Page 1


In Sight

By Jeff Broin


Nascar® Update

by Ryan Welsh


Mechanics Corner

Automotive Advice from the Under the Hood radio show


Farm Fresh

by Brian Hefty


Out Of Left Field

by Scott Johnson


Energy For Life






Prime the Pump

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.

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COPYRIGHT Vital is published quarterly by POET, LLC and other individuals or entities. All materials within are subject to copyrights owned by POET. 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. ©2020 POET, LLC. All rights reserved. Publication Design & Layout: Cassie Medema hello@newover.com

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





Transportation Policies and Biofuels: Supporting the Fight Against Climate Change

A Watershed Moment for Biofuels POET has partnered with Farmers Business Network on a platform called Gradable which has the potential to boost profits for farmers while combating climate change by tracking and scoring the carbon footprint of farmers’ production methods.

20 People of POET: Leaving Handprints on our Hearts How Seeds of Change transformed the lives of two families.

28 United We Stand Americans understand the importance of biofuels, and they showed their support by electing both republican and democratic biofuel champions. Biofuel’s indisputable benefits and bipartisan appeal gives the BidenHarris administration a unique opportunity to tackle climate, air quality and economic recovery from Day One.

Across the nation, more states are joining the fight against climate change by taking action on transportation policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles. Biofuels offers a key opportunity to shift from fossil fuel dominance to cleaner fuel alternatives.

40 Purified Alcohol: A Product for the Future POET has begun scaling up production of purified alcohol to help meet the growing demand due to market changes from COVID-19 while creating a new domestic market to boost the ag economy. POET’s all-natural product will grow the volume of cleaner, greener, high-quality alcohol options available to industrial, personal care, and food and beverage consumers.

Visit VitalByPOET.com for exclusive online content.

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.


So, what comes next? by Jeff Broin, Founder and CEO of POET The 2020 election was perhaps one of the most memorable

air, both of which are synonymous with POET’s mission.

battles for the White House in recent history, and I think I

In fact, his campaign made several strong statements

can speak on behalf of many when I say that I, for one, am

supporting a larger role for biofuels and agriculture:

relieved it’s over (well, mostly over, that is). The uncertainty surrounding the election has been consistent with the ongoing theme of this year as a

“A Biden-Harris Administration will promote

whole; however, one thing that does remain certain is the

and advance renewable energy, ethanol, and

importance of the work we’re doing. In order for us to keep moving the needle in the years ahead, it’s imperative to

other biofuels to help rural America and our

remember that biofuels are a bipartisan solution to some

nation’s farmers, and will honor the critical role

of our nation’s most pressing issues. It doesn’t matter if

the renewable fuel industry plays in supporting

you voted Red or Blue — at the end of the day, we’re all on Team Green.

the rural economy and the leadership role

From day one, we have worked with both parties to

American agriculture will play in our fight

support growing markets for biofuels and agriculture and

against climate change.”

overcome policy barriers by showing lawmakers the truth. We have cultivated champions on both sides of the aisle, who have worked tirelessly to further our mission because

I can assure you we will be holding the Biden

they know biofuels truly benefit all Americans.

Administration to their promises, and we will stand ready to

In the days leading up to the 2020 election, we saw our

work with the new president and his cabinet to achieve our

efforts pay off as both parties recognized ethanol, and its

common goals of improving the health of our planet and all

role in bolstering the rural economy and fighting climate

Americans. Additionally, POET’s Government Affairs and

change, on a national stage. Now, our country is just weeks

Communications team will continue to work hard alongside

away from entering a new era of leadership. So, what comes

Growth Energy to educate our newly elected policymakers


and staff while strengthening existing relationships with

Well, as with any newly planted crop, it comes down to a

incumbent lawmakers.

combination of hard work and a little hope.

Make no mistake: agriculture holds the key to solving

We are hopeful that President-elect Biden will continue

climate change. If we’re serious about preserving our

to be a strong leader for homegrown biofuels and rural

planet and improving air quality in our nation’s cities,

America. We hope that his choice to lead the EPA will

there is simply no better short-term solution than biofuels.

reflect his campaign promises to faithfully administer

Our goal for 2021 should be to make that the best-known

the Renewable Fuel Standard and end the abuse of small

fact on Capitol Hill — and in state capitols across America.

refinery exemptions that destroy demand for biofuels and

I hope you will join me and the POET team in welcoming

shortchange farmers. We also hope that our new president

our new and returning elected officials from both sides of

will work to make E15 America’s standard fuel and continue

the aisle. Together, we can forge greater unity and show our

to modernize regulations that will allow Unleaded88 to

friends, neighbors, and government leaders how biofuels

flow freely in the marketplace.

are ready to help build a better rural economy, a healthier

There’s no question that President-elect Biden will put

world, and a brighter future for every American.

great emphasis on fighting climate change and cleaning our



History of U.S. Presidential Support for Biofuels 1973 President Nixon launches Project Independence, with the goal of achieving energy self-sufficiency by 1980. Nixon declares that American science, technology and industry can free the United States from dependence on foreign oil.



2000 The USDA initiates the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Bioenergy Program to stimulate demand and alleviate crop surpluses, which were contributing to low crop prices and farm income, and to encourage new production of biofuels.





1978 President Carter signs the Energy Tax Act which gives ethanol blends of at least 10% by volume a $0.40/gallon exemption on the federal motor fuels tax.


The Alternative Motor Fuels Act encourages auto manufacturers to produce cars that are fueled by alternative fuels, including an ethanol/gasoline blend containing 85% ethanol called E85.


President George W. Bush creates the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as part of the Energy Policy Act. The RFS requires oil companies to blend ethanol into their gasoline.




Barack Obama, then junior senator from Illinois, declares his candidacy for president. In his speech he hails “homegrown, alternative fuels like ethanol.” Obama was a strong supporter of passing a new, higher RFS.

President Bush signs into law the Energy Independence and Security Act which extended and greatly expanded the RFS.

2010 OBAMA

President Obama visits POET Biorefining—Macon. At the signing ceremony President Bush said the RFS program was a “…major step toward reducing our dependence on oil, confronting global climate change, expanding production of renewable fuels and giving future generations a nation that is stronger, cleaner and more secure.”



Then presidential candidate Donald Trump visits POET Biorefining—Gowrie.



President Trump approves year-round access to E15

© POET, 2020



comes when we harbor that hurt and allow it to turn

by Melissa Fletcher, Spiritual Care Advisor, POET

of forgiveness, we begin to sever relationships. And

into bitterness and resentment. When we begin to justify our own behavior, rather than going to God in prayer and releasing that person through the power

“…Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25)

that my friends is called PRIDE. Jesus was wronged by others in so many ways. Yet He did not wrong them in return. Instead, He allowed God to judge them. And we need to follow His example.

This is TRUTH spoken by Jesus. Jesus knew the damaging consequences that would ensue when a nation or household became divided. That is why He encouraged love, unity and peace amongst the people. Leading up to the 2020 election our nation began to be politically charged and a spirit of offense took root. And now that the election is over we begin to ask ourselves, “Now what?”

Now, with the election behind us, whether your candidate won or lost, you can make the choice to LOVE. You can make the choice to promote PEACE. You can make the choice to honor God through your thoughts, words and deeds. If you are a Christ-follower, you have been given an amazing opportunity to wave His banner and to encourage a divided nation to heal and restore. It begins with you…in your family, at your job, at your school, at your church, and with your friends. Instead

In the Gospel of Luke 17:1 Jesus said, “It is impossible that no offenses should come.” It’s no secret, we see the spirit of offense taking root in every aspect of

of choosing sides between Republican and Democrat, we can choose the side of love over hate. It is time for Christ-followers to begin showing this world what it

our society. And many people have become so used to being offended that they believe that it is a normal part of everyday life. The Bible does tell us that there will come a time when many will be offended…not a few, but MANY. In fact, Jesus goes on to talk about this spirit of offense in Matthew 24:10-13, “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” And why are so many people offended? Because, as we can see in Matthew 24, “the love of many will grow cold.” We also develop a mindset that our thoughts and our actions are always right. And when someone disagrees with us or challenges us to look at things differently, we become offended. We become offended when we set expectations and behaviors for others and they do not do what we desire. We become offended when we feel hurt, betrayed, or unloved.

heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31). When we uphold this, we

While our feelings may be real and true, the danger of allowing the spirit of offense to hold us in bondage


means to love. “Love the Lord your God with all your

will truly be “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”




probably overreacted, we’ve probably done things that we wish we hadn’t, we’ve probably done the exact thing we’re mad about “the other side” doing. Still, we let the disease of divisiveness wash over us and infect

by Cole Fricke, Wellness Coordinator, POET

our hearts, our minds, and even our physical health.

