Speakers Announced for NEC

To view the agenda and see which industry experts are scheduled to speak at the 22nd annual National Ethanol Conference, visit nationalethanolconference.com.  In the agenda, you can click on the various panel topics to read a complete description and see who is confirmed to present.  We’ll continue to update the online agenda as additional speakers are confirmed!  Register by Jan. 27 to save $100 and take advantage of our hotel room rate discount at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

New Panel Spotlight

We are pleased to feature a brand new panel on Tuesday afternoon, February 21 entitled, “Perspectives on the RFS and the Point of Obligation.”  Panelists will present their views regarding the ongoing debate about the Point of Obligation under the RFS, and the potential impacts of such a change on the effectiveness of the RFS and volatility in the RIN market.  The panel features:

  • Richard Walsh, Officer and Senior VP, Valero Renewables Fuels Company LLC
  • R. Timothy Columbus, SIGMA Legal Counsel, Steptoe & Johnson

Keep checking back for agenda updates and speaker announcements at nationalethanolconference.com.


Exclusive Preview of the NEC Agenda is Here

NEC 2017, Building Partnerships, Growing Markets, provides an exclusive opportunity to engage key decision-makers and industry executives, while networking and learning about the latest technologies and government policies. Industry experts will address our successes, as well as what more we can do together to develop both domestic and foreign markets, including expanding infrastructure, blends above E10, high octane fuels and exports.

Featured Session Highlights Include:

  • Discussion on Future of Fuels Policy – Moving the conversation beyond today’s policy battles, we will foster a frank dialogue among sometimes competing stakeholders in the fuel production and marketing sectors.
  • Paving the Road to a High Octane, Low Carbon Future Automakers, DOE scientists, and other experts agree that octane is the key to enabling greater efficiency and reduced emissions in the internal combustion engines of the future. This panel will discuss the benefits of high octane low carbon fuels, and examine the hurdles to broad commercialization in the future.
  • Understanding Gasoline Markets and Ethanol Considerations –The demographics of those that own fuel stations continues to evolve, and those owners have many considerations when making significant changes to fuel offerings. This panel will discuss all aspects and explain why some retailers have embraced with open arms, and while others remain on the sidelines.
  • Global Demand Drivers and Trends Fueling Ethanol Growth –This presentation will provide attendees with an in-depth look at the current market trends associated with global trade in ethanol, and the key factors driving the demand for ethanol around the globe, including issues such as low-carbon initiatives, octane demand, efforts to replace MTBE and monetizing carbon.
  • Opportunities for Ethanol Export in Target Markets –In connection with this year’s International Buyer Program, experts from each of the 5 top global markets participating in the program (Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Korea) will make up a panel that will provide valuable information about each market and outline export opportunities that exist there now and in the near future.    
  • Agriculture Working Together to Move Rural America Forward –A free-wheeling conversation about the current state of the farm economy, the policy impact of historic surpluses, and moving past the food versus fuel canard. Can we rebuild relationships with animal agriculture?
  • Trends in the Evolution of the Ethanol Industry –Some say grain ethanol is a “mature technology,” but nothing could be further from the truth, as producers continue to innovate and adopt new technologies. Speakers will address the trends and best practices that have resulted in a more efficient and more diverse industry.   

The full agenda will be released soon.  Check back at nationalethanolconference.com for updates!

Scholarships Available to Attend National Ethanol Conference

For the eighth year, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is partnering with the Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF) to offer scholarships to students who are interested in attending the National Ethanol Conference (NEC), scheduled for Feb. 20–22, 2017 in San Diego.

Six scholarships are available to students in higher education to attend NEC. Scholarships cover the cost of the conference registration fee—an $899 value. Recipients are responsible for other costs associated with travel to the conference, including airfare, hotel and meals.

“The NEC is the most widely attended ethanol industry conference and provides an exclusive opportunity to directly engage key decision makers and industry executives,” said Bob Sather, chairman of the Renewable Fuels Foundation and chairman of ACE Ethanol. “This scholarship is an incentive to provide students with a real live experience with worldwide leaders in the ethanol industry. The conference is the best classroom for these students to learn and network.”

This year’s NEC, “Building Partnerships, Growing Markets,” offers students the opportunity to receive an in-depth look into the ethanol industry, as speakers are set to address such topics as higher ethanol blends, the Renewable Fuel Standard, E15 and global marketing.

Interested students should submit a 500-word essay explaining how their attendance at the NEC will help them achieve their future goals. They should also submit two letters of recommendation, an up-to-date resume, and a school transcript. Scholarships are only available to students who are attending a U.S. institution of higher learning or foreign students who are affiliated with the U.S. ethanol industry.

