethanol, we just

vehicle or help it to run better.

don’t see nearly the amount of carbon on the fuel injectors

Cars are much like humans or computers: garbage in,

as we do without the ethanol.

garbage out. So, as you can imagine, if you put garbage in

Let me give you a quick example: Replacing a set of

the gas tank, you’re going to get garbage out of the vehicle

direct injectors on a vehicle can be more than $1,000. It’s

in the way of performance and longevity.

not something you ever want to have to do. The vehicle

But what if you don’t know what to feed your vehicle?

manufacturers are asking to run the best fuel possible in

There are so many choices in fuel today, so how do you

these engines in the form of top tier fuel, but we believe

choose? If all you have to go on is what you hear from

there is something even better. If something as simple as

the voices of the news or from people who just want to

lifting up the handle that is labeled E15 can prevent that

offer their personal opinion without some sort of factual

from happening, why wouldn’t you want to try it?

grounds, it’s a difficult choice without some guidance.

Our customers ask us regularly what they should be

I can tell you as a manager and a tech in a professional

doing to care for their car. They want to know what will

service center for more than 30 years, I have never seen a

save them repair costs in the long run. When we tell them

fuel issue caused by ethanol use in a vehicle, unless it was

that they can start with the fuel in the tank as the first and

caused by misfuelling when someone puts an E85 blend in

most important item, they are surprised. It all starts with

a non-flex fuel car, and even then, it was simply a matter of

the fuel. Without it the car won’t run, and with a poor

changing out the fuel in the tank, and they were on their

quality, it won’t run as long.


Our national radio show Under The Hood has been on the

For years we’ve been taking apart engines in our shop and

air since 1990, and we’ve seen huge changes in cars over

making repairs on them, and we have found consistently

that time. Cars get more expensive with every new model,


For years we’ve been taking apart engines in our shop and making repairs on them, and we have found consistently that vehicles using ethanolblended fuels are much cleaner inside that ones that are not.





and we need to do everything we can to get as much life out

blended fuels are much cleaner

of our cars for as little money as possible, and we believe

inside than ones that are not. As

the best place to start is with that first tank of fuel.

we have transitioned in the past few years to many vehicles now

The Under The Hood radio show is America’s Favorite

using direct injection in order to

Car-talk show heard on over 230 stations and podcast.

get higher horsepower and fuel

The Motor Medics — Russ, Chris and Shannon — are

mileage, we are coming into a

three great friends having fun and offering a wide range of

whole new set of complications


as far as the maintenance needed

without the aid of

with these vehicles.

in-studio computers

We have found that when

or reference guides.

people use a non-ethanol blended gasoline





vehicle, the byproducts in the fuel leave behind a heavy deposit in the injectors that will eventually



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Strategic Retail Partnerships Pave Way for Increase in E15 Supply at Terminals Across the U.S. by BryAnn Becker Knecht Since President Trump announced

awarding grants to help with their

purchase the product, it’s delivered to

in October 2018 that he would lift

initial investments in fuel dispensing

the gasoline station and it’s dispensed

restrictions on year-round E15 sales,

infrastructure to support E15.

as E15.

many gasoline retailers across the

This fall Casey’s announced it

Delivery of E15 via terminals hasn’t

industry have responded with gusto.

will expand its offering of E15 to

been widespread, and many retailers



potentially more than 500 of its

instead have typically blended their


locations over the next few years and

own E15 using a blender pump.


will soon be the nation’s largest E15

Blender pumps mix E85 with E10/87


retailer. Cumberland Farms will begin

octane regular fuel to make E15 at the

selling E15, also known as Unleaded

offering E15 at more than 120 of its

convenience store.

88, a federally approved biofuel with

stores over the next four years.

“In a lot of cases without terminal

15 percent ethanol and 85 percent

There’s also been growth in another

supply that’s been the approach we’ve

gasoline. Casey’s and Cumberland

key area that has potential to pave

brought to the market,” said Mike

Farms are the two latest retailers to

the way to even more robust growth

O’Brien, Vice President of Market

sign on with new Prime the Pump

of retailers offering the product:





Massachusetts-based Farms,














terminal availability. Terminals, or

the largest trade organization in the


fuel distribution facilities, are the

biofuels industry.


major method to deliver fuel into the

But recent retail station targeting

and assists those retail adopters

marketplace. For retailers that use

from Prime the Pump has put pressure

of higher-level biofuel blends by

terminal delivery to offer E15, they

on fuel terminals to start offering E15



on a much broader basis, O’Brien said.

Our strategic retail partnerships have been a game changer that’s ushered a significant increase in E15 supply at terminals across the country. These include groundbreaking partnerships with Kwik Trip, QuikTrip, Casey’s, RaceTrac and Cumberland Farms, which have pushed open the doors to terminal availability across most of the country.

supply in place, those in the industry expect even more accelerated growth of gasoline retailers offering E15. “In the last six to eight months, we’ve seen the terminal growth with E15 explode,” said O’Brien. Growth Energy works with gasoline retailers across the country who are interested in selling E15 and other higher blends through the Prime the Pump campaign. Having E15 available via terminals means that a retailer can use existing

Ray Defenbaugh, President, CEO and Chairman of Big River Resources


And by having increased terminal

equipment with minimal upgrades,



which typically means the retailer can more quickly add E15 to more sites, O’Brien noted. With terminal supply in place, O’Brien expects to see more examples of rapid E15 expansion like Kwik Trip has undergone. The Wisconsin-based retailer joined Prime the Pump in May 2017 and expanded from zero to 350 sites offering E15 in less than six months. Prime the Pump’s Chairman, Ray Defenbaugh, attributes the ramp up in E15 supply at terminals across the country to the partnerships with big name retailers like Kwik Trip and Casey’s. “Our strategic retail partnerships have been a game changer that’s ushered a significant increase in E15 the




terminals These


across include


with Kwik Trip, QuikTrip, Casey’s, RaceTrac and Cumberland Farms, which have pushed open the doors to terminal availability across most of the country,” said Defenbaugh, who is also the President, CEO and Chairman of Big River Resources. That targeted approach has tipped the scales for many terminals to offer E15, said Majda Olson, Director of Communications,



Kwik Trip joined Prime the Pump in May 2017 and expanded from zero to 350 sites offering E15 in less than six months.

“That’s what we’ve been trying to do all along: Work with the big players to move the market.”