If you didn’t notice, there’s been a contagious enemy raging in our country for the better part of this year, but it’s not the one you’re probably thinking of (and I’m not even going to say its name). I’m talking about a pandemic of contagious anger and divisiveness that has swept through the country. The alarming part about it is how easy it has spread, and how easily we’ve just accepted and condoned it as a way of life. Our interactions in real life have become like social media,

But you know what else is contagious? Kindness. Love. Patience. Civility. I was always told part of being an adult is recognizing that you can’t control what happens, but you can control how you respond to it and how you treat people. Be the good kind of contagious. Spread love and kindness. Spread patience and graciousness. Spread calmness and diplomacy. And be an active spreader, too, none of this passive stuff. Actively infect people with your kindness and understanding, and encourage them to infect others. I’ve always heard that you



flies with honey than vinegar, and you’ll accomplish more






behave as such. Really, there is no “other side.” Sure, we have differing opinions, but the only people who are




or the

ones who already want to be that way, not because someone and social media is off the charts. It’s almost like it’s fashionable to be mad online, or that it’s not enough to be upset about something but that you need attention for being upset. I’m not sure any of that is something to be proud of.


made them do it. We’re all humans, we’re all much, much, much, more alike than we are different. Focus on that common ground instead of treating life and politics and relationships as games to be won and lost, because we’re all going to lose that game when it comes down to it. In a world where it looks like we can’t

The worst part is it’s almost like we want this contagion. We want to be divided, we want to yell and hold

control anything, control how you treat others and see how much your life improves.

grudges (real or perceived). People are argumentative and






argumentative and contentious “the other side” is. Let’s face it, we’re all hypocrites on both sides. We’ve




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New collaboration could be ‘watershed moment’ for biofuels by Rob Swenson








largest producer of biofuels, and

or “lifecycle” emissions, generated


Farmers Business Network, or FBN,

from power plants, factories, farms,

small. They can begin with

an emerging business organization

vehicles or other processes.

just one farmer with one big

that collects useful data for member

In addition to helping farmers earn


more for their crops, carbon scoring

idea. But big ideas that are implemented



will help POET accurately track and

well can spread quickly – locally, at

called Gradable to track and score

incentivize the production of lower-

first, then regionally, nationally and

the carbon footprint of farmers’

carbon biofuels for California and

beyond. They can change the world

production methods for POET, one of

Oregon’s fuel markets, which continue

for the better.

the company’s first customers. The

to tighten their carbon intensity

That’s the sense of opportunity

goal for the program is to eventually

standards to reduce transportation









create a premium for farmers for

emissions. A number of other states,


producing corn with a lower carbon

including Washington, Colorado and

trailblazers in national agricultural

score. A carbon score is generally used

New York, are currently considering


to measure the total greenhouse gases,

adopting similar carbon reduction




between the




policies to address climate change.

information back to its members

POET believes the Gradable program

to help them make good farming

could better position the biofuels


industry and growers in the Midwest

POET, FBN will not share detailed

to supply low-carbon fuel markets

production information about

with ever-cleaner renewable fuels.

individual members; however,



POET is provided with scores

management technology to produce

that will enable producers who

specific information. The company’s

elect sustainable practices the







potential to earn premiums when new biofuel markets are

score data in a way that POET would


not otherwise have access to use,

Everyone stands to benefit

said Dean Watson, president of POET

from the increased production



The collaboration is intended to

fuel that will be even more

incentivize farmers to produce their

sustainable and Earth-friendly

crops in environmentally friendly












low-carbon grain. But the ultimate

The Gradable program is a prime

objective is to reduce emissions from

example of how the different sectors

cars, trucks and SUVs by growing the

of agriculture can work together to

supply of low-carbon, plant-based

solve global problems, executives


with the two companies said.

That’s what led POET on the path

“I really think it has local, national

to collaborating with FBN, says Bob

and global significance,” said Doug

Whiteman, CFO for POET Ethanol

Berven, Vice President of Corporate














POET. for





led POET to California, home of the nation’s very first low-carbon fuel standard, and into a sustainability working agreement with FBN. Greenhouse




combustion of fossil fuels – like carbon dioxide – contribute to climate change, resulting in problems such as droughts and forest fires, according to scientists. POET and FBN want to reward farmers for using practices that reduce the production of those emissions. Normally





detailed from



practices, Whiteman said. The search


members, assembles the data in meaningful ways, and shares the



information allows it to manage and






really will be a gamechanger for agriculture, for the environment, for biofuels, for consumers and for transportation.” The Gradable initiative was the result of farmers wanting



information about their growing



show their concern for the



Steele Lorenz, Head of Sustainable


for FBN. The company is based in San Carlos, California and has offices in Sioux Falls and Chicago. The organization also has foreign offices in Canada and Australia. Agriculture and transportation are

“As we looked around

poverty, hunger and disease.”

the onramp to answering the climate

Small, incremental changes can

for potential customers who were

challenge. That road not only takes



looking for low-carbon grain, low-

us to a healthier planet, it also helps

around the world. “It starts locally

carbon corn, POET really was one


with a plant, with a farmer, with an

of the instrumental players because

acre, and it can grow exponentially to

of the work they’ve been doing for

solve a global problem,” Berven said.

quite some time,” Lorenz said. “They



“This is the type of reward-based system that has strong possibilities.





have a very strong reputation within

‘Farmers are excited about this’

the farm community, and they are a premier destination of picked grain.

A pilot project to test the approach

So, growers were looking for ways


to develop closer relationships with



underway POET’s






Chancellor, South Dakota for more

Many growers have also been trying

It makes sense

than a year, and the results have been

for quite some time to lower their

exciting. The partners could extend

carbon footprint, and they haven’t

for everyone in

similar demonstration projects to

gotten credit for some their work,

other POET biorefineries in the near

Lorenz said. That might be because

the production-


they were just trying to protect the

consumption chain

POET and FBN recently started

health of their soil by minimizing

promoting the collaboration with


growers across the Midwest.

Now there’s a way for farmers’

“After doing it for a while, it seems

conservation efforts to be tracked and

the processor to the

like a very common-sense solution,

potentially rewarded.

but this is the first time it’s really been

“I can’t emphasize enough that


done like this,” Berven said. “It’s a


novel idea that can be applied to so

Lorenz said.

many different things, and I think it

The opportunity to earn more for

- from the grower to










“At POET, we strive to be good stewards of the earth, and their corn is especially welcome now because many farmers are contending with challenging economic conditions and problems related to lingering global disagreements over trade. “We welcome the creation of good, new markets. They are needed,” said Jake Reiners, a corn producer from Hurley, South Dakota. “We want to be

explore alternatives to add value

search of new ways

producers, Watson said. In addressing





environmental challenges, farmers

to harness the




regenerative power

solutions that incentivize healthy

of agriculture.”

he added.

production to government subsidies, From



even if it requires more diligence at

platform is just a natural extension

the production level.”

of the company’s mission to be a good




too, Reiners said. “This is the type of reward-based system that has strong possibilities. It makes sense for everyone in the production-consumption chain - from the grower to the processor to the consumer. I hope it takes hold and expands quickly,” he said.

A ‘watershed moment’ in agriculture Leaders of POET and FBN expect other companies to gradually join the



steward of the environment and their


compensated fairly for their efforts,



part of the solution to global problems,



we’re always in

movement the two companies have initiated. “Because of the strong convictions that POET has – they’ve stepped up and they’ve made an incredible commitment – we really see it as a watershed moment. I think it’s going to be a very short matter of time until many other companies are getting on board, and not just in biofuel. We’re seeing strong demand start to build up around animal feed and grain as well,” said Lorenz, of FBN. POET






work to fight climate change. “At POET, we strive to be good stewards of the earth, and we’re always in search of new ways to harness the regenerative power of agriculture. The further we go with Gradable, we believe it’s very much in line with that mission, and can deliver results far greater than what we initially envisioned,” Whiteman said.

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Biofuel Champions in D.C.

