All posts by Megan Grimes

NDOT Announces Website for Flooding Information

April 4, 2019 (Lincoln, Neb.) — The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) recognizes the importance of restoring our transportation network to Nebraskans who rely on it for daily commutes and commerce.  With an estimated $160 million in current needs, information remains critical to communicate next steps for Nebraska.

NDOT wants travelers to know there now is a resource to view information on the 2019 flood as is relates to State highway and bridge repair.  Thanks to NDOT’s dedicated website, Nebraskan’s will be able to view updates on the progress on repairs to State highways and bridges as connectivity is restored by going online at:

This website contains important information for those navigating the State highway system.  It provides information on bridges and miles of highway closed during the flood and the recovery as well as interactive maps for closures.  Additional information will routinely be added to the site to help keep Nebraskan’s informed of recovery of our transportation system. 

The website will also provide important resources for individuals including links to NDOT’s various partners providing assistance during flood recovery.

As always, travelers are urged to be alert, be aware and check the most up to date conditions and closures available through 511, Nebraska’s Advanced Traveler Information System.  The system is
available at all times via phone by dialing 511, online at, or Nebraska 511’s
smartphone app.


Jeni Campana, (402) 479-4512 or

Gov. Ricketts, Ethanol Board Urge Timely Approval of Year-Round E15

LINCOLN – Today, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts submitted testimony urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finalize modifications to fuel regulations to clear the way for year-round sales of E15.  In written testimony submitted to the EPA’s public hearing in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Governor Ricketts expressed hope that the EPA would wrap up the regulatory changes prior to the start of the summer driving season.

“The ethanol industry’s success is vital to the health of the Nebraska economy,” Governor Ricketts testified.  “Providing retailers the ability to sell E15 all year throughout the country will help strengthen and grow the ethanol market in the state, along with its economic and environmental benefits.”

Sarah Caswell, Administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, attended the hearing to offer additional testimony.

“Nebraska’s elected officials and ethanol industry stakeholders, including farmers, producers, retailers, and consumers were encouraged to hear President Trump announce last fall that he would direct EPA to move forward with the necessary rulemaking that would enable the nation’s retailers to sell E15 year round,” said Caswell.  “This market confidence is especially important now, as Nebraska farmers are already dealing with an ongoing downturn in the national agriculture economy, record local flooding issues, as well as unknowns with some of our global trading partners.”

You can read testimony submitted by Governor Ricketts and the Nebraska Ethanol Board.

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

“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