Variable Rate Fertilizer: Improving Crops, Cutting Costs by Brian Hefty Below is a 60-acre field that was sampled in one-acre grids.

would go out in their fields, pull a few soil cores down to six

The numbers listed represent the amount of phosphorus in

inches deep, mix them all together, and then look at that one

parts per million in each grid. Note the variance from nine on

sample as representative of their field. For example, in this field

the low side to 91 on the high side.

the average phosphorus level is 42 parts per million. A farmer

As an agronomist, I will tell you that nine parts per million

would likely look at that and apply another 20 to 50 pounds of

(ppm) is ridiculously low when trying to raise great-yielding

phosphorus, depending on his yield goal. The nine ppm area

corn or soybeans, but 91 is far more than adequate. What

would then have insufficient fertility to raise high yield, while the

farmers are now able to do is create what we call “controller

91 part per million area would be left with excess phosphorus

files” based off maps like these, and then apply different rates of

that could potentially erode away, creating an environmental

fertilizer as they cross the field. If I was creating an application

issue, not to mention the wasted dollars that were invested.

map for this field, I would likely have no phosphorus applied in

My dream is that someday we will be able to sense soil fertility

the 91 ppm grid, with a significant amount being spread in the

levels not just in one-acre grids — which is 43,560 square feet

nine ppm area.

— but every few feet as we cross our fields. The more we know

What this allows farmers to do is better invest their fertilizer

about our land, the better we can use our fertilizer dollars wisely,

dollars. Instead of spreading the same rate across the entire

the more food we can produce for our growing world, and the

field, this type of precise application means all areas of the farm

more income we’ll have. Soil sampling in small grids or zones

can have a good chance of producing high yield. Plus, it is a great

and then fertilizing accordingly is an enormous step forward for

thing for the environment. Instead of having excess fertility

farmers, and it’s one of the reasons we are seeing new record

in certain areas, those spots are effectively “mined” down to

yields almost every year. The soil is our most valuable resource,

normal levels.

and thanks to modern technology and the innovation and hard

All this is made possible by conducting more soil testing than

work of the American farmer, we will continue to improve it.

ever before. The way soil testing used to be done was farmers




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. ®


Advanced Biofuels

R E C Y C L E D AS P H A L T P AV E M E N T ( R A P ) P R O C E S S

THE ROAD TO SUSTAINABILITY IS PAVED WITH JIVE As a product of POET, JIVEâ„¢ is produced with the smallest environmental footprint, and it contains none of the cancer-causing chemicals in petroleum. The sustainable approach to production helps everyone breathe easier knowing the roads we are driving on are meeting industry green standards, while helping all of us breathe easier, period.









*Bio-based alternative to toxic petrochemicals


NATED ASPHALT (Colors are for depiction purposes only and do not represent actual pavement or product colors.)

THE FUTURE IS PAVED WITH JIVE POET Is Improving Asphalt With a High-Quality, Bio-friendly Replacement for Petrochemicals

by Steve Lange 26


JIVE is used in a roadway project in Utah.



As the world’s largest biofuels

terms, an asphalt rejuvenator and

Matt Reiners, is part of a small team

producer, POET is largely known

modifier. It can be added to aged

at POET that has been working on



asphalt (as a rejuvenator) and to

market and product development for

environmentally friendly biofuel to

performance-grade asphalt to obtain

JIVE applications. “There’s less raw

power cars on the road. Now, through

different grades (as a modifier).

material cost. They can include more



As a modifier, JIVE softens the

RAP, but at the same time get the same

JIVE™ asphalt rejuvenator — POET


asphalt and improves its temperature

mix performance, because JIVE is






properties, making it less likely to

helping to rejuvenate and soften the

bio-based products in a completely


crack at low temperatures. “JIVE

material so it can be better used for

different market: the asphalt industry.


pavement design,” McCurdy said.

The renewable product — which


is a derivative of POET’s corn oil, a

softening effect that’s too dramatic,”

co-product of ethanol production —

says Matt Reiners, Vice President

allows asphalt producers to use more

of Business Development at POET

recycled asphalt, which makes their


product less expensive and is better


for the environment.

As a rejuvenator, JIVE reduces





temperature creating




JIVE gives asphalt more flexibility,

stiffness and makes recycled asphalt


less brittle, giving it a second life.









more to

By including POET’s JIVE product,


asphalt producers can increase the

— temperatures. It also replaces

level of Recycled Asphalt Pavement,


or RAP, in a mix.

asphalt and



petrochemicals that are hazardous to

A higher level of RAP equates to

the environment.

lower costs for asphalt producers,

JIVE has a dual purpose when it

noted Alex McCurdy, Ph.D., POET

comes to asphalt: It is both, in industry

Senior Research Scientist, who, with

If we could make it work, we knew we could provide this industry with a green, sustainable alternative that could replace those toxic petrochemicals. Sure, it was a new industry for us, but that mission is everything POET stands for. That was a really exciting realization.

The road to enter the asphalt industry






winding one. There was a belief that a byproduct of POET’s production process could have similar chemical characteristics of tall oil, an ingredient in asphalt. Samples were sent off to a test firm in Tulsa, Okla., and it was learned that this unique product actually outperformed the tall oil. “We thought that this could work,” says Reiners. “And we knew one thing for sure: If we could make it work, we knew we could provide this



enough to even know how to speak the language,” says Reiners, of the period after that initial conversation. “We





with people who knew the asphalt business. We would go to conferences and we would have 18- to 20-hour days and it was nothing but learning about asphalt.” “Taking a new product and going into a new market is one of the most challenging and risky things for any business,” says Greg Breukelman, President of POET Nutrition. “This team has worked together to do whatever it takes.” “We weren’t in the asphalt business, so it took a long time — sometimes two industry with a green, sustainable

also use our in-house shipping to get

alternative that could replace those

people the product faster,” says Ashley

toxic petrochemicals. Sure, it was a


new industry for us, but that mission

at POET Nutrition, who was working

is everything POET stands for. That

with McCurdy and Reiners on market

was a really exciting realization.”

and product development. “And we

Additional outside testing of JIVE

don’t rely on the price of crude oil,



which can go up and down. Our prices

to reveal positive results. POET’s

have remained consistent, and we can


lock people in for a longer term so

in-house BPX

research process


converts corn starch into sugar using



they know what they’ll be paying.”

enzymes instead of heat — has long made their ethanol and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) stand out in the industry because of the unique process by which it’s made. BPX also provides a benefit for the vegetable-based asphalt rejuvenator: They found that the BPX process helps make JIVE less expensive and safer than




also providing the necessary product consistency




demands. Because of its beneficial properties, manufacturers can add a higher percentage of recycled asphalt to the mixture. “Not only is our JIVE better than other current products, but we can

years — for people to even want to talk to us,” says Hummel, who has spent a week or two per month traveling to conferences over the past few years. “But we kept calling and showing up and sending them samples. We knew we had a great product; we had to make them realize we were serious.” The team sought out input on the performance of JIVE from a testing lab at the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) at Auburn University, a research and


technology center highly regarded

At the beginning of 2018, POET

McCurdy noted. The study from NCAT


across the asphalt industry. NCAT’s testing showed that JIVE improves mix performance in asphalt mixes containing




was a stamp of approval that helped

producers. In February of 2018, they

the team gain more credibility in the

made their first sale. But they got the


word out and let producers test their

Now they are seeing the product

new product. In March, sales doubled

take off, and it’s exciting to see how

and kept growing from there. “The

JIVE fits in with POET’s overall vision

team already knew we were headed


in the right direction, and that carried

renewable products, they say.

through to the rest of the year,”

“One of the cool things about POET

Reiners says.

is that we’re not scared as a company

It’s been a long road.

to step outside of our comfort zone and

“It took a year for us to test it

give stuff like this a try,” says Reiners.









