Lincoln, Neb. – Scott McPheeters joins the Nebraska Ethanol Board as the business representative. He was appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts Feb. 9 and sworn in by the legislature March 3.
McPheeters has a family farm operation southwest of Gothenburg, producing food-grade white and yellow corn for Frito-Lay, as well as soybeans and alfalfa hay. His family also has rangeland for beef production. While little of his corn crop actually ends up in ethanol production, he is still passionate about promoting renewable fuels.
“I’m looking forward to working with a board that has been so effective at helping our state build 25 ethanol plants and increasing knowledge and promotion of ethanol use, because it is a win for all parties,” McPheeters said. “It’s good for farmers, livestock producers, consumers, and the environment.”
A founding member of KAAPA (Kearney Area Ag Producers Alliance), the only farmer-owned ethanol plant in Nebraska, McPheeters has been involved in ethanol since 2000. Currently, he serves on the KAAPA board of managers and on the board for a sister company, KAAPA Grains. He was also recently elected to the American Coalition for Ethanol board of directors in 2016.
“Consumers are influenced by a lot of misinformation, and they don’t realize they can save money and the environment by using more ethanol,” McPheeters said. “People are surprised to learn that ethanol is in 98 percent of the U.S. gasoline supply and they’ve been using it successfully.
My objective is simple: provide facts for consumers so they can be confident their cars love ethanol and they should use it every time. It starts with the fact that ethanol is the safest component in gasoline today.”
According to EPA’s Urban Air Toxics report to Congress, U.S. refiners increasingly boost octane by adding refining by-products such as benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene. Several of these chemicals are known and suspected carcinogens, and they’re more expensive additives.
“These products of oil refining, known as aromatics, can produce cancer-causing emissions,” McPheeters said. “Ethanol is much less expensive and burns cleaner than these toxic petroleum-based chemicals. Blending even just 10 percent ethanol in gasoline reduces tailpipe emissions that lead to smog. The inexpensive, renewable, octane-boosting capabilities of ethanol make it an indispensable part of the U.S. motor fuel supply.”
A study released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in January shows that ethanol releases 43 percent fewer greenhouse gases (GHG) than gasoline. The report provides research that corn ethanol is a GHG-friendly alternative to fossil fuels while boosting farm economies.
“I look forward to helping farmers be profitable with additional markets for the corn we produce so efficiently,” McPheeters said. “Agriculture is a huge economic engine for us all, because when farmers make money, they spend it with businesses that put local people to work. We can keep more of our fuel dollars right here in the Corn Belt, rather than sending money to foreign nations.”
When not farming and advocating for ethanol, McPheeters and his wife, Patti, enjoy time with their four children and three grandchildren.
Paul Kenney, who farms near Kearney, Nebraska, preceded McPheeters as the business representative on the Ethanol Board. Kenney was recently elected to the University of Nebraska Board of Regents after serving eight years on the Nebraska Ethanol Board.
McPheeters joins current board members: Mike Thede, chairman (Palmer, Neb.); Jan tenBensel, vice chairman (Cambridge, Neb.); Mark Ondracek, secretary (Omaha, Neb.); Galen Frenzen (Fullerton, Neb.); Tim Else (Belvidere, Neb.); Randy Gard (Grand Island, 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.