Gov. Ricketts Unveils New “Nebraska Strong” Relief Website

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts unveiled a new website to help connect more Nebraskans with opportunities to request and provide relief.  The website can be viewed at http://www.nebraska.gov/nebraska-strong/.

“Nebraska’s response to the flooding has been incredible as neighbors have been stepping up to help one another,” said Governor Ricketts.  “We are working to bring new resources online on a daily basis as we start the long road to recovery.  Together, we will rebuild and keep our communities strong and growing.”

On the website, Nebraskans who need relief can log requests for items ranging from housing to tools.  Requests will then be reviewed by the Nebraska Preparedness Partnership before being posted.  After they are reviewed, they will then be available for fulfillment by members of the public.

The website can be found by clicking here.  Members of the public who want to help provide relief are encouraged to monitor the website for new requests.

The website was created by Nebraska Interactive at no cost to the state.

The website is one of numerous resources available for Nebraskans seeking help.  Among others, Nebraskans are encouraged to utilize these resources:

  • NEMA has set up a hotline for general questions from the public.  The number is 402-817-1551.
  • Nebraskans needing property cleanup can contact the Crisis Clean Up Hotline: 833-556-2476.
  • Farmers in need of hay, feed stuffs, fencing materials, volunteer help, equipment, etc. should call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at 1-800-831-0550.
  • Businesses can call the U.S. Chamber’s Disaster Help Desk for Business at 1-888-692-4943.
  • Nebraskans who want to volunteer should call the Salvation Army’s volunteer hotline at 402-898-6050 to register.
  • For all other needs for assistance call 211.
  • If you have an emergency, you should dial 911.

Ethanol 2019: Emerging Issues Forum to Feature Experts on Biofuel & Renewable Chemical Policies, Regulations and Markets

LINCOLN, Neb. — Biofuel stakeholders and experts from across the nation will be in Omaha for the annual Ethanol: Emerging Issues Forum at the La Vista Conference Center March 7-8. Governor Pete Ricketts will open the event and welcome attendees.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board organizes the forum, which is in its 14th year. The event brings together ethanol producers and others integrally involved in production, technology, policymaking and marketing of biofuels and its co-products. The event runs from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and 8:15 a.m. to noon Friday.

Topics include an overview and discussion of the most pressing federal policies, regulatory and legal actions, and markets affecting ethanol demand. Speakers will also discuss navigating the introduction and expansion of E15, as well as opportunities in emerging renewable chemical and co-product markets. The federal policy panel includes industry leaders from the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, Novozymes and the Renewable Fuels Association.

Panelists at the forum will also provide insight on workforce needs and accessing trained workers at every level. These speakers include Scott Asmus, program manager with the Nebraska Department of Labor, Eric Zeece, innovation manager at Invest Nebraska Corporation; and John Pierce, instructor and chair of the Energy Generation Operations Program at Southeast Community College.

Other scheduled presentations include marketing experiences with expanding the availability of E15 and higher ethanol blends, as well as a discussion of regulatory considerations for renewable chemical production presented by Richard Engler, Ph.D., former senior staff scientist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. Experts including Craig Willis, senior vice president of global markets at Growth Energy, and Kristy Moore of KMoore Consulting, will discuss trade, ethanol exports and new markets that are on the horizon for the ethanol and renewable chemical and co-products industries.

More than 150 ethanol industry stakeholders are expected to attend the forum. Online registration and a detailed agenda are available on the Nebraska Ethanol Board website. Scholarships also are available to college and university students and can be accessed online.

The Ethanol 2019: Emerging Issues Forum is presented by the Nebraska Ethanol Board with a range of local and national sponsors including: American Coalition for Ethanol, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C., Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group, BioNebraska, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, CoBank, Direct Automation, EcoEngineers, Farm Credit Services of America, Fluid Quip Process Technologies, Green Plains, Growth Energy, Hartland Renewable Fuels, Husch Blackwell, Kinect Energy Group, Kutak Rock, National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center, Nebraska Corn Board, Novozymes, POET Ethanol Products, Renewable Fuels Nebraska, Solenis, Urban Air Initiative and USDA Rural Development.