If we can function as a society by getting the resources from the top of the earth instead of having to dig down to the bottom, then we’re all going to be better off for generations to come.

“It took a little while, internally, to gain enough momentum for people to really start to listen to this crazy idea, but we got a ton of support from our leadership team. Now we’re providing a green alternative that’s not carcinogenic, that’s not harmful

hazardous to workers on the job site

to the environment, and that’s less

and hazardous to the environment.”

expensive and works better than any

JIVE, he says, is just the start of

of the alternatives in the marketplace

what could be a new marketplace

today. Once we put the collective

for POET, a marketplace that will let

horsepower of POET behind a project,

POET expand that vision of replacing

we’re able to make things happen.”

petroleum-based products with plant-



grown, renewable bio-based products.

everything that makes POET a leader

“As long as agriculture’s been part

in bio-products. “We’re always looking

of our world, we still believe that

for new applications, especially those

there’s almost infinite opportunities

that fit the vision of POET,” says

for agricultural-based products,” says

McCurdy, whose co-workers on the

Breukelman. “And if we can function

project have dubbed him “Dr. JIVE.”

as a society by getting the resources

“We’re producing a renewable, non-

from the top of the earth instead of

toxic product and, like a lot of what

having to dig down to the bottom,

we do, it’s replacing materials like

then we’re all going to be better off for


generations to come.”






JIVE is used in a roadway project in Utah.



Sterling Ethanol’s Dave Kramer presents the American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award to Kevin Harvick.


POWERED BY ETHANOL Congratulations, Kevin Harvick, on winning the 2018 American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award.

NASCAR® is powered by American Ethanol. Sunoco Green E15™ has fueled more than 11 million miles of high-octane performace — performance that counts most during race restarts. Congratulations, Kevin Harvick, for your achievements in 2018.

Brought to you by:

NASCAR® is a registered trademark of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. NASCAR® runs on Sunoco Green E15, a race fuel blended with 15 percent ethanol, in their three national series.


Tomorrow Is Ours American Ethanol’s Partnership With Universal Technical Institute Prepares Employment Pipeline for Auto Technicians, Mechanics by Ryan Welsh John Dodson’s office is probably only 10 by 12 feet, but the auto racing memorabilia, including trophies and keepsakes, that line his walls could fill a museum. Dodson is the Vice President of Alliances







the (UTI)

and NASCAR Technical Institute. I was on the Mooresville, N.C., campus — which is called the NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) — with a group from Growth Energy, POET and ECR Engines, the premier engine builder in NASCAR and other series of automotive racing. We were there to tour the campus and learn more about American Ethanol’s new partnership. In 2018 American Ethanol forged a strategic partnership with the Universal Technical Institute (UTI), a network of


13 technical school campuses that train

His knowledge of the students and passion for education also

the future automotive technicians and mechanics of America.

revealed his thoughts on what matters the most: shaping the

The partnership is starting with the Mooresville campus. We


also picked North Carolina, as it is an E15 market. Like American

What I noticed was a lot of action in the classrooms and not a

Ethanol, the NASCAR Technical Institute is an Official NASCAR

lot of sitting. I spent most of my traditional learning parked in a

Partner, and that is how we came together. With the success of

desk staring at a book. You could see they were solving real-time

this program we plan to roll out the program to the other 12

problems as a future technician would do on a real engine.

campuses soon.

As we walked through the commons, John stopped and said,

“See those gloves over there? Those were Tim Richmond’s.

“I had a mother of one of the students come to me and say, ‘I

That’s my daddy’s trophy from Bowman Gray, and that’s me in

don’t get it. My son is not a strong student. He struggled through

the white sleeves as a rear tire changer for Rusty Wallace during

high school and college didn’t take, but he came here and he’s

our championship season,” he eagerly told us as we scanned the

getting straight A’s.’ I said, ‘Hey, people learn in different ways.

room. I could have spent all day in that room, but we had a full

He probably learns with his hands like me.’”

schedule in front of us.

The area we were most interested in was the new American

John gave us a 35-minute tour of the facilities, from state-of-

Ethanol Resource Center — a high-tech place that somewhat

the-art engine building labs to the career placement center.

resembles a traditional library.


I had a mother of one of the students come to me and say, ‘I don’t get it. My son is not a strong student. He struggled through high school and college didn’t take, but he came here and he’s getting straight A’s.’ I said, ‘Hey, people learn in different ways. He probably learns with his hands like me.’

We finished the tour in an auditorium




friend Dr. Andy from ECR Engines was going to teach students about fuel and engine performance, including, most importantly, the benefits of using ethanol. We reached more than 320 students and 40 instructors through our workshop. It was impressive, as these were highly motivated and




emulated John’s passion of why they were there. The students were accustomed to learning about the performance of each of the components of the engine. The fuel, and especially ethanol, was a new and exciting frontier. This three-year pilot program allows us to open a dialogue about ethanol and engine





us the opportunity to educate students and instructors alike, so that graduates understand the benefits of biofuels before

As we were finishing up the tour

they enter their field. This partnership gives

by the E-3 Spark Plug lounge, I

us a direct line to future auto technicians

asked John about the make-up of

and mechanics. I got some good advice

the student body. He said more

once, and I think this partnership displays

than 5 percent were female, which

it: “Plan ahead; it wasn’t raining when

is great because currently females

Noah built the ark.”

constitute less than 2 percent of auto technicians and mechanics in the workforce. Like the ethanol industry, they are comprised of a large percentage of veterans as students.




