(Posted Fri. Feb 10th, 2012)

Feb. 10:  The National Corn Growers Association’s Ethanol Committee met in Kansas City, Mo., this week to review programs to promote legislation and support opportunities that foster this important market. With guest speakers including PRX economist Bill Hudson and representatives from the farm machinery and aromatics industries, the attendees updated themselves on the latest information on the markets and opportunities while staff provided input on the legislative climate in Washington.


“The market for ethanol has grown exponentially over the past decade, thus utilizing an abundance of corn to meet the already-present need for a renewable, domestic biofuel,” said Chad Willis, chairman of the Ethanol Committee. “Now, we face a myriad of challenges and opportunities as those in the industry continue to innovate while some outside of it continue attempts to deny ethanol’s incredible value to our nation.”


Participants got a first-hand look at the LifeLine Foods business model in St. Joseph, Mo., exploring the possibilities for creating even more food and fuel from every kernel of corn.  The company, which produces products for both domestic and international markets, is unique in creating both ethanol and corn-based food products by using the separate components of corn to their fullest capacity.


“After years of hearing rehashed iterations of the food-and-fuel debate, we found the tour of LifeLIne to be both interesting and inspiring,” Willis said. “Companies such as this demonstrate that, through a mixture of creative thought and hard work, we can find new ways to use corn even more productively and solve an array of societal needs.”


Notably, this meeting marked the team’s formal introduction to new Director of Biofuel Programs and Business Development Pam Keck, who joined the NCGA team just this Monday.


In addition to Willis and Keck, meeting attendees included Committee Vice Chairman Paul Taylor, Illinois; Corn Board Liaison Mike Geske, Missouri; Cal Dalton, Wisconsin; Mark Drewes, Ohio; Dennis Gengenbach, Nebraska; Kevin Hurst, Missouri; Mike Nichols, Indiana; Kyle Phillips, Iowa; Kevin Ross, Iowa; Jeff Sandborn, Michigan; Kevin Skunes, North Dakota; Dale Tolifson, Minnesota; Dave Loos, Illinois Corn Growers Association; and NCGA staff Paul Bertels, Elizabeth Jones and Melanie Gibson.