For full consideration, applications must be received by Dec. 23. Application materials can be found here.

Registration for 2017 NEC Underway

Registration is now open for the Renewable Fuels Association’s 22nd annual National Ethanol Conference (NEC), to be held Feb. 20–22, 2017 in San Diego. The theme for the NEC will be “Building Partnerships, Growing Markets.”

The NEC provides an exclusive opportunity to engage key decision makers and industry executives, while networking and learning about the latest technologies and government policies. Speakers will address a number of topics, including expanding infrastructure, blends above E10, high octane fuels and exports.

“It is no surprise that the National Ethanol Conference is the most widely attended ethanol industry conference and can’t miss annual event,” said RFA Board Chairman Mick Henderson, general manager of Commonwealth Agri-Energy LLC, which operates a 33-million gallon per year ethanol plant in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. “The conference always has a panoply of speakers to inform attendees about ways we can continue to grow our industry and I look forward to the upcoming event.”

Additionally, for the second year, NEC has been selected to be a participant of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program (IBP). Through its network of offices in U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide, the IBP recruits pre-screened foreign buyer delegations and brings them to selected U.S. trade shows and conferences, connecting U.S. companies with international buyers. International trade specialists from the agency will be at the International Trade Center onsite at the NEC to provide export counseling, matchmaking services, market analysis and more.

For more information, visit NationalEthanolConference.com. Registration is free for accredited media.

2016 NEC Rewind

The Renewable Fuels Association held its 21st annual National Ethanol Conference this week in New Orleans. The conference — a must-attend event for those in the industry — brought together producers, distributors, and industry experts for the best networking opportunity of the year. The theme “Fueling a High Octane Future” tied together numerous panel discussions and insightful speeches from leading voices across the United States and around the world about the beneficial use of ethanol. Highlights of the 2016 NEC are below.

Bob_2016-SOTIBob Dinneen Declares State of Industry Strong: RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen opened the NEC with a rousing overture, praising the U.S. ethanol industry in his annual State of the Industry address for its work in promoting economic growth and creating jobs across rural communities. Dinneen touted the industry’s many achievements in 2015: 14.7 billion gallons produced, 836 million gallons of exports, $44 billion contribution to the national GDP. The RFA chief emphasized the versatility of the fuel here in America and abroad with regards to its octane benefits. He also rebuked Big Oil’s idea that the Renewable Fuel Standard’s time had passed, saying instead that “It is the very notion that prosperity can be driven by petroleum without regard for the environmental, economic, or national security implications of that dependency that is the ‘relic’ world leaders need to recognize and relegate to the trash heap of history.”

John-Hofmeister_2016-KeynoteKeynote Speaker John Hofmeister Calls for End to Status Quo: John Hofmeister, the founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy, delivered the keynote address at this year’s conference. The former Shell Oil executive characterized the oil industry today as an unsustainable mess, calling the “powers of the status quo be damned in a time of change.” Hofmeister proposed an all-of-the-above strategy for the United States to follow, one that would incorporate not only oil, but ethanol and other renewables where consumers can make a choice at the pump. Energy supplies are needed from all domestic sources, he said, in order to meet the needs of America’s economy and its citizens.

Bob_Begala_MurphyExperts Go In-Depth During Conference Panel Discussions: The NEC has always attracted the best and brightest of the industry and this year was no different. The conference included panel discussions with experts from across the globe who touched on octane and performance, the future of U.S. biofuel policy, energy market outlooks, the marketing of E15 and flex fuels, export opportunities for U.S. producers, and more. The NEC 2016 agenda is available to view here.

Terry-Branstad-Industry-Award-e1455136573134RFA Recognizes Terry Branstad with Industry Award: RFA honored Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa with the2016 Industry Award for his dedication to protecting and advocating for the ethanol industry and pro-ethanol policies such as the RFS. The governor was unable to attend in person, but a video was played showing Absolute Energy’s Rick Schwarck giving him the award at Terrace Hill the week before. Schwarck told Gov. Branstad that he is “one of the most passionate, articulate, and effective advocates for value-added agriculture, farmers, and ethanol.”

Political Experts Offer Insight into 2016 Presidential Campaign: NEC attendees were treated to a special point-counterpoint discussion featuring well-renown politicos Mike Murphy and Paul Begala on Tuesday. Murphy and Begala — both strategists for the Republican and Democratic parties, respectively — gave their take on the 2016 presidential election in an all-encompassing conversation that included predictions for the primaries, filling the vacancy on the Supreme Court, and the impact of a seemingly unparalleled level of partisan divide in Washington today.