WHAT’S YOUR WORD? by Melissa Fletcher, Spiritual Care Advisor, POET Words are powerful. They can build up or they can tear down. They can bring joy or they can bring pain. In fact, the Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21). That’s why we need to be careful of what we say and always choose our words wisely. With a new year in full swing, it’s time to speak words of life. Words can also motivate and inspire us, and even help us identify a mantra to live by. A simple word can be a daily reminder to help you affirm your goals and keep you focused on the direction that God wants you to have in your life. Let me put this into perspective. This past year brought about a lot of changes in my life — some that were exciting and expected, and some that were not. And, with the changes, it also brought new challenges. Sometimes change can bring about fear of the unknown. So, my word focus became “fearless.” I wrote the word “fearless” on a sticky note and placed it on my bathroom mirror so that I could be reminded in the morning and at night that no matter what came my way, I would not live in fear — I would be fearless. I meditated on Scriptures in the Bible that talked about not living in fear. The word “fearless” helped me to remember where my strength came from — God. The word “fearless” reminded me who I belonged to — God. And the word “fearless” reminded me that I had the power and strength to rise above my circumstances and overcome any obstacle that was placed in my path. It was a simple word that spoke life over me every day. This year I challenge you to find your word. Pick a word that will help you stay focused on your goals, your dreams and positive things in your life. Use it to help you meditate on God’s goodness and live your life with purpose. My word for this year is “overcomer.” One word just may change your life. What’s your word for 2019?

SIMPLE TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP by Sarah Knutson, Holistic Therapist, POET With our hectic lifestyles, many of us have issues with falling asleep, waking up through the night or never feeling completely rested. If you’ve resolved to improve your sleep quality this year, here are a few tips for a good night’s sleep.

1. ESSENTIAL OILS Essential oils have myriad uses and are very effective. A few in particular have a calming effect and might help you sleep. Lavender oil and Roman Chamomile are believed to help promote relaxation, or you could try orange oil for an uplifting effect. You can even blend them for added benefits. You can diffuse the oils, add them to a warm bath, put a drop on your pillowcase, or mix them with water in a spray bottle and mist your linens with it. For kids, you could add a drop to a favorite stuffed animal or blanket before bedtime.

2. HERBAL TEAS Many herbal teas do not contain caffeine, so they are safe to drink before bed, and some can actually promote sleep. Chamomile tea, Sleepy Time or Gingerbread Spice are a few of my favorites to sip on while winding down for the evening. Remember to read labels and avoid anything with caffeine well before bedtime.

3. MEDITATION If you find yourself worrying about tomorrow’s agenda, try meditating. There are several apps that guide you through a meditation, such as Calm or Headspace. It’s a good idea to create a peaceful sleep environment as well. Turn off your TV, keep the room cooler and make sure it’s dark and peaceful.

4. DON’T EAT LARGE MEALS RIGHT BEFORE BED Give your body time (a couple hours) to digest dinner and you will probably feel more rested in the morning. Also, eating nutritious, unprocessed foods such as organic veggies, fruit, grass-fed meats and healthy fats like coconut oil can help promote a healthy digestive system and greater sense of well-being. Physical activity is important too and can help reduce the effects of stress. Just a brisk 30-minute daily walk can make a big difference in how you feel!



30 seconds. These are like jumping jacks, except your arms and feet should be straight out like the points of a star at the peak of your jump.

by Cole Fricke, Wellness Coordinator, POET Those of us who live in Northern climates during the winter months are aware of Seasonal Affective Disorder, aptly known as SAD. Cold temps, gray skies, short days and lack of sunshine and vitamin D are enough to make even the jolliest Midwesterner feel depressed to some extent. The good news is that it’s usually seasonal and pretty treatable with some basic tenets of health and wellness: nutrition and activity. Try this home workout to get the blood flowing, the endorphins pouring and keep you smiling as you beat those winter blues!

DONKEY KICKS 30 seconds. Crouch down with your weight on your palms placed next to your feet. Keeping your palms on the ground, kick both feet back into the air as high as you can like a donkey.

STATIONARY SPRINTS 30 seconds. Run in place as face as you can. Pump your arms and keep your knees up as you run.

AIR SQUATS 30 seconds. Turn it into Jump Squats if you’re feeling


extra motivated.

Perform this workout up to three times a week. Always

30 seconds


consult your physician before starting any new exercise



30 seconds. Instead of stepping forward like a normal Do 3-5 rounds. Perform the exercises as directed all the

lunge, step backward, keeping the front leg planted.

way through in order, moving as quickly as possible

Alternate legs.

from one exercise to the next. That’s one round. Rest 1-2 minutes between rounds.

JUMPING JACKS 30 seconds

PUSHUPS 30 seconds

PLANK 60 seconds

REST 1-2 minutes





Young Farmers Committed to Agriculture, Rural Lifestyle Even in Difficult Ag Environment



By key economic indicators, the ag

For some, keeping one foot in

For this group, even when there’s an

economy is down. Commodity prices

farming means balancing another

ag downturn, that can’t stop the pull

are stagnant, farm income is down

full-time job, like Brent Pekelder

of the land. Weber, 26, returned to

and farm debt is up.

does in his work as a Grain Buyer in

farming a few years ago after leaving

But that doesn’t deter many young

Ashton, Iowa, for POET. Or, for Abi

his family farm after graduation. “It’s

farmers across the Midwest. Instead,

and Lucas Wright, who took over the

in my blood. It gets you hooked,” he

this group of young farmers and

family farm in Albany, Ind., after Abi’s


proponents of agriculture beats to a

dad passed away, it means balancing

different drum of what you might call

a full-time job along with raising

rural optimism.

two kids. Despite that, Abi loves the

Despite the challenges today of

farming lifestyle. “I can’t imagine

making a living in ag, farmers like

doing anything else,” she said.

Logan Weber of Atlanta, Mo., keep

This group connects with farming

going by having the right perspective.

for myriad reasons and sees the power

Farmers have resilience on their side,

of agriculture and what it can do, like

he said. “Farmers are optimists. They

Marji Guyler-Alaniz, who founded

have a ‘we’ll get it next year’ attitude.

FarmHer as a chance to highlight

It’s something you have to roll with.

women showing up and making a

You have to have a good attitude and

difference in agriculture. She sees

look ahead.”

the value in connecting women in

Read their stories to see how agriculture and farming is shining bright in rural America.





Farming Lifestyle Appeals to Indiana Family Couple Takes Over Family Farm, Balances Additional Full-Time Job

by Janna Farley | photo by Katie Williams


Date night for Abi and Lucas Wright

driving a skidsteer down the road.”

too important.

isn’t the most romantic — at least not

When Abi’s dad died in 2016, she

“Obviously, farming is a business,

in the traditional sense.

and Lucas took over the 2,100-acre


There are no fancy outfits and

corn, soybean and wheat farm in

way,” Lucas said. “But you have

candlelit dinners. Instead, there are

Albany, Ind.

to have people who care, who are

tractors, a lot of dirt and long drives

“The freedom, the ability to do your

emotionally engaged in the work.

together to look at the crops — and the

own thing, to make your own schedule

This isn’t big business. This isn’t Wall

two Indiana farmers wouldn’t have it

— it gets into your blood,” Abi said. “I

Street. Farming is still dependent on

any other way.

don’t know any other lifestyle than

individuals out there doing the work,

“We’re always talking about the


and you’ve got to have that personal

farm,” Abi said. “We’re talking about

These days, Abi spends more time

touch to be successful.”











with their kids, Lucy and Charles, than

That personal touch — and a lot

need to be fixed or what we should

in the field. Lucas also has a full-time

of hard work — is what makes it all

upgrade next. Before we had kids,

sales job off the farm with Nutrien Ag

worthwhile, Abi says.

we’d even take a long road trips every



summer and drive though Iowa and



together, Abi admits. And no one

South Dakota to look at crops in other

sometimes “organized chaos,” Lucas

ever said farming was easy. But the

regions. We’re nerdy like that.”

said. “But I like the fact that every day

Wrights can’t imagine doing anything

Abi, 32, and Lucas, 35, met as

is different. Like today, we’re hauling


students at Purdue University, and

beans to the elevator, I’m going to


started farming together in 2009.

pick up an auger and in between it

something to do every day,” Abi said.

