Boca Raton, Fla. — With America’s farmers facing low commodity prices, rising interest rates, and an unprecedented global grain supply, there has never been a more important time to reinforce rural America’s role in producing clean energy. Today during Growth Energy’s Executive Leadership Conference (ELC), a panel of current and former leaders of the nation’s agriculture advocacy groups discussed the connection between biofuels and the current economic situation in America’s agriculture landscape.
Jeff Broin, chairman and CEO of POET, led the panel, “Up the Road: Does Ag Need Biofuels?” which included Charles “Chip” Bowling, Jr., past president of the Corn Board of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA); Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation; Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union; and Mark Poeschl, CEO of the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Organization and the National FFA Foundation.
The panel compared today’s farm economy to the ag crisis of the 1980s, noting the role the biofuels industry played in pulling America’s farmers through those hard times. Johnson stressed that biofuels remain key in moving commodity prices higher.
“The biggest single opportunity out there is the biofuels industry,” Johnson said.
ELC attendees also heard about Growth Energy’s strategic partnerships with automotive experts to educate mechanics and consumers on how ethanol delivers optimum engine performance.
This panel, “Under the Hood: It’s All About the Engine,” included Chris Hogan, vice president of communications and public affairs for Growth Energy; Doug Berven, vice president of corporate affairs for POET; and Aaron Miller, owner of Nth Moto, Inc.
The panelists shared key learnings from focus groups Growth Energy conducted with mechanics to uncover their general lack of understanding of ethanol’s benefits to engines, as well as the myths perpetuated by ill-informed automotive experts. Growth Energy is using this research to shape an educational program for mechanics, which began this past November with the association’s first mechanics’ workshop.
“We are trying to change the narrative with mechanics,” Berven said.
At Nth Moto, Miller is in charge of high-performance vehicle design as well as builds that run on various blends of ethanol and utilize in-house designed ethanol flex-fuel systems. He stressed the importance of mobilizing mechanics to educate each other about the many benefits of ethanol, noting “mechanics trust mechanics.”