Secy. Vilsack Returns for Final NEC: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appeared at the NEC on Tuesday for the final time in his capacity as a member of President Obama’s cabinet. The secretary lauded U.S. producers and corn growers for their work in building a renewable future for the nation while strengthening the economy. Vilsack stressed the importance of the Biofuel Infrastructure Program, which he said would help the industry begin “to branch out, and this effort has created political power to keep it going.”

Ethanol-Industry-Outlook-2016-cover2016 Ethanol Industry Outlook and Pocket Guide Released: The 2016 editions of the RFA Ethanol Industry Outlook and Pocket Guide to Ethanol are now available. The Outlook and Pocket Guide provide readers with a general overview of ethanol and give the latest facts and statistics for the most accurate look at the current state of the industry. In addition, RFA has also released a set of two-page issue briefs for the most important topics related to ethanol, e.g. energy security, the environment, agriculture, and trade. These publications are available to view online at www.EthanolRFA.org. For a hard copy, contact Luke Lawal at llawal@ethanolrfa.org.

New Report Shows Ethanol’s Impact in 2015: A new, wide-ranging report released at the NEC demonstrates ethanol’s positive impact on the economy last year. According to the RFA-commissioned report, which was conducted by ABF Economics, the U.S. ethanol industry added $44 billion to the national GDP and supported nearly 360,000 jobs — almost 86,000 directly. Furthermore, the industry added $23.5 billion to household income and paid $8.7 billion in taxes.

Consumers Urged to Raise Their Voice in FFV Campaign: RFA launched a newawareness campaign on Tuesday focused on getting consumers to voice their support for flex-fuel vehicles. The campaign — dubbed “Flex My Choice” — is aimed at automakers, auto dealerships, and the EPA, which are phasing out support for FFVs. RFA intends to distribute 75,000 postcard pamphlets in the hopes of changing the conversation. Additionally, two petitions have been created on www.Change.org directed at the Big Three in Detroit and the EPA. Raise your voice or lose your choice! Go to www.FlexMyChoice.com or show your support on social media with the hashtag #FlexMyChoice.


Report Introduces Behavioral Science to Marketing E15: Matthew Willcox, the executive director of the Institute of Decision Making, spoke at the NEC about how fuel marketers can apply behavioral science in their tactics for marketing E15. Willcox outlined his arguments in a new RFA-commissioned report titled “Marketing Ethanol: how insights from behavior science can make ethanol a natural choice,” which suggests that marketers should consider how to mitigate the sense of potential losses and framing benefits of offering the fuel blend in the present rather than the future.

On-Air-Broadcasting-SignNEC Goes on Air, Live! Listeners of Agri-Talk with Mike Adams were treated to an impressive line-up of guests this week as Adams sat down with several ethanol industry players for live interview at the NEC. Adams’ guests included a diverse group of executives, researchers, and members of the press, e.g. Matthew Willcox, Commonwealth Agri-Energy’s Mick Henderson, and Platts’ Sophie Byron. Listen to each and every interview here.

GolfersAttendees Enjoy Sights and Sounds of the Big Easy: NEC attendees had a chance to see what New Orleans had to offer ahead of the panel discussions. A networking tour of the city took attendees to the National World War II Museum followed by a stop at Emeril Lagasse’s famous restaurant. Some NEC-goers opted for a game of golf at the English Turn & Golf Country Club, where players managed to beat the weather for 18 holes. Find all the action on the green in this photo album from ZimmComm.

University Student Scholar Recognized at NEC: NEC scholarship winner Abigail Fisler was recognized at the commencement of the conference on Tuesday for her academic focus on renewable energy and climate change. The 21-year old Dickinson College student was provided with exclusive access to the industry’s premier event. The NEC scholarship is given out annually and provides students with complimentary registration.

ZimmComm documented much of the events from this week in a comprehensive photo album. You can find these photos on Flickr. RFA will host the 22nd Annual National Ethanol Conference next February in sunny San Diego. See you then!

U.S. DDG Exports Break Record in 2015

U.S. exports of distillers grains set a new record last year. RFA released a new report on Thursday that shows 12.56 million metric tons of the ethanol co-product was shipped overseas in 2015, besting 2014’s amount by 11 percent. According to the summary, U.S. exports were shipped to 45 countries on five continents, truly showing “the global reach of American-made distillers grains,” said RFA’s Bob Dinneen. The summary compliments a study RFA released earlier this month detailing U.S. exports of ethanol.

The RFA Daily Brief: Your Go-to Source for Ethanol Industry News

The RFA Daily Brief provides readers with the most important news items of the day, five days a week. Here are a few of this week’s must-see stories:

To subscribe, email Chris Findlay at cfindlay@ethanolrfa.org.