Lucas grew up on a small farm and

all, I’ll be making calls to customers

“There’s always something to fix, to

always had an interest in agriculture.

throughout the day.”

clean — there’s always more work to

Abi started working on her family’s

Still, neither Abi nor Lucas could

be done. It’s never-ending, but I love

farm as a young girl. “I was always

imagine doing anything else — even


helping my dad out,” she said. “I was

with the challenges of today’s farm

probably the only kindergartener

economy. The work they’re doing is














Dual Career in Biofuels, Agriculture Farmer Sees Biofuels as Biggest Driver for Ag

by Miranda Broin | photo by Emily Spartz Weerheim For Brent Pekelder, passion for

spends nearly as much time out in the

agriculture to fuel the world,” Brent

agriculture quite literally runs in

field during the planting and harvest

said. “I think the way we source things

his blood. He is a fourth-generation

seasons. That means an additional 30

is going to change. We’re going to need

farmer on his family’s land, a corn

to 40 hours of work, and although that

more protein, more energy sources,

and soybean farm near Sheldon, Iowa,

may sound daunting to some, Brent

more renewable products, and I think

where — like many farm kids — he

wouldn’t have it any other way. He is

agriculture is poised well to meet a lot

began working alongside his father,

simply grateful to do two jobs that he

of those needs. Most of them are co-

uncle and grandfather at a young age.


products of ethanol production.

“I wasn’t just riding around with

“I wanted to be part of a company

“Farm technology is improving and

them,” said Brent, 24. “I was actually

that was pushing the envelope for

farmers are producing more all the

working with them, helping to get



time, but you can’t have high yields

things done. They even trusted me

POET is definitely doing that,” he

without demand for your product.



said. “And what’s even better is how

You have to have a growing market

outdoors, working the land with them

supportive my bosses are about letting

for it, and the push for E15 is a good

every day — I kind of fell in love with

me farm. They see the importance in

start. I truly believe that biofuel usage

farming. And I knew that carrying on

it — obviously POET thrives when

is going to be the main source to grow

their legacy was something I always

farmers thrive — and their flexibility

demand for farmers. It will be the

wanted to do.”

has been essential in my ability to do

biggest driver in the profitability of

In 2017 Brent graduated from Iowa


our farms.”

State University with an agronomy



For now, Brent relies on the lessons

degree and went on to forge a career

and dual career have given him a

he learned growing up on the farm

in a different sector of the ag industry:

unique perspective of the agriculture

to motivate him in these challenging

biofuels. He currently works full time

industry. That’s why, despite the

times. “I was taught that the only way

as a grain buyer at POET Biorefining

challenges many farmers currently

to get results is to put in the work.


face, he is optimistic about the future


oftentimes his work for the day is not

of ag. The key, he says, can be found in

things don’t go your way won’t get

done at five o’clock.


you anywhere. Keep working, and it’ll

In addition to the 40-plus hours

“I wouldn’t be working for POET

eventually happen.”

he puts in at POET each week, Brent

if I didn’t believe in the power of


















‘We Felt that Trump was willing to go to bat for us’ Farmer Sees Community Outlook Improve

by BryAnn Becker Knecht | photo by Jessica Braithwait Photography In Paxton, Neb., a tiny dot on the

“You were in town wondering who

Overall, she recently has seen a new

map in Nebraska that is home to a

was going to go under next,” she

spark in the town. She said that while

tight-knit community of 600 people,

said. “We feel more optimistic that

the market prices aren’t there yet to

agriculture is the life force.

we’re going to get a fair shake of the

signal a strong economic recovery

Hannah Flaming, a third generation


for the ag industry, farmers in the



She credits President Trump, in

community have the belief that it will



farms Jed,

nearby a




particular, for helping to elevate the

get better.

farmer. They are raising four young

issues concerning rural America. “We

“We’re seeing that our purse belt is

children, and Flaming is intricately

felt that Trump was willing to go to bat

getting less tight. The market prices

acquainted with the rise and fall of the

for us.”

aren’t there yet. We have that security

ag markets because those numbers



that they’re going to get there. That

directly translate to her family farm’s

community outlook has been more

makes people more apt to find a new

bottom line.

optimistic and brighter over the past

feed variety, or maybe upgrade their

Times are still tight for farmers in

two years. “Honestly, I can really


the community, she says, but it’s not

only put it to Trump. It was a slow

Thinking about it more, Hannah

as dire as it was a few years ago when

progression,” she said. “Since our

said, “Really what it boils down to is

she was worried every time she came

town is 600 people, the majority of

the community itself. Everyone in

into town about hearing the name of

them farm. Our whole fate depends

general is more upbeat.”

the next farmer who had decided to

on agriculture. When agriculture’s

give up the farm.

not doing good, no one is doing good.”





LOGAN WEBER Atlanta, Mo.

‘It’s in my Blood’ Family Ties, Precision Ag Practices Lure Logan Weber Back to the Farm

by BryAnn Becker Knecht | photo by Joy Young Photography When Logan Weber left his family’s

“It’s special to be able to work

decisions about which variety to

farm in Atlanta, Mo., after high school

beside your dad and grandpa. That’s

use.” Yield mapping provides data on

graduation, by all accounts he wasn’t

something that drew me back. That’s

where to place fertilizer on the field.

planning to return to the farm. But

part of what I like about farming; it

“It’s exciting to see how precision ag

it seems that his farming roots just

draws us together.”

is changing farming. I’ve seen those

wouldn’t leave him alone.

Logan sees the possibilities in

changes,” he says, referring to last

He obtained a welding certification



year’s crops. “We had a drought this

at Missouri Welding Institute and

to transform the future of farming.

past year, and the crops were better

started working at ethanol plants

He first got into precision ag shortly

than expected,” due to the change in

across the U.S. During his drive from

after his return to farming, when he

how far genetics have come in the

his hotel to the ethanol plants, he saw

started working for a precision ag


farmers out in the field and felt a tug

business and started selling precision

Along with the boost that farming is

to go back.

ag equipment to farmers.

getting from precision ag, Logan also

“It’s in my blood. It gets you hooked.