No matter if you voted red or blue, we are all on Team Green. Biofuels support was incredibly important to voters this election and your continued support of POET PAC helped elevate this conversation at the national level. Check out what a few DC champions, who won their election, had to say about their commitment to a future with more biofuels.

Sen. Joni Ernst (IA – R) “As Iowans know, biofuels are an essential part of our state’s economy. Our biofuel producers depend on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and they expect the federal government to uphold and adhere to this law. That’s why I’ve gone toe-to-toe with members of my own party and the administration to advocate on behalf of our farmers and producers. Together, with the help of Iowans and my partner Senator Chuck Grassley, we’ve seen some big wins: from securing access to E15 year-round to expanding biofuel infrastructure, and successfully getting the “gap year” waivers denied—but the fight for the renewable fuel industry, and our farmers, is never over. I’ll keep being a relentless champion for Iowa agriculture—holding EPA to their commitments and making sure the RFS is the law of the land.”

Sen. Gary Peters (IL – D) “Sustaining investments in homegrown biofuels will not only bolster our transportation systems, but also help power our economy for years to come,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “I will continue working with our farmers and biofuel producers to keep Michigan and our country at the forefront of innovation.”

Sen.-Elect Roger Marshall (KS – R) “Ethanol and biofuels are such crucial part of Kansas agriculture. Having leaders in Washington who defend the farmers that fuel and feed the world is imperative. It’s been an honor to defend them in Congress, and it is an honor to now defend them in the U.S. Senate. We are so grateful for the partnership and friendships we have developed at POET and we look forward to many more years of victories for the American farmer.”




Sen. Mike Rounds (SD – R) “Corn and corn ethanol play a vital role in South Dakota’s economy. During my time working as governor and as a U.S. Senator, I’ve fought hard to make sure the federal government protects the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Over the past several years, I’m proud of our successes in allowing year-round sales of E-15, making sure 15 billion gallons of ethanol is blended annually, and reversing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) over-issuance of Small Refinery Exemptions. I thank POET for its continued work and innovation in the ethanol industry.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (IA – R) “Over the years, I’ve fought for ethanol and biofuels producers both in Iowa and across the country. In Iowa, we produce more than 4.5 billion gallons of renewable fuels to give motorists an affordable alternative at the pump. Iowa’s 43 ethanol refineries and 11 biodiesel facilities support nearly 50,000 jobs. We’ve come a long way from the creation of the Renewable Fuel Standard and there’s more work to be done. I look forward to continuing to promote clean, home-grown energy and work toward greater American energy independence.”

Rep. Cindy Axne (IA – D) “Throughout my first term in Congress, I have been a champion in promoting biofuels throughout the Democratic Caucus and standing up against the repeated attacks on biofuels from the EPA. We all know that biofuels provide home grown clean energy, demand for our farmers, and good paying jobs in our communities. From renewing the Biodiesel Tax Credit to fighting to include COVID-19 relief for biofuels facilities, I will continue to make biofuels a priority in Congress.”




Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL – D) “Biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel are an important part of our economy and a critical element of tackling climate change. As we look to the future and the need to create demand for our farmers, we must invest in tools to reduce emissions and increase economic development to help our rural communities. I will continue to the fight to support these critical home-grown fuels.”

Rep. Jim Hagedorn (MN – R) “Since taking office, I have utilized my position on the House Agriculture Committee to expand trade and sustain independent farmers and our biofuels industry. I was also recognized, during each of my first two years in office, by Growth Energy with its ‘Fueling Growth’ Award for my bipartisan efforts on the Agriculture Committee and the Congressional Biofuels Caucus to end the EPA’s misuse of small refinery waivers and administer the Renewable Fuel Standard the way Congress intended. I look forward to working on a bipartisan basis with my colleagues on behalf of farmers, agri-businesses and our rural communities.”

Rep. Rodney Davis (IL – R) “I am proud to lead on biofuels issues this Congress, and am particularly proud of the progress and success we saw this Congress by working together to hold this Administration accountable to ensure they uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard. As we look toward the 117th Congress, I am proud to once again lead the Biofuels Caucus alongside a new set of my colleagues to ensure that we continue to build on our successes and ensure that Rural America can once again thrive, and have certainty under the law.”

Rep. Angie Craig (MN – D) “Farmers in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District and across the country have fueled our communities for generations, and they’ll power our future. As a member of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus, I have continuously defended the Renewable Fuel Standard against the Administration’s attacks, introduced legislation to increase blending infrastructure, and co-led efforts to secure support for biofuels in the COVID-19 relief package. I’ll continue to fight to advance the future of biofuel innovation and push for the market stability that our farmers deserve.”




Rep. Tom Emmer (MN – R) “The biofuels industry is critically important for the state of Minnesota and my district. The state’s 18 ethanol and 3 biodiesel plants are some of the largest employers in rural Minnesota communities while providing added value to nearly a third of our farmers’ crop. That is why I have long fought for increased usage of this locally grown, cleaner burning fuel. From yearround sales of E15, to renewal of the biodiesel tax credit, to protection of the Renewable Fuel Standard, I have fought for this industry on a bipartisan basis. I look forward to continuing our work with our farmers, our ethanol industry and the members of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus to ensure that biofuel remains a significant piece of our fuel supply.”

Rep. Ron Estes (KS – R) “It’s an honor to represent Kansas farmers and biofuel producers across south central Kansas. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, I’ve promoted policies that support energy workers and encourage energy independence in the US. I’m proud to support free and fair trade deals with other nations on behalf of our biofuel producers.”

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Leaving Handprints on Our Hearts

Brenda and Mary during the 2017 Mission Hope service trip.

How Seeds of Change transformed the lives of two families by Jessica Sexe



Jeff and Mary during the 2017 Mission Hope service trip.



Brenda, Mary, Irene and Jeff outside of the completed home.

hen Jeff Pinkerman,

poverty in Kenya and, as a woman,

all of the girls wanted to be next except



was really shocked by the way women

for Mary. She was very patient. I told


are treated there. They are very much

her ‘You were so patient. Thank you

first started with the

second-class citizens in comparison to

for waiting!’ and Mary replied, ‘You


traveled halfway across the globe. I

and his wife Brenda were immediately

During their time in Kenya, Brenda

knew you were going to help me cut

interested in becoming involved with

and Ben got to build relationships with

my handprint out.’”

Seeds of Change. “I have always been

some of the students at an all-girls

Brenda immediately appreciated

interested in doing a mission trip,”

school supported by Seeds of Change.

Mary’s wit and charm and found

said Brenda. “When we decided to

On one day in particular, Brenda and

a connection with her. When she

move to Sioux Falls we found out

Ben worked on a craft with the girls

found out Mary’s name she told her

about the Seeds of Change trip and I

to get to know them better. The craft

it had been her mother’s name. “She

was really intrigued by it.”

seemed simple: the girls were asked

picked up that I said it past tense,”

Each year, with the exception of

to trace their handprint on paper and

said Brenda. “I told her how I had lost

2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic,

cut it out. “It was very eye-opening

my mom when I was young and she

Seeds of Change sends volunteers on a

when we realized that these girls had

went on to tell me about losing both

service trip to Africa through Mission

never used scissors before and they

of her parents at a very young age.”

Hope, one of the organization’s three

were struggling,” said Brenda.

Mary then described how difficult it

core programs. When the opportunity

She decided to help each girl cut out

had been dealing with the loss of her

came to travel to Kenya with Seeds

their handprint, which allowed her


of Change in 2016, Brenda and her

to speak with each one individually.

After her parents died, Mary was

youngest son Ben decided to take a

That’s when she first got to know

shuffled around from relative to

trip that would change their lives. “I

Mary. “Mary was the last one. I would

relative. At one point in class one (the

was really impacted by the level of

get done cutting out a handprint and

Kenyan equivalent of first grade),



company in 2016, he



she was taken out of school to be a

wasn’t right. Mary was not herself

housemaid for her uncle, setting her

and we had also heard she’d had some

back in her education a couple of

trouble at school,” said Jeff. “After

“By the end of the meeting we said, don’t worry, you are our daughter now.”

years. Because of this instability while

visiting with her we found out that

growing up, she was very excited to

in addition to the passing of her close

find a school sponsored by Seeds of

family members, her family home had


been set on fire by hostile relatives.”

