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Nelson Appointed to Serve on Nebraska Ethanol Board

Taylor Nelson

Lincoln, Neb. – Taylor Nelson, who farms near Jackson, Nebraska, joins the Nebraska Ethanol Board as the corn representative. He was appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts Sept. 8.

Nelson earned his agriculture economics degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He returned to the family farm in 2012, and produces corn and soybeans in Dixon and Dakota counties with his father, Doug Nelson, and uncle, Jim Nelson. Along with his wife and parents, Nelson also operates the Jackson Express convenience store.

“After college, we were looking for an opportunity to concentrate my time and get started farming,” Nelson said. “Land opportunities were few and far between and we didn’t own livestock, but we saw an opportunity to build a convenience store in my hometown of Jackson.

Although we didn’t have experience in retail, fuel or food service, we saw it as a way to diversify our operation and bring many needed goods and services to the Jackson area including the ability to sell and promote ethanol.”

Opening in November 2012, Jackson Express quickly became known for quality ethanol fuel and an ideal meeting place for coffee or lunch. Initially, Nelson spent most of his time getting the business off the ground. Now his wife, Emily, is the general manager and he is back farming.

Nelson is now putting his diversified experience to action as a member of the American Coalition for Ethanol and vice president of the northeast Nebraska chapter of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

“Taylor’s background in both fuel sales and farming makes him a unique addition to the board,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “As the youngest board member, we look forward to his input on using new marketing techniques to engage drivers.”

Nelson joins current board members: Mike Thede, chairman (Palmer, Neb.); Jan tenBensel, vice chairman (Cambridge, Neb.); Mark Ondracek, secretary (Omaha, Neb.); Randy Gard (Grand Island, Neb.); Tim Else (Belvidere, Neb.); Scott McPheeters (Gothenburg, Neb.); and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chemical Engineering Professor Hunter Flodman, who serves as the board’s technical advisor.

Members of the Nebraska Ethanol Board are appointed by the Governor to serve four-year terms. The seven-member board includes four members actively engaged in farming (general farming, corn, wheat and sorghum), one member representing labor interests, one member representing petroleum marketers and one member representing business. The Board’s technical advisor serves as a non-voting member.

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Hurricane Harvey Causes Fuel Changes

LINCOLN, NE – Due to the fuel supply emergency caused by Hurricane Harvey, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a waiver, which relaxes the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirement so E15 may be sold immediately in 38 states, including Nebraska.

As of Aug. 31, more than 20 percent of the U.S. oil refining capacity remains offline due to hurricane and flooding damage. Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) predicts a worst-case scenario price spike of 40 to 60 cents.

Under normal circumstances, reformulated gasoline and low volatility conventional gasoline (winter blends) can only be sold after Sept. 15. This short-term waiver helps ensure an adequate fuel supply throughout the country.

By blending more ethanol, the fuel supplies can go further, especially if flex-fuel-vehicle-owners fill up with E85 and drivers with a vehicle 2001 or newer choose E15, noted Jan tenBensel, Nebraska Ethanol Board vice chairman, who farms south of Cambridge, Nebraska.

“One of easiest things we can do to help with Hurricane Harvey recovery is use more ethanol,” tenBensel said. “By using our homegrown, renewable fuel, we can allow petroleum to be diverted to areas that are in a greater need, which also helps mitigate price hikes.”

E15 is a fuel blend containing 15 percent ethanol, just 5 percent more ethanol than the most commonly used fuel in the U.S. – E10.  E15 is often sold at a 5 to 10-cent per gallon discount to E10, and is higher octane for better vehicle performance. E85 contains up to 85 percent ethanol and should only be used in flex fuel vehicles.

“EPA’s expanded emergency waiver allows us to continue to show that ethanol is a high-octane, low cost alternative,” said Pam Miller, Renewable Fuels Nebraska executive committee member. “RFN recently launched HuskerFuel.com, a website and brand campaign to bring awareness to Nebraska-produced biofuels and higher ethanol blends, like E15 that are available to consumers across the state.”

Due to a quirk in federal gasoline volatility regulations, E15 sales to non-flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) are usually halted from June 1 to September 15. The EPA waiver enacted because of this natural disaster means anyone with a 2001 and newer vehicle can again fill up with E15.

“With gas prices predicted to rise for the foreseeable future, purchasing higher ethanol blends is one way consumers can help free up fuel for areas impacted by the hurricane, and keep money in their own pockets,” said Dave Merrell, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board, who farms near St. Edward, Nebraska. “Ethanol blends are truly better fuels that cost less.”

Nebraska drivers can find higher blends of ethanol throughout the state by visiting www.AmericanEthanolNE.org or www.HuskerFuel.com.

 

 

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Utech Named an Ethanol Ambassador

Shelby Utech, Hubbard, Neb.

LINCOLN, NEB – The Nebraska Ethanol Board is proud to announce Shelby Utech (Hubbard, Nebraska) as an ethanol ambassador.

Utech is a University of Nebraska-Lincoln student studying agricultural economics. She is also pursuing a minor through the Engler Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship Program, which focuses on developing business in the agricultural sector.

“We are excited to have Shelby as a part of our team for the 2017-2018 academic year,” said Luke Miller, public information officer for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “She has a great passion for agriculture and the ethanol industry and will be a welcome addition. This is a great opportunity to both learn more about the industry, and to share that information with peers, community groups and classrooms.”

The ethanol ambassador program engages an undergraduate student in the importance of Nebraska’s ethanol industry. Ambassadors learn about ethanol production, technology, research and marketing, and then have opportunities to work with the public. They also deliver presentations to middle and high school classrooms. The program lasts one academic year (August-May) with a new recruit each year. For their time and efforts, ambassadors are awarded a $1,000 scholarship to assist with their education.