Soon after working in precision

sees another factor that farmers have

I missed the satisfaction of planting

ag, he began incorporating those

on their side: resilience.

something. I enjoy sitting in a tractor

practices at his family farm. “I saw

For Logan, what keeps him going

and watching things grow through the

the benefits and how awesome it was.

despite the current ag conditions is

season,” said Weber, 26.

Since I was installing it, I saw the

having the right outlook.

In 2015, he decided to get back into

reaction of our customers and how

“I guess it’s a farmer thing,” he says.

farming and returned to farm with his

much it was benefitting them and

“Farmers are optimists. They have

dad, Stan, and grandfather, Warren,

how much they used it.”

a ‘we’ll get it next year’ attitude. It’s

who raise cattle and also grow corn,

At their family farm, they now have

something you have to roll with. You

soybeans and occasionally wheat.

row shutoffs on their planters, which

have to have a good attitude and look

That’s a large part of the appeal, he

saves money. Yield monitoring on



their combines “helps us make better






FarmHer Spotlights Women in Agriculture Company Has Become Opportunity to Connect, Empower Women in Agriculture

by BryAnn Becker Knecht | photo by Diane Heckman Since Marji Guyler-Alaniz started

weren’t very visible, which made it

words at that time,’” Marji said.

FarmHer as a photo project in April

difficult to pave her path as a younger


2013, it’s become much more than

woman. “When I saw that, I took it

economic conditions in agriculture,

that. You might even say it’s sparked

to heart: This is a problem, and it’s a

she says that, as a photographer, she

a movement.

problem all throughout ag.”

sees the resilience of farmers. When

FarmHer has evolved from photo

Other women need to see that you

asked what she thinks keeps women

essays and stories to a monthly TV

can be a successful woman working

working in what can be a challenging

show on RFTD, a podcast called

in agriculture, Marji said. “If you can

environment to make a living, she

“Shining Bright” and a SiriusXM

see it, then you can go be it. Let’s show

points to the “inherent love and

radio show, and annual events and

people the amazing women that are

connection to what they do” as the


there,” she said.

drive for their work.

brand. FarmHer highlights women

Beyond seeing other women as role

For Marji, it goes back to that

showing up and making a difference

models in ag, Marji views FarmHer as

connection piece: to the land, to other

in agriculture across the U.S.

speaking to a wider audience outside

strong women, to the ties of the land.

Marji — who lives in Urbandale,

of the ag sector. “From a consumer

“Whether that’s a passion to have

Iowa — started FarmHer to address the

standpoint, we all should know and

dirt under your fingernails and a

gap she saw in the media concerning

support the women who are working

connection to the land, or a connection

the representation of women in ag.

so hard to grow the food and raise the

and want to raise livestock … they

After watching the “God Made a

livestock that is part of all of our lives,

will dig at it to make it work versus

Farmer” Super Bowl ad in February

and we just don’t see it.”

walking away from it.”

2013 — which was the top-grossing

For Marji, the pulse of FarmHer


commercial of that SuperBowl —

is all about connection, specifically

difference showcasing women in ag

she realized that while the images

women connecting with other women

is motivation for her and her team

were raw and powerful, there was

in agriculture.

to keep running FarmHer, including

something — a big something —

Hearing from other women how

traversing the country to film the TV

missing: Women.



“That was wonderful but where

connect — by hearing and reading

“The best thing we can do is to share

were the women? And where were

the FarmHer stories, by meeting other

those stories and to give back in that

the women in agriculture?”

women at FarmHer events — is “fuel

way. It helps you feel like you’re not




















on the fire” to continue doing what

alone. It’s a goal of ours in giving

her career working in corporate

she does. “I posted something recently


agriculture, she noticed that — much

on social media on FarmHer and

like in production ag — women

someone said, ‘I needed to hear those


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.


A Cleaner Fuel for a Brighter Future”: POET Debuts New Float at Sioux Falls Parade of Lights POET’s new holiday float brought the message of the benefits of biofuels in a bright way during the annual Parade of Lights in downtown Sioux Falls on Friday, Nov. 23. The float featured an E15 pump and a sign promoting “A Cleaner Fuel for a Brighter Future: Biofuels.” POET team members from Team Inspire walked along the parade route and handed out glow sticks.



POET Biorefining – Mitchell Sponsors a Salvation Army Angel Tree POET Biorefining – Mitchell adopted a family from the Salvation Army Angel Tree during the holiday season. Employees shopped and donated gifts of an outfit, shoes, underwear and two toys for each of the four children. POET team members said it was heartwarming to be able to make Christmas for these families a little brighter!

POET, LLC Donates Gifts to Local Salvation Army Between POET Plant Management and POET Design & Construction, the two groups delivered two trucks worth of gifts to the Salvation Army in Sioux Falls, S.D. In 2018 the Salvation Army received requests for 2,372 children in Lincoln and Minnehaha counties.

Helping Families in Need in Jewell POET Biorefining – Jewell donated food to Hector’s Cupboard, a food pantry for low-income families, for the Christmas Meal Box Projects. Forty-five boxes were packed with recipes for those in need.


45 43

RENEW “No-Shave November” Fundraiser Raises $1,750 to Fight Cancer You may have heard of “No-Shave November,” but did you know that this concept is also a way that many participate in to raise money for cancer awareness? Team members from POET Design & Construction’s Process Engineering Group (PEG) enacted a “No-Shave November” as a team building activity and took it one step further to raise money for cancer research. Shane Roby, Process Engineering Manager, pitched the idea of doing a “No-Shave November” as another team building activity. “We all have someone we know, whether it is friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc., that is battling cancer. This was an opportunity to help grow awareness by growing out beards.” Roby registered their group at, and through the donations of 21 individuals and families (including PEG team members), they raised $1,750 to help fight cancer! Roby said it was a great opportunity to help raise cancer awareness, and it was a fun group effort by all — even from those who can’t or don’t grow beards. “We’ve now set the benchmark for which future years we will try to beat!”

Macon Flags Support Veterans Macon Flags was started to help raise money for veterans in the Macon, Mo., area. Since April 2018, Dave Baase, who works at POET Biorefining – Macon, has made 106 flags for individuals and has held fundraising events across the U.S. This flag purchased by POET supported a fund to feed holiday meals to 50 area lower-income veteran families and spouses of veterans. Baase is a retired U.S. Army Sr. Non-Commissioned Officer and Combat Veteran, and his motto is “United We Stand,” for without support we would surely fall.



Safety Crew Visits POET Biorefining – Portland

The team at POET Biorefining – Portland invited the local police, sheriffs, firemen, first responders and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to the facility for lunch and a tour. Visits like this increase layout familiarity for safety scenarios.