After hearing about Mary, Jeff knew

When Mary’s parents died, they

he needed to return with Brenda to

left their home and the few acres of

Kenya as soon as possible to meet

land to their children. In Kenya, it is

her himself. “I heard a lot of stories

very unusual for women to inherit

from Brenda and Ben about Mary,

anything. When Mary’s brother died

and I kind of felt like I knew her,”

it opened the door for hostile relatives

said Jeff. “We would talk on Facebook

to attempt to take away the property.

Jeff Pinkerman

when she had access to the internet.”

With the male heir gone, the family

Jeff and Brenda decided to return to

members tried to seize the house

Kenya the next year on another trip

and land that was left to Mary and

with Mission Hope.

her older sister Irene. Luckily the






villagers stood up for the girls and

Pinkermans’ 2016 service trip and

stopped the individuals from seizing

the 2017 trip, Mary faced several


challenges, including the deaths of

relatives then looted the home and

her brother, grandmother and other

set it on fire in retaliation. Mary and

family members. “When we arrived

Irene were homeless. “I had no hope,”

in 2017, Brenda could tell something

said Mary. “I thought I would drop out




Ben and Brenda Pinkerman during the 2016 Mission Hope service trip.

Irene’s vegetable pits lined with plastic to conserve water. 23

of school and live on the streets.”

we decided she would go back to



her parents’ property to rebuild her

Brenda profoundly. “When you hear

home and start a farming operation,”

something like that it was clear that

said Jeff. “When she moved back, the

these girls truly were homeless and

house was still charred. There were

did not have anywhere to go,” she

no windows or doors. She slept in the

said. “Mary was really stressed out

burned structure as the home was

about what she would do during the

slowly rebuilt.”

school’s break because she no longer

Eventually, with the help of Mission

had a home to return to.”

Grow – Seeds of Change’s agricultural

After learning about the difficult

initiative – Irene was educated in

year the girls had faced, Jeff knew

effective farming practices, which are

what needed to be done. “By the end

critical for the operation to survive

of the meeting we said, don’t worry,

the area’s extreme climate.

you are our daughter now,” he said.

“Here the weather is too harsh,” said



Irene’s first harvest of green grams (beans).

Irene. “It is so hot and with the lack of

“We are so blessed to work for an employer that truly cares about people and provides opportunities like this.”

rain it makes farming challenging.” By using water conservation techniques and planting drought-resistant seeds, Irene was able to plant Chinese cabbage, pigeon peas, corn, beans and cowpeas. She also built a chicken

Irene’s first partial corn harvest.

coop, dug a deeper well and put in water tanks to capture and store rainwater. Irene




farming operation on the land left to her and Mary by their parents. The operation is doing so well that she has hosted several farm days on her property to educate local farmers about improved techniques. “Having Mission Hope and Mission Grow come

Vegetable pits on Mary and Irene’s farm.

together in that way has been really exciting for us,” said Brenda.


“It was a big moment for all of us. It

After two years of establishing the

really changed our lives and hopefully

farming operation, Irene has returned

theirs for the better as well.”

to University to pursue her master’s

Shortly after the family decided

degree in Engineering. Mary is also

to help Mary, Irene graduated from

enrolled in a university program



through Mission Hope, where she

Degree. Unfortunately, even though

has flourished. She is studying social

she was a smart young woman with

work. “She is a mentor and a leader

a degree, she was not able to find a

at her university. She’s looking people

job and had no funds to continue her

in the eye and she has confidence and

studies. The prospects for employment

true hope,” said Brenda. “Wherever

in Kenya are not particularly good for

she ends up she will have the

anyone, but especially a young woman

opportunity to help a lot of people. I

without any connections. “Together

really think she has the heart for it.”




Four 6,000 liter tanks were installed connected to rain gutters on the roof.

Mary and Irene’s home post construction.

“You can see the pride in these girls. They know they are accomplishing something and they are getting to the point where they won’t need our help anymore.”

The condition of Mary and Irene’s home after the fire.

Mary feels lucky to have this

“I think that is what gives people joy

opportunity through Seeds of Change

in life – to be able to do something on

and hopes to use it as a way to help

their own and be successful to add to

others. “I’m motivated each day when

other people’s lives.”

I wake up to do something good so

Jeff and Brenda have been able to see

that I can help others out there to get

the impact Seeds of Change has made

an opportunity, to be like me and not

firsthand through Mary and Irene.

to lose hope in their life,” said Mary.

“You can see the pride in these girls.



They know they are accomplishing

involved with Seeds of Change has

something and they are getting to the

changed their life for the better. “We

point where they won’t need our help

are so blessed to work for an employer

anymore,” said Jeff.

that truly cares about people and

Even after the girls no longer need

provides opportunities like this,” said

the assistance from Seeds of Change,

the Pinkermans. Today they both

Brenda and Jeff will always maintain

serve on the Seeds of Change Board of

their relationship with the girls and

Directors and actively recruit others

are grateful to the organization for

to get involved with the organization.

allowing them to meet Mary and

“I would encourage people to get

Irene. “The girls appreciate what kind

involved with Seeds of Change and

of an opportunity they have been

learn more about it. You will find that

given, and it is all because Seeds of

any funds that you donate are going

Change helped somebody come and

to change someone’s life,” said Jeff.

notice the last girl in line.”






POET Biorefining — Macon celebrated 20 years of operation this year.




POET Biorefining – Macon was Missouri’s first ethanol plant and began production in May of 2000 with an initial production capacity of 15 million gallons of ethanol. Today, the biorefinery produces 46 million gallons of ethanol per year and has added the production of Dakota Gold distillers grains and carbon dioxide. It is the largest company by revenue in Northeast Missouri and employs 45 people. To celebrate the 20-year anniversary, past and current employees, community members and local lawmakers including Missouri Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe attended an anniversary ceremony in September. The event included a bench dedication ceremony to John Eggleston, the former president of POET Biorefining — Macon and Northeast Missouri Grain Processors. General Manager Scott Tuttle said it was exciting to celebrate the progress made over 20 years. “We had a significant stabilizing force in demand for grain in northeast Missouri. We consume about 16 to 17 million bushels of corn each year and we enjoy dealing with and cooperating with our partners that are farmers. This is great for the area, great for us, great for the community.”



On Jan. 20, 2021, Joe Biden will

when the country seems divided due

incoming administration could do to

become the 46th president of the

to various social and political issues,

address all these issues right away on


biofuels remain a bipartisan solution.

Day One.




many twists and turns of the 2020 presidential campaign, biofuels and

The Importance of Biofuels

agriculture remained at the forefront


When President-elect Biden takes



office in January, he will face many

President-elect Biden brought issues

challenges. The devastating effects

to the national stage which will impact

of climate change are well under

the future of biofuels and agricultural

way, Americans are living through a

sectors. Both candidates supported

global health pandemic and economic

biofuels, American farmers and a

growth is badly needed. Taking action

strong rural economy. During a time

on biofuels policy is something the










fuels. According to the United States

of the conversation. Up until Election both



Department of Agriculture (USDA),

an additional 2 billion bushels of

will play in our fight against climate

ethanol reduces consumer impacts



change.” Indeed, biofuels are a critical,

of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs)

continually increase yields without

growing domestic agriculture market.

by 42% as compared to traditional

using more land, generating new

POET alone processes 13% of the U.S.

gasoline. Biofuels replace harmful

corn demand through nationwide E15

corn crop for ethanol, contributes



would help balance the market and

$1.4 billion in household incomes and

health risks, including worsening air

utilize surplus grain, helping to make

supports 26,000 jobs across the U.S.

pollution, which in turn makes already-

agriculture profitable by growing a

Every four years, Democrats from







reliable market. And when agriculture

across the country join together to

even more susceptible to COVID-19.

is profitable, it is easier for farmers to

craft the Democratic Party’s Platform

Higher blends of biofuels also support

incorporate emerging technologies to

which outlines the party’s policy

farmers and communities across the

make U.S. agriculture more and more

agenda on key issues, principles and

country. Biofuel blends like Unleaded

sustainable and in sync with nature.

values that the party — including the

88 are an affordable, readily available

During his candidacy, President-

leader of the party, President-elect

alternative to petroleum that are


Biden — will embrace.

approved for use in essentially all

biofuels and the integrity of the


existing cars, trucks and SUVs on the

Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In


road today.

response to a farm group candidate

with America’s farmers to make U.S.