New study reveals positive economic impacts of Nebraska’s ethanol industry

LINCOLN, Neb. — A recent impact study by University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) economists reveals Nebraska’s ethanol production capacity increased by 23 percent since 2014, and continues to be a significant driver of economic impact for the state.

“The state sees what economists describe as an economic ‘bounce’ when we take advantage of the added value when grain is converted to food, fuel, fiber, renewable chemicals and bio-products,” said Sarah Caswell, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “There is enormous potential for biofuels to continue to strengthen the economic health of Nebraska through bio-based innovation and international trade.”

The study’s authors ­– Dr. Kathleen Brooks, UNL agricultural economics professor; Dr. Tim Meyer, UNL agricultural economics professor; Dr. Eric Thompson, UNL economics professor and Bureau of Business Research director; and Dr. Cory Walters, UNL agricultural economics professor – examined the economic impact of Nebraska’s ethanol industry between 2015 and 2017.

As of 2017, Nebraska’s ethanol production capacity was 2.558 billion gallons per year, with 1,453 full-time employees at 24 facilities. This represents an increase of 481 million gallons annually and an additional 152 full-time employees compared to 2014.

These additional jobs reflect the ethanol industry’s substantial and continued annual impact on the local labor market. In 2016, the total labor income impact – including direct and indirect jobs – was $275 million earned from an estimated 3,509 jobs for an average annual earnings of $78,300. Ethanol plant jobs provide significantly higher-wages compared to other manufacturing positions and are uniquely located in rural communities.

These positive economics also occur in the local corn market due to higher demand from nearby ethanol plants. The study noted a consistently positive impact on local basis (the difference between the local cash price and the futures price) from ethanol production. For example, a producer near an ethanol plant producing 220 bushels of corn per acre would receive an additional $11.44 per acre each year.

Nebraska’s large ethanol production results in 94 percent of the product being shipped out of state, making Nebraska one of the largest exporters of bioenergy. In addition, 51 percent of dried distillers grain produced in 2015 and 44 percent in 2016 were shipped out of state. These out-of-state sales result in a net positive for the state and represent a direct economic impact by bringing new money into the state economy.

“The quantifiable economic impact of ethanol production on the Nebraska economy is clear,” said Jan tenBensel, chairman of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “But we should also understand the enormous savings in health and environmental costs associated with displacing toxic petroleum products with cleaner-burning biofuels like ethanol. Choosing ethanol fuel brings additional and significant cost savings in terms of public health.”

Although ethanol and co-product production increased in 2016 and 2017, prices declined and led to reduced overall production values. Between 2015 and 2017, Nebraska’s value of production for ethanol and co-products averaged $3.8 billion.

While the value of production for ethanol and co-products was lower between 2015-2017 compared to previous years, both ethanol capacity and employment increased indicating a positive long-term outlook. Ethanol plants continue to assimilate technology that increases efficiency and diversifies their production portfolio to take advantage of new market opportunities.

The purpose of the “Economic Impacts of the Nebraska Ethanol and Ethanol Co-Products Industry” study was to estimate the value of production during 2015-2017 as an update to the 2014 study, and compare that value to major commodity production values in Nebraska. In addition, the study measured productive capacity, co-product value, employment, net returns, in-state utilization and exports. To view the full study, visit https://agecon.unl.edu/ethanolimpacts.

NEBRASKA’S GROWING FUEL CHOICES

Originally published by the Nebraska Energy Office on January 9, 2019.

LINCOLN — Over 90 percent of all fuel in Nebraska is blended with locally-produced ethanol. This homegrown industry supports over 1,300 jobs across the state and 25 ethanol plants. The ethanol industry represents a $5 billion economic impact to Nebraska.

In 2016, the Nebraska Energy Office, Nebraska Environmental Trust, Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board, Nebraska Department of Agriculture and several Nebraska ethanol plants funded 88 new advanced “blender pumps” and seven underground storage tanks. The equipment was installed at 22 retail fueling locations throughout the state. A blender pump draws two fuels from separate storage tanks and mixes them together in various percentages to form an unlimited variety of fuel choices for the station’s customers. Most often, the blends are E15, E35, E85 and regular unleaded.