CELEBRATING WOMEN IN STEM Exposure, Exploration and Empowerment for STEM Careers Should Begin at a Young Age, Women at POET Say by Angela Tewalt


When Rachel Kloos was growing up

workforce in these critical areas. Of

passionate about alternative energy,

in Southern California, she and her

STEM professionals, nearly 15 percent

works primarily with Project LIBERTY

family often spent time cleaning the

of them are women, and it is thanks to

shores of California’s largest lake, the

the example set by predecessors who

commercial scale cellulosic biofuels

Salton Sea.

have followed their passions rather

facility in Emmetsburg, Iowa — and is

“My parents used to hang out there

than being intimidated by antiquated

proud to be part of an effort that no

a lot, but by the time I was in high

gender roles.

other company in the world is doing.

school, it was an environmental mess,

More than 30 percent of science and

Hanson is a Process Engineer for

so I learned a lot about the ecosystem

technical positions at POET Research

POET Design & Construction, and she

and water conservation,” Kloos says.

are filled by women, notes POET’s

would like to see even more women

That strong family commitment to

Senior Vice President of Research

working as engineers.

the environment shaped her identity

Dave Bushong. The area of expertise

“We’re going to change the world

and drove her down a historically

that female scientists and engineers

of biofuels and the world as a

male-dominated career path. Kloos

bring to POET include analytical

whole,” she says, “but we could

studied chemistry and environmental

chemistry, enzymology, microbiology

benefit from having more female

engineering at Creighton University

and engineering.

engineers, because we are both wired

in Nebraska. She went on to work

“First and foremost, POET offers


at POET’s Sioux Falls headquarters

great science and technical positions.

Hanson, like many others, garnered

before becoming the Plant Manager

Our scientists and engineers have the

interest in STEM fields at a young age.

at POET Biorefining — Chancellor for

opportunity to develop innovative

In eighth grade, she participated in

the last seven years.

technology in renewable fuels that

a girls engineering day in Rapid City,

Across POET’s footprint, Kloos and

have a global impact, and the women

S.D., where chemical engineering

other women have led a change in how

in research contribute every day

at the South Dakota School of Mines

we think about science, technology,

to the success of POET’s technical

“caught my eye,” she says.

engineering and math (STEM) careers.

innovation,” Bushong says.

Camille Nelson, Research Scientist

More women today are entering the

Dani Hanson, who has always been

at POET, grew up on an acreage in





Rachel Kloos, Plant Manager at POET Biorefining – Chancellor

photo by Greg Latza


Dani Hanson, Process Engineer for POET Design & Construction

photo by Greg Latza


Minnesota, where she was always

Nelson says women need to feel

faculty, and he encouraged her to

curious about agriculture. “I was

empowered “to contribute to these



things that are advancing our society.”


agriculture impacted and remember





understanding,” Biersbach says. “And

spending time looking at and studying



it was so rewarding to see all the











that, also




Nelson says.


At Iowa State University, she received

schedule flexibility, and a genuine

her undergrad degree in agricultural

desire to make people successful,

engineering and her masters in ag and

Bushong says.

biosystems engineering. “The major


had a really influential culture I was

happens outside of the workplace, too,

drawn to, and I always felt included,”

as was the case for Gwen Biersbach,

she says.

who today is a Senior Research

She has been a Research Scientist

Scientist at POET. She was a quality

for POET since 2015. “I have a lot of

plant manager at POET for 13 years

female role models I look up to here,”

before she felt compelled to go back

she says.

to school to receive her masters in

Mentorship is an important element

research. She reached out to a former

of continuing to grow and advance at

fellow student at South Dakota State

the workplace.

University who was now one of the



career training,






We’re going to change the world of biofuels and the world as a whole, but we could benefit from having more female engineers, because we are both wired differently.


things that had happened in biotech

throughout its footprint.

since I was an undergraduate.”

“We do different activities at middle schools

INTEREST IN STEM BEGINS AT A YOUNG AGE Women at POET say the important work of getting more women into STEM careers begins at a young age. It must be cultivated early in life. POET has recognized that need and holds outreach programs to generate interest and enthusiasm in young women who may be uncertain about a STEM career, Bushong says. “Increasing the number of women interested in STEM careers is critical for business success as well as providing great careers for women,” he says. To begin that engagement in STEM for young women, Nelson says POET participates in significant outreach





because you never know what is going to impact people,” she says. Antje Skiff, who is a Mechanical Engineering




adds that POET partnered with Girl Scouts last summer, “to show them the basic principles of engineering,” and Biersbach says they’ve hosted science fairs as well, where girls are interactive and excited. “You might expect a bunch of eighth grade girls rolling their eyes, but on the other hand, I was surprised at how energized and attentive they were!” she says.

We are changing the world to make things better for the next generation. We have a positive environmental impact, and we have a positive impact on economy and agriculture. That makes me so excited about my workday!

Biersbach admits that STEM is not a highly visible career choice. “What do they do behind those brick walls?” she says. “I like to approach young adults and be able to tell them,

Gwen Biersbach, Senior Research Scientist at POET

photo by Brian Koch


I have learned so much that I would have never known had I not taken this job, and that is very motivating to me.

this is how we approach our work. If they can’t see or understand our work environments, why would they be interested?” Biersbach




adults that of the 600,000 occupations waiting to be filled in the U.S., there is plenty to offer right here in the Midwest. “We live in a rural state, and it may seem there is not an abundance






by POET Nutrition President Greg



Bruekelman, where he talked about leadership and the key influ-encers in

the rural economy — particularly

his life.



“And she was just soaking this up!”

market, which depends on farmer

says Kloos. “Even for weeks thereafter,



she was referencing his talk, and I

agronomy, commodities, accounting,

thought to myself, if she spent a half



hour sitting in the back of a room


listening to him and that influenced

relates Career



high-tech jobs are actually due to it




the paths






her, how much of an influence could I

human resources are all fields that

be? I want to have the reputation that


I am a resource and I am here to help








Kloos also works to show her children positive role models. “I want my kids to visibly see that you can do whatever you want to do, and there is no limit!” Last fall, she took her 17-year-old daughter to a presentation given

ENCOURAGEMENT IN STEM Skiff says we need problem solvers more than ever — women and men who can continue to “help the world

Camille Nelson, Research Scientist at POET



photo by Brian Koch

Antje Skiff, Mechanical Engineering Manager at POET

photo by Brian Koch

You might expect a bunch of eighth grade girls rolling their eyes, but on the other hand, I was surprised at how energized and attentive they were!

so much going on, and it is always

“Our work can seem mundane, but

changing,” Biersbach says. “We have

there is always a new problem to solve,

new tools to deal with problems that

and if you talk to us, we’re pumped,

weren’t even surmountable a few

excited and passionate about what we

years ago. But because we have so

do!” says Biersbach. “We are changing

much information to get our arms

the world to make things better for the

around, we’ve got to almost change

next generation. We have a positive

our approach to how we deal with

environmental impact, and we have


a positive impact on economy and

She suggests group-oriented tasks

agriculture. That makes me so excited

and sharing of ideas, and Skiff

about my workday!”

encourages young women not to be

“We are always learning,” Nelson

discouraged in that.

adds. “It feels like the more we know,

“Do not be afraid, and don’t let

the less we know! But I have learned

anyone stop you!” Skiff says. “We can

so much that I would have never

make the world a much better place

known had I not taken this job, and

through STEM innovation.”

that is very motivating to me.”