Democratic mentions

Platform partnering


survey, the Biden team stated, “From

agriculture carbon neutral through

recognize these benefits and have

day one, we will use every tool at


the opportunity to work together

our disposal, including the federal

sustainable agriculture which will

to increase access to higher biofuel

fleet and the federal government’s

“open up new revenue streams for

blends for all Americans, addressing

purchasing power, to promote and

farmers in energy and waste products,

a number of key national priorities.

advance renewable energy, ethanol

and grow bio-based manufacturing

and other biofuels to help rural

jobs.” The Platform also calls on

America and our nation’s farmers,

Congress to strengthen the RFS and

and will honor the critical role the

support higher biofuel blends.

renewable fuel industry plays in

The Biden-Harris administration


supporting the rural economy and the

can strengthen the rural economy by

the nation will drive demand for

leadership role American agriculture

upholding the RFS and putting an end

Supporting our Farmers Making









to Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs).

30 pending SRE applications from

further increase demand destruction.

In a statement regarding SREs issued

2019-2020. The Trump administration

While President-elect Biden has not

in August 2020, then-candidate Biden

has asked the Supreme Court for

stated how he plans to handle the

stated, “Those waivers severely cut

additional time to respond to the

pending SREs, the decision represents

ethanol production, costing farmers

2019-2020 applications. If granted, the

an opportunity for the administration

income and ethanol plant workers

SREs would allow refiners to hand in

to deliver on promises made during

their jobs... The Renewable Fuel

credits that account for less than the

his campaign.

Standard marks our bond with our

total 2020 biofuel volume mandate. It

farmers and our commitment to a

is unclear if a decision will be made

thriving rural economy.�

before the Trump administration

Biofuels & Ag to Solve Climate Change

In September, the Environmental

leaves office in January or if President-

Protection Agency (EPA) issued a

elect Biden will oversee the decision

President-elect Biden has promised

decision to reject a majority of the

once in office.

to begin tackling the existential threat

68 retroactive SREs from petroleum

Ethanol producers and farmers

of climate change on Day One of his

refiners seeking to illegally bypass the



administration. Biden campaigned on

RFS requirements from as far back

impacts due to COVID-19. Granting

using agriculture to address climate

as 2011. However, there are still over

the pending SRE applications would

change. In the Biden-Harris Plan to




“Build Back Better” in rural America,

of removing an additional 4.5 to 6.2

E15 which drive down GHGs from


million vehicles from the road.


strengthen the agricultural sector by

In addition to expanding access to

Addressing GHG emissions from

“promoting biofuels, and partnering

E15, the Biden-Harris administration

transportation by expanding access

with farmers to achieve net-zero

should remove or improve retail fuel

to E15 is the first step to addressing



labeling requirements for E15. E15

the climate crisis. The Biden-Harris

sources of income in the process.”

compatible vehicles represent more

administration should also consider

This has proven to be a winning policy

than 97% of vehicle miles traveled.

leveraging the enormous potential of

for rural voters. In response to a July

However, EPA labeling requirements

the agricultural sector as a key tool in

survey of potential voters in Iowa,


the fight against climate change.

Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan,

hazardous looking labels on E15

Biden’s climate action plan includes

64% of those surveyed agreed that

pumps. These labels give consumers

“leveraging agriculture to remove

farmers can be a bigger part of the

the false impression that E15 is

carbon dioxide from the air and store

climate change solution by driving

dangerous for their vehicle. There

it in the ground.” According to the

sustainable innovation and new bio-

has never been any evidence that

U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action

based products that help replace

E15 damages engines and consumers

(USFRA), American farmland already


deserve labeling that is accurate and

stores 100 times more carbon than the

Biofuels and agriculture can work

fair. All fuel pumps should be labeled

U.S. emits every year. As time goes on,

together to solve climate change by

the same or the labeling specifically

voluntary practices like precision ag,

immediately expanding access to E15

for E15 should be updated to make

low-till, no-till and ridge-till farming,

across the country. The nationwide

it clear the fuel is compatible with

and planting cover crops – backed with

transition from E10 to E15 would

most vehicles on the road. This


reduce emissions to the equivalent

would allow more Americans to use

– have enormous potential to make














agriculture an even bigger carbon


sink and make major improvements

transportation arteries congested with


in environmental health.

traffic are often disproportionately


affected by air pollution from tailpipe

offering higher biofuel blends, the

emissions. According to the American



Bipartisan Support








funding retailers




immediately take steps to strengthen

The Biden team has set many goals

to traffic pollution not only makes

the agricultural sector while allowing

for the next four years. It’s always

these populations more vulnerable

more Americans access to renewable,




to COVID-19; it also increases the risk

low-carbon, affordable biofuels and








of asthma, birth defects and cancers,

the benefits that come with it.

Democrats won the presidency and

among other health effects. Ethanol

It is time for both sides of the aisle

maintained control of the U.S House

lowers harmful tailpipe particulate

to meet in the middle on solutions

of Representatives, but depending



for the nation’s most pressing issues.

on the results of run-off elections in

and dangerous BTEX chemicals in

Increasing access to higher blends of

Georgia, Republicans could maintain

gasoline. It also drives savings at

biofuels across the country offers the

their majority in the U.S. Senate. To

the pump, making ethanol the most

key to building back a better economy,

get through both chambers and the

affordable, low-carbon fuel available

a cleaner environment and a healthier

President’s desk, any new climate or

for the massive fleet of conventional

future — for all Americans.

renewable fuel policy will need strong

vehicles on the road today and for

bipartisan support.

decades to come.



While urban voters helped elect Mr. Biden president, rural voters returned many


to the clear intent of Congress and



The Path Forward


Congress to Washington. The result is

The path forward with a divided

a nation deeply divided along political


and demographic lines, the impact of

support and policies that deliver

which could be significant for issues

solutions for all Americans — from

like agriculture, the environment and

major cities to small towns. Americans

the economy.


Fortunately, biofuels have been and


will remain a bipartisan solution to

support by electing both Republican

issues that impact the entire country

and Democratic biofuel champions.

— regardless of political affiliation or

Biofuel’s indisputable benefits and

geographic location.

bipartisan appeal gives the Biden-

Biofuels may be the engine that


keeps the rural economy running,

opportunity to tackle climate, air

but they also offer significant benefits

quality and economic recovery from

for urban Americans. In the era

Day One.



By enforcing the RFS, ending SREs,

is especially important. However,

setting blending targets according





the they



importance showed




of their







Transportation Policies and Biofuels Supporting the Fight Against Climate Change

More states are joining the fight against climate change by taking action on transportation policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from passenger vehicles. Here are a few of the clean fuel policy opportunities that could help shift states and major cities away from pollution and fossil fuel dominance to cleaner fuel alternatives. While the methods may differ, it is clear that whatever approach state governments and regional collaborations may take, there is a much bigger role for agriculture and biofuels.




California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) The California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is a set of regulations designed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to decrease the carbon intensity of California’s transportation fuel pool and provide a range of low-carbon and renewable alternatives, which reduce petroleum dependency and achieve air quality benefits. The program scores each transportation fuel based on the GHG emissions associated with its production, transportation and use. Fuel providers must demonstrate that the fuels they supply for the California market meet the LCFS carbon intensity standards. POET continues to lead the biofuels industry in the development of lower-carbon fuels and increasingly sustainable production practices. Working with Farmers Business Network (FBN) through a platform called Gradable, POET is developing a more accurate measure of the carbon intensity score of our producer partners to measure and reward sustainable farming, and measure the full lifecycle benefits of biofuels.



Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) The Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) is a regional collaboration of 12 Northeast and MidAtlantic jurisdictions that seeks to enhance the clean energy economy, improve transportation and reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector. Last year, TCI outlined their recommendations to reduce GHG emissions. Central to their strategy is a cap-and-invest policy framework that would cap CO2 emissions on petroleum and encourage investments in more affordable and environmentally-friendly options. While the specific details and jurisdictions are still being developed, TCI’s approach could reinforce the carbon-cutting advantages of biofuels and incentivize the expansion of blends like E15 and E85 across the northeast. The collaboration could also deliver an almost immediate improvement in air quality, reducing many of the dangerous health risks associated with tailpipe emissions.

Other States’ LCFS A number of other states including Washington, Colorado, New York and states in the Midwest are






regulation to reduce GHG emissions associated with transportation. POET applauds state leaders and policymakers for making the climate and cleaner fuels top priorities. Recently, POET joined the Midwestern Clean Fuels Initiative, facilitated by the Great Plains Institute, representing a broad coalition of fuels producers and marketers, nonprofit and research organizations, scientists and engineers and agriculture and industry stakeholders. The group has outlined a clean fuel policy for the Midwest including best practices and necessary features to accurately measure and properly incentivize




biofuels. As more states consider these policies it’s critical that they apply these best practices and account for biofuels appropriately.



