The 2019 Biofuels Summit arrived at a critical moment this year, with rural America facing the worst downturn in farm income in a generation and ethanol plants closing or idling across the country. These dynamics meant that last week was the perfect time for our members and staff to rally together in the nation’s capital for the annual Growth Energy Biofuels Summit to confront these issues head on and advocate for the importance of a robust biofuels industry with lawmakers.

Over several days, attendees heard from industry experts and guest speakers on the state of the ethanol industry, which helped prepare them for meetings with legislators and their staffs.

Thank you to all of our members who were able to join us in Washington, D.C. last week! Your hard work and support were critical in bringing our story to elected officials. Continue reading below to learn more about our incredible week in Washington.

Telling Our Story

The general session of this year’s summit helped prepare attendees for their visits on the Hill, and allowed them to hear the latest from industry experts on SREs, E15 retail expansion, and trade — all areas that greatly influence the current economic landscape in rural America. Read our blogs recapping some of the top general session panels:

Attendees also had the opportunity to listen to guest speakers U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-17-IL).

After the general session concluded, our members carried their stories to Capitol Hill with a strong sense of purpose and met with legislators to discuss addressing the devastating impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) abuse of small refinery exemptions, increasing biofuel blending through the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) reset, opening international markets for free and equitable trade, and other critical policy issues.

Thanking Our Champions

Meeting with congressional offices on key policy issues is the primary goal of the Biofuels Summit, but so is thanking our congressional biofuels champions for everything they do to support our industry. As members visited the Hill, they presented Fueling Growth Awards to those elected officials from across the country who have championed the RFS and homegrown biofuels to support ethanol producers and farm families.


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We've gotten a lot of outreach from @USDA on how to make their new biofuel infrastructure inventive plan a success, and we're more than happy to help. This program can and should benefit everyone — farmers, biofuel producers, and consumers at the pump.

via @GrowthEnergy

Ray was the founding member of Big River Resources and a longtime Growth Energy Board member. We are all better off for knowing him and our community will feel this loss deeply. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and staff on this difficult day. You will be missed, Ray.

via @EmilySkor

To those of us within it, the ethanol industry often feels like a big family. Today that entire family mourns the loss of one of our own, Ray Defenbaugh. We will always remember his relentless spirit — his honesty, optimism, humor, and especially his fierce, fierce loyalty.

via @EmilySkor