And the work that women in innovate” — and Biersbach agrees. “In the biotech world, there is

STEM do is rewarding and making a difference for the next generation.



DOWN 1. Powder room powder 2. As a whole 3. Cowboy activity 4. Ultimate object 5. Salinger story subject 6. Sleep-time annoyance 7. Gulf state 8. Part of E.T.A. 9. Word form for “bad” 10. Billy Joel’s “___ to Extremes” 11. Agreement 12. Nautical dir. 15. Greek letters 16. Wagner’s “___ fliegende Hollander” 20. Lie down a while 23. Bill featuring Washington 24. Thickness measures 25. Gallic girlfriends 26. Undue speed 27. Despite 29. Wonder’s “years of bad luck” 38. Pool exercise

30. Side (with)

40. Heroism

31. Grabs (onto)

1. It may eventually become bald

41. Son of Adam and Eve

32. Custard apple cousin

5. Atty.’s name follower

42. Magician’s command

33. Where to hear an aria

8. Hydrogen compound

44. Keyword improvements for

35. ___ in victory

13. Nameless as an author, briefly

36. ___ mode

14. Showy bloom

45. POET’s bioprocessing plant in

37. __ de plume (pen name)

17. “Shane” star, Alan

Ohio that recently opened an

39. Impertinent one

18. Miner’s dream

80 million gallon extension

43. Mariner’s “Help!”

19. One of POET’s

46. Announcement over a

47. “Shop ___ you drop”

48. Social event


environmental goals

a website (abbr.)

plane’s P.A.

21. 1970 Kinks hit

49. Trades

50. Two out of two

22. Destinations for EMTs

50. Flock sound

51. Malaysian or Chinese, e.g.

23. D-Day beach

53. Problematic

52. In unison

28. Records that may be broken

56. Energy source that cannot

54. Odd

30. Dakota Gold provides

55. Gossiper

high nutrient value in

59. Sheepskin presentation

56. Something everyone

_____ feed

64. “Green Gables” name

31. Official US publisher

65. Used

57. ___ 500

34. Fervent supporter, of

66. Quite fond of

58. Rock singer Russell

67. Is ___ (probably will)

59. Govt. property org.

68. Napoleon’s marshal

60. Exercise unit

69. Clancy hero Jack

61. False show

sustainable fuels for example


support us forever, 2 words

62. Email punctuation


starts doing

63. Numero ___




To receive free information about products

55 AgCountry


or services advertised or listed in this issue, please contact advertisers via their web address.

19 BBI


GEA Group


Growth Energy

03 Novozymes





POET Nutrition



Seeds of Change



English Is Confusing by Scott Johnson, Data Systems Administrator, POET “A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode

violations. They are thoroughly scrubbed by the Vital editing

through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough,

staff — people who actually know the rules of English — before

he coughed and hiccoughed.”

making it to official publication. I digress…

Read that again.

Do I have a beef with the English language? Perhaps. Maybe

Notice anything odd — besides the entire heartbreaking

I would be more forgiving if the language didn’t insist the word

story of a ploughman, whatever that is? Perhaps you noticed

“beef” means meat from a cow AND also an informal complaint.

this statement contains eight different pronunciations of

Our language is loaded with similar instances of words with

“ough.” This bizarre sentence tells us everything we need to

multiple meanings.

know about the English language: English is confusing. It’s a

On the other hand of polysemy (the capacity of a word or

ridiculous compilation of rules and guidelines that are always

phrase to hold many different meanings), English contains

followed except when they aren’t. Inconsistencies in spelling,

labyrinthine (complicated, intricate and confusing) words

pronunciation and verb conjugation are enough to drive one mad. There are times when patterns of our language flow so routinely and expectedly, they falsely lull us into a belief that English makes sense. Example: What a horror this is! This is horrible! I am horrified! This is horrific! What a terror this is! This is terrible! I am terrified! This is terrific! Wait ... did you say “terrific”? Those sentence groups mean almost exactly the same thing, right up until the part where they are complete opposites. Sink, sank, sunk: Sink is present tense. Sank

that are utterly superfluous (unnecessary,

Sometimes we sing a song that’s never been sung, but we never bring a brong that’s never been brung.

is past tense. Sunk is the past participle tense.

the following words and their definitions: Erinaceous: “of, pertaining to, or resembling a hedgehog.” Nudiustertian: “Something that happened two days ago.” Cruciverbalist: “a person who makes up crossword puzzles.” Using words like these is a bunch of grandiloquence: the pompous, bombastic, style of using language, and one that is overly complicated in order to attract admiration and attention, especially in order to make someone seem important, but actually adds up to nothing. In other words, my personal writing style. So, to my friends across this great country,

I sink the boat. He sank the boat. The boat has sunk. Likewise,

from Des Moines (“Duh-MOIN”) to Des Plaines (“Dez Plainz”), it’s

Drink, drank, drunk

true: Sometimes we articulate two mid-sized, Midwestern towns

Shrink, shrank, shrunk

of Frenchly-named origin only 331 miles apart in a completely

Think, thank, thunk

different manner. Sometimes we reiterate a point, even though

Sorry, “thank” and “thunk” are legitimate words used for other

“iterate” already means to repeat something. Sometimes we sing

purposes, so they can’t possibly be used again in “thinking”

a song that’s never been sung, but we never bring a brong that’s

context. Instead, use: Think, thought, thought.

never been brung. Sometimes we wonder why time flies like

As in, a ploughman thought about his doughy face as he sank

an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana. (Bananas are delicious.)

into the slough.

Yes, English is confusing. It can be understood through tough

You might be painting me as one of those grammar snobs

thorough thought, though.

who thinks he has all the answers. (I cited “past participle verb

Plough ahead.

conjugation,” after all.) I love correcting people on improper use of there/their/they’re as much as the next guy, but I’m far from a grammar expert. My rough drafts are littered with grammatical


excessive, needless). For example, take


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.

Profile for Vital Magazine

Vital Magazine - Winter 2019  

Vital Magazine - Winter 2019