Nationwide adoption of E15 In 2019, the EPA finalized a rule allowing the year-round sale of E15. This announcement marked a huge win for biofuel producers, farmers, consumers and the planet. Today, more and more states are unlocking the potential of E15. While the EPA has approved E15 for sale year-round, there are still a handful of states which prohibit the sale of E15 altogether. According to the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, from 2006 to 2016 biofuels cut transportation related carbon emissions in the U.S. by 589 million metric tons, the equivalent to removing more than 124 million cars from the road. E15 will do even more. The higher percentage of biofuels in liquid fuels means even more reductions in harmful emissions. Nationwide adoption of E15 is an immediate way to make progress on climate change and its devastating effects. The nationwide adoption of E15 also has the potential to open up 7 billion gallons of new ethanol demand and generate approximately 2 billion bushels of new corn demand annually. It will bring down global surpluses of grain and increase commodity prices all while lowering fuel costs at the pump for consumers everywhere. E15 is efficient and affordable. It’s cleaner and less expensive than petroleum and works with almost all existing cars, trucks and SUVs. Currently, 30 states offer E15 at over 2,000 retail locations.



Purified Alcohol: A Product for the Future by Marcella Prokop



hen company culture is grounded in curiosity

ethanol’s potential for use across a broad range of products.

and a desire to dream

One of the ways POET seeks to

big, there’s no limit on

displace petroleum and make the

the impact team members

world a better place is through the

can make. This has been the case at


POET since 1987, when founder and

which is also known as industrial

CEO Jeff Broin started the company,


illustrating that ethanol could make a

Currently, everyday products such

difference in the world.


For the past 33 years, POET, the

cosmetics and even hand sanitizers

world’s largest biofuels producer,

are made using petroleum-derived

has been building on Broin’s dreams

alcohol. But a purified alcohol made

by encouraging employees to never

from plants is much cleaner and safer

be satisfied with the status quo and

for consumers and the environment.

always contemplate what’s next for the

“We’re exploring everything we

biofuels industry. This has cemented

can to displace petroleum,” said Matt

POET’s position at the forefront of

Reiners, Vice President of Business

innovation, giving its various teams a

Development for POET Nutrition.

good understanding of how to harness

“Whether that’s hand sanitizer or the






industrial detergents,

alcohol, alcohol.



cosmetics that go on your face, we’re

POET ethanol plants making fuel at

green and we’re renewable, and we

one end and distilleries, making a

work as well as any petrochemical out

product for human consumption at


the other.

And when the product is made to

Along this spectrum are “tens-to-

hit the highest end of the industrial


alcohol spectrum — as it is at POET

said. These specifications include

facilities — it’s just about as clean as

requirements for things like alcohol-

an alcohol can be.


Hitting the high end of the spectrum “Purified alcohol is a general term used to describe all alcohol markets between fuel grade and beverage grade,” said Adam Hass, Director of Engineering for POET. It is part of a spectrum that includes traditional






and paints. Each market has specific purity requirements that the alcohol, in this case, ethanol, must meet. In turn, each grade requires different processes and garners a different price, based on the purity level required. Products which are intended to come into contact with human skin, like hand sanitizer, must meet higher

“We’re exploring everything we can to displace petroleum. Whether that’s hand sanitizer or the cosmetics that go on your face, we’re green and we’re renewable, and we work as well as any petrochemical out there.”

purity standards for consumer use. Matt Reiners, Vice President of Business Development for POET Nutrition



The Food and Drug Administration


(FDA) requires a pharmaceutical-

alcohol at a large scale.

standard fuel-grade ethanol while

grade specification (USP) for these

POET couldn’t have predicted that

scaling up to further expand into

types of products whereas fuel grade

this knowledge would be crucial in

the purified alcohol market. Right

ethanol does not have the same USP

helping protect their friends and

now, three plants are capable of


neighbors just a few months later,

manufacturing hand sanitizer as well

but when a global shortage of hand

as pharmaceutical-grade ethanol for

sanitizer prompted ethanol producers

hand sanitizer manufacturers.

to jump into the purified alcohol

On October 15, 2020 POET broke

The process to begin production of

market, this knowledge literally saved

ground on an expansion project

purified alcohol began in 2017 when



POET Biorefining – Mitchell ran some



initial production and quality trials. In



early 2019, the engineering team began to assess opportunities for adding

on the individual compounds that

of 30-35 million gallons of purified

large-scale purified alcohol facilities

make up our fuel-grade ethanol,”

alcohol annually beginning in 2021.

to other POET locations. Hass said that

Hass said. This, in turn, helped POET

Additional biorefineries will be also

by fall of that year, the research team

move quickly from producing fuel-

begin producing purified alcohol in

had outlined the process technologies,

grade ethanol to producing a highly

2021. The COVID-19 crisis drove this

capital expenditures and operating

purified alcohol.

pivot, but POET’s initial research into

Planning for the future












to accommodate the production of


purified alcohol. The $25 million

capabilities are and better knowledge

investment will lead to the production







the market poised POET to be able to

desire to help meet the critical need

respond to the pandemic as quickly as

of hand sanitizers as the COVID-19

possible to meet the critical demand

pandemic swept across the nation.

for sanitizer.

The result was a high quality product that met pre-pandemic standards of

As pure as possible


said that safety was a top concern. “We maybe didn’t get material on the market as fast as others, but we made sure we were doing things correctly,” he said.

Rod Pierson, Senior Vice President While POET

it to







Design and Construction, said this









commitment to safety is something

the past, as the company dove into

every team member at POET worked

creating a product that could be used

toward, even as they were working

for a plant-based hand sanitizer, POET

around the clock to adapt.

knew they wanted their product to be

“The trials in Mitchell helped us

as pure as possible. Not only would

because we had an understanding

this allow them to work with sanitizer

of how close we were to reaching


the needed specifications,” he said.




consumer safety.

“Some of that work gave us an

In March, after just one week of

understanding of where we were and

reviewing prior research, retrofitting

where we needed to be to meet USP

facilities and conducting trial runs,

standards. This allowed us to meet the

POET produced a high-quality purified

requirements faster.”

alcohol. This move stemmed from the

Although POET wanted to put its

compassion of team members and the

research to the test quickly, Pierson

“The trials in Mitchell helped us because we had an understanding of how close we were to reaching the needed specifications. Some of that work gave us an understanding of where we were and where we needed to be to meet USP standards. This allowed us to meet the requirements faster.” Rod Pierson, Senior Vice President and General Manager for POET Design and Construction

POET executives, Indiana policymakers and members of the Alexandria community joined together to break ground on the expansion at POET Biorefining-Alexandria.



Looking to the future Although




purified alcohol is a win for customers who





petroleum-free product, it’s also a win for the whole world, says Darin Cartwright, Vice President of Trading and Development. As





purified alcohol markets, “farmers

working with POET will have access

opportunities for people and the

to local innovations that can take their


crops farther,” he said. “Companies

“The entire world benefits when the

will have more opportunities for

agricultural sector becomes a greener,

petroleum-free products. Outside the

leaner machine. It will probably

U.S., it means more opportunities for

benefit us right now in the high-purity

customers to connect with a product

alcohol world with hand sanitizer, but


consumers as a whole are demanding





economically sound and safer.”

products made from more renewable

Reiners agrees with Cartwright’s


assessment, noting that a large part of POET’s work is about creating




Honoring the Last American Hero by Ryan Welsh Corn whiskey, moonshine, liquor or just plain whiskey were all terms used to describe a coproduct that came from the Robert Glenn Johnson farm back in the 1950s. Robert’s corn whiskey was known as the finest in the state of North Carolina. Due to the economic and traditional crop circumstances at that time, homemade whiskey production was the only alternative to poverty in the area. With the timber, brush and back bent winding roads, Wilkes County, North Carolina was the perfect spot to hide a whiskey operation. Robert Glenn Johnson II, also known as Junior, became the delivery specialist for the family industry. It was a career he honed into perfection. He expected a car chase from the tax revenuers every night and every night he got one. Not once did they ever catch him with a car. Not even close. Junior was known in the county for a 180-degree turn with his car known as a bootleg turn or

go home. Lose with a load of whiskey and you go to

about-face. According to him all you had to do was throw the

jail,” Junior once said.