Established in 1971, the Ethanol Board assists ethanol producers with programs and strategies for marketing ethanol and related co-products. The Board supports organizations and policies that advocate the increased use of ethanol fuels – and administers public information, education and ethanol research projects. The Board also assists companies and organizations in the development of ethanol production facilities in Nebraska. For more information, please visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov.

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Husker Ag Recognized for Ethanol Direct Marketing

The Nebraska Ethanol Board presented Seth Harder with a baseball bat engraved, “Nebraska Ethanol Honorary Team Member presented in appreciation by Nebraska Ethanol Board” on June 8. From left, Seth Harder, Husker Ag general manager; Isaac Harder, Seth’s son; Scott McPheeters, NEB board member; and Jan tenBensel, NEB board member.

Since 2012, Husker Ag in Plainview, Nebraska, has contributed more than $250,000 to Nebraska’s fuel infrastructure by funding higher-blend ethanol pumps at stations across the state.

“The goal is not just to produce ethanol, but to give every Nebraskan the opportunity to use it,” said Seth Harder, Husker Ag general manager. “We truly believe that ethanol is the best option for our state, farmers, consumers and our nation going forward.”

In 2011, Harder recommended that Husker Ag be proactive as a company, and work to move higher than 10 percent ethanol in fuel. The board of directors agreed.

Husker Ag employees accept Power By People Award during the 2015 American Coalition for Ethanol Conference in Omaha. From left, Scott Carpenter, Husker Ag board member; Amy Gregor, Husker Ag lab manager; Bill Steffen, Husker Ag production manager; Bernard Wredie, Husker Ag board member; Seth Harder, Husker Ag general manager; and Brian Jennings, American Coalition for Ethanol executive director.

This enthusiastic effort to offer Nebraskans more choice at the pump resulted in 11 stations across northeastern Nebraska and Yankton, South Dakota, with pumps that could dispense a range between E15 and E85 fuel, including E20 and E30. E15 (15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) is approved for use in all vehicles 2001 or newer, while flex fuel vehicles can run on any blend of fuel up to E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline).

“Recently, we funded new pumps in Yankton, South Dakota, and Pilger, Nebraska,” Harder said. “We are currently evaluating a few locations in northeast Nebraska, and will continue to look for prospects in the area. Generally, we choose non-branded parties that want to differentiate their product line to compete with chains.”

In addition to Yankton and Pilger, Husker Ag contributed funds for flex fuel pumps in Creighton, Crofton, Hartington, Norfolk, Osmond, Pierce (2), Plainview and Valentine.

Bernard Wredie, Husker Ag board member (left), and Seth Harder, Husker Ag general manager (right), help a driver choose the best ethanol blend at Speedee Mart in Norfolk, Nebraska. Husker Ag helped fund the flex fuel pumps at Speedee Mart.

“Speedee Mart in Norfolk stands out as a major success,” Harder said. “The volume sold for the size of that town is exceptional. Installing flex fuel pumps benefits both the business and the customer. For the station, it gives them an in-demand product that might not be available elsewhere. For the consumer, it gives them another option that costs less and is better for the environment.”

Husker Ag’s endeavor to expand ethanol’s availability does not end with funding new pumps. Frequently, the company provides discounted ethanol for fuel promotions across the state.

“We pass our ethanol savings onto retail locations so they can offer a great price to the consumer,” Harder said. “We sell the discounted ethanol for specific promotion days or grand openings, which gives us a chance to interact with drivers.”

The Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB) recently recognized Harder for his leadership at Husker Ag and the company’s success with fuel retailers. NEB Administrator Todd Sneller believes Husker Ag is a leader for the state’s ethanol industry.

“Nebraska looks to companies that go above and beyond to show what’s possible for the future of ethanol,” Sneller said. “Husker Ag continues to push forward with higher-blends that benefit our economy and environment.”

Harder will speak about his direct marketing experience at the American Coalition for Ethanol Conference in Omaha Aug. 15-17. He will present on how ethanol producers and fuel marketers improve the availability of competitively-priced ethanol through direct marketing.

“I encourage everyone in the industry to do what they can to help this industry succeed,” Harder added. “We all need to be involved to move past the mythical blend wall. The demand for ethanol is there, so we need to make sure we do everything we can to meet it.”

Husker Ag, LLC is an ethanol production facility built by Fagen Inc. of Granite Falls, Minnesota, and designed by ICM of Colwich, Kansas. With the expansions, Husker Ag now utilizes more than 29 million bushels of corn per year to produce about 85 million gallons of denatured ethanol, expected to be at 90 million gallons by the end of 2017. Husker Ag also produces about 475,000 tons of modified wet distillers grain per year, which is fed by area cattle feeders. Currently, Husker Ag employs 51 full-time employees from several surrounding communities including: Norfolk, Pierce, Randolph, Osmond, Plainview, Creighton, Bloomfield, Brunswick, Elgin and Tilden.

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Nebraska Ethanol Board Meeting: June 22, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 22. The meeting will be held in Grand Island at the Fairfield Inn & Suites (805 Allen Drive).

The meeting agenda is as follows:

  1. Call Meeting to Order
  2. Approval of Agenda
  3. Approval of Minutes
  4. Budget Report
  5. Economic Impact Study Update
  6. Marketing Programs
  7. BIP Update/E15 State Upgrades
  8. State and Federal Legislation
  9. Ethanol Plant Reports
  10. Chair’s Report
  11. Administrator’s Report
  12. Working Lunch
  13. Travel Reports and Authorization
  14. Personnel
  15. Next Meeting Date
  16. Adjourn

This agenda contains all items to come before the Board except those items of an emergency nature.

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