Governor Ricketts stated, “Over the summer, I have been traveling the state to highlight the availability of new flex fuel infrastructure. In the past couple of years, my team and the Nebraska Energy Office has been working with the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Ethanol Board to install more flex fuel pumps in communities across the state. As new fuel choices are offered at more retail locations, consumers become better acquainted with these options and the lower prices. These new pumps will distribute thousands of gallons of biofuels to the many travelers crossing our state.”

The mission of the program is to help facilitate the availability of higher ethanol blended gasoline to the traveling public. The final blender pump supported by this program was installed on December 21, 2018 at the TimeSaver Station No. 3 in North Platte, Nebraska. This program has doubled the number of pumps throughout the state that may be used to dispense higher ethanol blended gasoline to consumers, enabling drivers in Nebraska to use increasing volumes of Nebraska ethanol.

“This has been a collaborative effort that will serve Nebraskans well into the future,” said Nebraska Energy Office Interim Director, Jim Macy. “It is really rewarding to see so many organizations step forward and support this effort”.

Nebraska Ethanol Board Administrator, Sarah Caswell, said that the Nebraska Energy Office “has done a tremendous job administering this program and helping to ensure that funding got to retailers throughout the state.”

“The fact that retail stations in Nebraska with such blender pumps has doubled since the inception of the program shows that, with the right information and resources, there is a high level of interest among retailers in offering higher blends of ethanol to consumers,” Caswell said.

“That increased availability helps further bolster the economic impact of ethanol on the state’s economy, thereby supporting farmers, ethanol plants and local economies. The more ethanol Nebraskans consume, the cleaner our air and stronger our economy will be across the state. The success of this program is a real win-win for Nebraska.”

Retailers participating in the Access Ethanol Nebraska/Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership Project can be found at the Nebraska Energy Office website at www.neo.ne.gov/cleanfuels/retailers.htmland a general listing of retailers through Nebraska can be found at the Nebraska Ethanol Board website at http://ethanol.nebraska.gov/wordpress/buy-ethanol/nebraska-ethanol-stations/.

Nebraska Ethanol Board Meeting Feb. 1, 2019

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet at noon Friday, Feb. 1. The meeting will be held in Lincoln at the downtown Hyatt Place Hotel (600 Q Street).

The board welcomes Erick Lutt, senior director, Industrial & Environment Section (IES) with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, as the keynote speaker during the board meeting. Lutt will join the group on a video conference call and discuss policy issues related to biofuels.

At the Biotechnology Innovation Organization in Washington, D.C., Lutt is responsible for developing policy options for the IES Governing Board and working groups, and focuses on advanced and cellulosic biofuels, bio-based products, renewable chemicals and agricultural feedstocks. His policy work entails working with members of Congress on energy and agricultural legislation and the administration on regulatory affairs dealing with industrial biotechnology and the bio-based economy.

Previously, Lutt worked for former U.S. Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska as his legislative assistant, where he developed the Senator’s legislative agenda for agriculture, biofuels, biotech, energy, environment and trade. He also led Sen. Nelson’s committee agenda for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Prior to joining Sen. Nelson’s office, Lutt worked for Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle’s campaign in South Dakota.

Lutt has a degree in government and international affairs from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Lutt will speak on a video call at approximately 12:20 p.m. The meeting agenda is as follows:

  1. Call Meeting to Order
  2. Approval of Agenda
  3. Approval of Minutes
  4. Budget Report
  5. Working Lunch
  6. Erick Lutt, Biotechnology Innovation Organization
  7. UNL Economic Impact Study Reveal
  8. Industrial Training
  9. Marketing & Education Programs
  10. Membership Dues
  11. E30 Demonstration Update
  12. State and Federal Legislation
  13. Ethanol Plant Reports
  14. Fuel Retailer Reports
  15. Chair’s Report
  16. Administrator’s Report
  17. Travel Reports and Authorization
  18. Election
  19. Personnel
  20. Next Meeting Date
  21. Adjourn

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

The Nebraska Ethanol Board works to ensure strong public policy and consumer support for biofuels. Since 1971, the independent state agency has designed and managed programs to expand production, market access, worker safety and technology innovation, including recruitment of producers interested in developing conventional ethanol, as well as bio-products from the ethanol platform. For more information, visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov.

The Advancement of Ethanol in Nebraska