car into second gear, cock the wheel, step on the gas and the rear end would slide around in a perfect 180-degree arc. It’s a

He once said. After a night driving back from a win

great move if you are coming up on a roadblock or someone’s

in Pennsylvania, Junior arrived at the family farm.

got you pinned down. Having to learn the car inside and out,

His father was going to bed and asked him to fire

fix the car, soup up the car and drive the car made him into

up the still. Little did he know Tax Revenue Agents

a perfect candidate for the newly formed NASCAR™ circuit.

laid in wait. After a year in a federal penitentiary,

“Moonshiners put more time, energy, thought and love into

Junior never ran moonshine for his father again.

their cars than any racer ever will. Lose on the track and you

He became a full-time NASCAR™ driver. Junior came to Daytona in 1960 with an older Chevy and a speed in the double digits slower than the fast Pontiacs. He almost turned tail and headed home but discovered something on race day. When he would tuck in close behind the faster cars his speed increased to match theirs. That was how he discovered the aerodynamic draft, a major part of modern-day racing. He



ended up winning that day and changed NASCAR™ forever. In 1965 metropolitan author Tom Wolfe from Esquire Magazine was assigned to do a feature story on Junior. The NASCAR™ phenomena and the people were not at all what

2020 American Ethanol Throwback Paint Scheme at Darlington

he expected to encounter. As a result, Wolfe published a legendary story which boosted the sport to a national level. He also came away with a lifelong friend in Junior who he coined “The Last American Hero”. Junior Johnson racked up 50 wins over 14 years in the NASCAR Cup Series™. He is the only driver to win that many races and not win a championship. As an owner, he won the championship 6 times and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame™ in 2010. He passed away in December at the age of 88.




Prime the PumpUSDA Awards First Round of Funding Under HBIIP by Jessica Sexe




More Americans across the country will be able to access higher blends of biofuels thanks to the Higher Blends Infrastructure



(HBIIP). Through HBIIP, the United States




(USDA) will share costs with fuel retailers retrofitting

related and





storage, dispenser pumps and other related equipment and infrastructure. In






USDA goal $100

announced to




promote greater access and sales of

retailers on board to expand their

higher blends of ethanol. In October, the USDA announced the first round of grants totaling $22 million for projects in 14 states, increasing ethanol demand by 150 million gallons annually. So far, grants have been awarded for projects in California, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin. These projects are a critical step toward increasing access to higher blends of biofuel, which will create a necessary, growing market for U.S. corn and provide consumers with cleaner fuel options. Jeff Broin, Founder and CEO of POET, applauded the USDA’s decision to help bolster the domestic market for grain through the HBIIP program.

“It’s arguably harder than ever to be a successful American farmer. Yields are increasing, prices are decreasing and most markets remain flat. However, biofuels are poised for growth.”

“It’s arguably harder than ever to

offerings of higher blends of biofuels. “100% of the retailers we worked with received funding through HBIIP. We were focused on getting more gallons of higher biofuel blends sold so we went to the top retailers in the country. We knew this is where we needed to be to expand access of biofuels to the greatest number of consumers,” said O’Brien. Large,




move significant volume and are growing new demand for E15 and E85 across the U.S. The average fuel retailer Growth Energy worked with for HBIIP funding sells approximately 1.5 million gallons of fuel annually, compared to the industry average of 800,000 gallons. “This strategy allowed us to make the biggest impact as possible with the grant dollars

be a successful American farmer.


Yields are increasing, prices are

As of October, there are more than

decreasing and most markets remain

2,240 retail locations offering E15,

flat. However, biofuels are poised for

often marketed as Unleaded88. In

growth.” Growth Energy, the nation’s leading

million in grants for over 290 sites

2020 alone – despite COVID and a

biofuel trade association, worked

selling more than 400 million gallons

50% drop in fuel demand – retail

with several fuel retailers to help

of blended fuels annually.

sites offering E15 increased by 10%.

secure HBIIP funding. Relying on their

Mike O’Brien, Growth Energy’s Vice

O’Brien attributes the growth in

network of retail partners, Growth

President of Market Development,

higher biofuel blends to consumer

Energy was able to secure nearly $30

played a key role in getting fuel








“I think we’re going to keep seeing growth. Next year we’re already planning to bring an additional 800 sites above where we’re at today and I would expect to see another couple of thousand the year after that. It all speaks to how great of a product E15 is.”

competitive for



additional 800 sites above where


we’re at today and I would expect to

blend options for their

see another couple of thousand the

customers,” said O’Brien.

year after that. It all speaks to how

On average, fuel retailers

great of a product E15 is.”


see sales increases of 20%

HBIIP is a significant first step in

total volume when E15 is

helping to improve consumer access

sold on the same hose as

to biofuel blends. To continue the

other grades of fuel.

success of the program, it is critical

Fuel retailers will have

that the Environmental Protection

18 months to implement








O’Brien is hopeful access to higher biofuel blends will continue to increase long after the new equipment is placed in service. “I think we’re going to keep seeing growth. Next year


we’re already planning to bring an









outdated remove

unnecessary confusion for consumers at the pump.

DIRECTORY To receive free information about products or services advertised or listed in this issue, please contact advertisers via their web address.

PG ADVERTISER 51 AgCountry 09 BBI 15

GEA Group


Growth Energy

08 Novozymes 02 POET 52 POET-DSM 35 POET 54

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open doors to big solutions POET.COM

When the first POET plant opened over thirty years ago, it opened the door to endless world-changing possibilities. Beyond that threshold we’ve discovered a world of innovative renewable energy solutions. Biofuels, nutrient-rich proteins and oil alternatives are just the beginning.


Octane is the King of the Castle Automotive advice from The Under the Hood radio show Octane is the King of the Castle. Or at least the gatekeeper.


Without it, you are not going far.

compression and therefore need the higher octane, or they







would have a huge problem with detonation. When it comes to internal combustion spark-ignition engines that run on gasoline or a blend of ethanol and gas

What would happen if the manufacturers had a higher

there are some rules. Poor quality fuel could not be thrown

octane mandated across the board at the fuel pump? Well,

into any engine and be expected to work perfectly. If we

fuel mileage and horsepower could increase and if the

did not have octane to aide in the combustion process the

octane comes from ethanol, harmful tailpipe emissions

car as we know it today would certainly not exist. The

could be reduced. If manufacturers had the octane, they

high-output, supercharged engines that have come on the

could increase compression. However, as it stands that will

market over the past decade are a result, in part, due to the

not work because the number at the pump is just too low

fuel we have available to us. Fuel that also results in cleaner

unless you pay the high cost for premium.

tailpipe emissions. So why don’t we just raise the octane at the pump across Let’s take a quick look at octane. For many of us it is a

the board? Well, octane is expensive to produce and if you

familiar term that is used in many ad campaigns and at the

were to raise the numbers across the board the price would

pump but what is it and what does it really do?

increase quite a bit. There is a proven alternative though: ethanol. It is a natural way to greatly increase octane in

The Octane rating is the measure fuel stability, the more

gasoline when blended because pure ethanol is 113 octane

the better to a point. Octane controls the pressure at which

without having to add anything to it. It is also much cheaper

a fuel will spontaneously combust in an engine, meaning

and cleaner than producing octane from oil, so low octane

ignite itself. To come up with the octane number they

gasoline blended with high-octane ethanol is affordable for

average the two different octane rating methods: motor

drivers, cleaner to the environment and proven to be a safe

octane number, or MON, and research octane number, or

option for automotive engines. That would be an affordable

RON. The higher an octane the more stable the fuel.

way to keep drivers happy and give manufacturers what they need to continue to produce internal combustion

So, why should we care about how stable a fuel is once it


is in our engine? It is just going to burn anyway right? So here is the deal. If a fuel is not very stable it will explode

The Under The Hood radio show is America’s Favorite Car-

(auto-ignite without a spark). If that happens the engine

talk show heard on over 230 stations and podcast. The Motor

will beat itself to death because the piston is not at the top

Medics, Russ Chris and Shannon are three great friends

of its travel when the fuel ignites and that makes the engine


fight itself. You know this is happening because you can

offering a wide range

hear it while driving and it sounds like a rattle. That sound

of automotive advice

is damaging your engine.

without the aid of in-



studio computers or reference guides.




$100/Hour Jobs by Brian Hefty When I was growing up, my dad said, “Brian, if you want to

For example, you have a choice to watch TV, take care of

be successful in business, you’ve got to find $100 an hour

something your spouse needs you to do, or read a magazine.

jobs. Do those jobs yourself, and pay someone else to do the

Which is the $100 an hour job? As a husband for over 20

$5 an hour jobs.”

years that answer is pretty obvious.

Whenever I tell that story, I always ask people, “Who do

Back to the financial talk, what are you spending your work

you think was doing Dad’s $5/hour jobs?” Yup. My brother

time at? Whether your business is farming or anything else,

Darren and me. The reason why I’m bringing this up today

whether you are an owner or an employee, it doesn’t matter.

is because 2020 has been an economic struggle for most,

Always look at which tasks earn the business more money

but this is the story that has always helped us get through

and which ones don’t. Think about every single minute of

tough times, so let me explain it a little more.

every day. How can you make your time more productive? While you might not average $100/hour for your ultimate

Here’s how my dad described it. He said, “Think about all

wage or your business earnings, the more productive you

those farmers out there who spend their time painting their

are each minute of each day and the more valuable the jobs

barn, fixing their fence or mowing their lawn. They could

you are doing, you and your business will eventually earn

hire anyone to do those jobs for $5 an hour, but instead,


they hire someone to come in and do their spraying, their planting or their harvesting. All those jobs easily pay $100 an

My dad passed away last year, but he had so many good

hour.” For example, a custom sprayer comes in and charges

stories on work and business that I actually wrote a book

$8 an acre. He can spray 50 acres per hour. Multiplying that

a few years ago called $100 an Hour Jobs: Lessons from

out, that’s $400 an hour. Sure, some expenses go along with

Dad. While I didn’t appreciate many of those lessons as a

that, but net, the farmer should be able to make $100 to

kid, they have all been pertinent at some point in my life.

$150 an hour doing his own spraying.

That said, the $100 an hour job discussion is the one that stuck with me the most, and it’s one I still use every single

The older I’ve gotten, the more I realize that everyone has

day. Sure, with inflation after all these years, we should

opportunities for $100 an hour jobs. It basically all comes

probably call it $200/hour or something like that, but you

back to time management. Also, don’t think this is all about

get the point.

money. It’s also about regular, ordinary, everyday life. If this is the first time you’ve heard Dad’s strategy of doing the $100/hour jobs yourself and paying someone else to do the $5/hour jobs, do yourself a favor, write down the words “$100/hour” on a sheet of paper. Stick that paper in your pocket and pull it out a few times a day for the next month. Let that simple note guide your work and your actions. If you find yourself wasting time on jobs that aren’t paying $100 an hour to you or your business, get back on task. Remember, the world wants to drag you down to its level. You’re better than that. You’re worth $100 an hour, so get to work!




Thanks for the Lemons by Scott Johnson, Data Systems Administrator, POET

We had so many plans for 2020. Vacations, festivals, dining

and interrupted plans. Likely because life distributes an

out, not washing our hands. Just the same old regular stuff,

abundant and continual supply of upheaval. The composers

but we found comfort in those plans and confidence that

of these inspirational phrases encourage us to convert

life would carry on pretty much like it always has. Then

this upheaval to a favorable outcome. Despite our initial

2020 turned sour and our plans went out the window.

complaints, we’re actually pretty adept at executing...when

Thankfully, we can rely on idioms and inspirational phrases

the risk is low. When life recently handed us lemons in the

to help us through these tough times.

form of closed hair salons, we bravely cut our own hair.

“When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.”

When life canceled the concert we planned to attend, we

What an encouraging mantra to help us turn a sour

learned the ukulele and explored the artist’s catalogue

situation into sweet success! Unfortunately, life neglected

ourselves. (Unless the song included an E chord - E chords

to also give us sugar, potable water and a suitable container

are hard.) When life dealt us a crummy hand, we invented

for storage and distribution. Now all we are able to make is

a game of modified poker/UNO where playing the Jack

unsweetened lemon paste. Even a lemon zester would have

of clubs forces all opponents to skip a turn and draw 4

been useful. Thanks for the lemons, 2020.

cards from the pile. These were small, fairly insignificant

“When one door is closed, another door is opened.”

sacrifices that helped make sour situations a bit sweeter.

Another poignant reminder that as opportunities disappear,

It’s not so easy to adapt when the stakes are higher. 2020

another opportunity may present itself. But instead of

gave us some little lemons. But it also delivered us some

representing opportunity, sometimes that open door is a

overgrown, bitingly-bitter lemons. We can’t give them back

result of my family haphazardly entering and exiting the

because life didn’t include a gift receipt for which we might

house allowing our exclusively-indoor cat to escape. Again.

return the lemons for full refund (or even store credit.) The

Stop opening all these doors! Thanks for the lemons, 2020.

lemon customer service counter has been converted to a

(Also see: “Window of opportunity”)

contactless, virtual interaction with choppy wifi. We didn’t

“You play the hand you’re dealt.” In a game of poker,

ask for these lemons. But make no mistake, they are ours

you can only play the cards that have been given to you. In

to deal with. At this point, my references are so cryptic and

the game of life, we can only use what we’re given to forge

metaphorical, I’m not sure what I’m talking about anymore

our way to prosperity. Sometimes, we’re dealt a straight

either. However, I do know this: we can’t always go back

flush! Unfortunately, we were all playing UNO in 2020. That

to the way things were. And in some cases, we shouldn’t

hand is completely irrelevant, much less beneficial. What

go back. Some of our lemons are unforeseen opportunities,

am I supposed to do with a Jack of Clubs in UNO? Thanks

ripe with potential. They represent the source of a

for the lemons, 2020.

refreshing path forward. Instead of fighting to revert to a

“Don’t cry over spilled milk.” On the surface, this seems

pre-lemony way of life, we can fight to acquire a little bit of

like good symbolic advice, urging us not to be concerned

sugar. And then go make some dang lemonade. If we can do

with a past we can’t change. Unless you spill literal milk

that, 2021 will be pretty sweet.

in the trunk of your car on the way back from the grocery store and that milk leaks to the bottom of the spare tire well where it shall remain for all eternity. Then I believe crying is an acceptable coping mechanism. They say that smell is the sense most strongly tied to memory. I’ll never forget 2020 as long as I own that car. Thanks for the lemons, 2020. There are countless metaphors dealing with adversity



DOWN 1. Utterance of a finger wagger 2. Break the ___ 3. Crack 4. Star cars 5. Oscar winner for the song

“Lose Yourself”

6. Fr. martyress, maybe 7. Prefix with bytes 8. Realize 9. Pitch black 10. Auto with a trident logo 11. Ancestors 12. Stew morsel 13. And so on, abbr. 18. As much 22. Spanish port 23. Shoe’s end 24. Express delight 25. Like falling off a log 27. Table centerpiece 28. Reg.


31. International Civil Aviation org. 32. Grammy category

1. Spine legend

42. Railroad warning flare

36. High school subj.

6. Play, in a way

43. Strong smell

39. Hard up

11. Chimp, e.g.

44. Int’l aid overseer, often

40. Couldn’t stand

14. Theater backdrop fabric

46. Still

41. Victor’s momento

15. Mrs. Mulder on “The X-Files”

47. Political group

42. Craze

16. What’s left after deductions

49. Explosive

45. Not needing a

17. Some components of

50. Less stimulating

52. 3.26 light-years

48. Attacked

19. Middle X of X-X-X

54. Computer bulletin

51. Crew member

20. Beatle’s wife

53. Disturbs

21. Each, in pricing

57. Medical care grp.

55. Lima’s locale

23. Bristly plant

58. RX abbr.

56. Use scissors

26. Remnants

60. Number of locations where

58. N.F.L. stats

29. Walk-__: minor roles

59. Health resort

30. Russian-born Israeli politician

65. Pixel density

61. ___ off on the links

33. Slick

66. Unnatural

62. Hodges of the Dodgers

34. Parisian summer

67. Excuse

63. Cable TV network

35. Wound reminder

68. Useful envelope, for short

64. Small songbird

37. Helped get through,

69. Peach or cherry

70. Letter-shaped opening

POET’s “syrup”

with ‘over’

board overseers

POET produces ethanol

prescription (abbr.)

38. POET’s FDA approved

product that stops bacteria


in their tracks




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 - Fall 2020  

Vital Magazine - Fall 2020