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Former White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer to Address National Ethanol Conference

WASHINGTON — The Renewable Fuels Association is pleased to announce that former White House press secretary and popular political pundit Ari Fleischer is scheduled to speak at the 22nd annual National Ethanol Conference, Feb. 20–22 in San Diego.

Fleischer will be the featured luncheon speaker on Tuesday, Feb. 21.

From 2001 to 2003, Fleischer was the primary spokesperson for President George W. Bush. He previously served as the Bush campaign spokesman in 1999 and 2000. In his almost four years working for George W. Bush, he served as spokesman during the historic presidential recount, September 11th, two wars and the anthrax attack. Now president of his own firm, Ari Fleischer Communications Inc., he offers advice to clients in the corporate and sports worlds on how to handle the press. He is a frequent guest commentator on many of the leading political and news shows.

“We’re excited to have Mr. Fleischer address our conference attendees,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Since leaving government service, Mr. Fleischer has become an insightful and refreshingly objective source for perspective on the political and policy debates of the day. “As the voice of the President George W. Bush administration for nearly four years, he can offer first-hand insight on what it was like to work with the press during some of the most extraordinary circumstances. Additionally, working as the first press secretary for a new, incoming administration, Mr. Fleischer can provide observations into the unique challenges facing the current administration and the new Congress. NEC attendees will benefit from his experience and advice on working with the media and overall public relations messaging.”

The NEC is the most widely attended executive level conference for the ethanol industry. For up-to-date details on the NEC, visit:

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Two Purdue University Ph.D. Students Awarded NEC Scholarship

WASHINGTON — The Renewable Fuels Association and the Renewable Fuels Foundation are proud to announce Daehwan Kim and David Orrego as winners of the student scholarship that will send them to RFA’s 22nd annual National Ethanol Conference: Building Partnerships, Growing Markets next month in San Diego.

The RFA/RFF scholarship provides students enrolled in higher education with complimentary registration at the conference, giving scholarship recipients the chance to connect with hundreds of leaders, policymakers, and experts associated with the renewable fuel industry. Only students who focus on renewable fuels in their studies and intend to pursue a career in the industry are eligible to receive the scholarship. This is the eighth consecutive year in which this scholarship has been made available to students.

Kim is a Ph.D. candidate at Purdue University, pursuing biofuel research in the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering and the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. His Ph.D. thesis addresses enzyme-catalyzed liquefaction of corn pericarp and fermentation to cellulosic ethanol, and also the development of inhibitor tolerant yeast strains.

Orrego is also a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University. His work focuses on the design, optimization and scale-up of bioprocesses, with a focus on biochemical catalysis and bioreactor design.

“The NEC is the most widely attended ethanol industry conference and provides a great opportunity for those interested in pursuing a professional career in ethanol. With more than 1,500 attendees expected, these students will have access to a wide variety of participants in the ethanol industry, providing for unique networking opportunities,” said Bob Sather, chairman of the RFF and chairman of ACE Ethanol. “We congratulate Mr. Kim and Mr. Orrego and look forward to them attending NEC to learn much more about our global industry.”

The National Ethanol Conference will take place Feb. 20–22 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. For more information, visit For additional resources, visit the RFA and RFF at and

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RFA, RFF to Offer National Ethanol Conference Scholarships

WASHINGTON — For the eighth year, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is partnering with the Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF) to offer scholarships to students who are interested in attending the National Ethanol Conference (NEC), scheduled for Feb. 20–22, 2017 in San Diego.

Six scholarships are available to students in higher education to attend NEC. Scholarships cover the cost of the conference registration fee—an $899 value. Recipients are responsible for other costs associated with travel to the conference, including airfare, hotel and meals.

“The NEC is the most widely attended ethanol industry conference and provides an exclusive opportunity to directly engage key decision makers and industry executives,” said Bob Sather, chairman of the Renewable Fuels Foundation and chairman of ACE Ethanol. “This scholarship is an incentive to provide students with a real live experience with worldwide leaders in the ethanol industry. The conference is the best classroom for these students to learn and network.”

This year’s NEC, “Building Partnerships, Growing Markets,” offers students the opportunity to receive an in-depth look into the ethanol industry, as speakers are set to address such topics as higher ethanol blends, the Renewable Fuel Standard, E15 and global marketing.

Interested students should submit a 500-word essay explaining how their attendance at the NEC will help them achieve their future goals. They should also submit two letters of recommendation, an up-to-date resume, and a school transcript. Scholarships are only available to students who are attending a U.S. institution of higher learning or foreign students who are affiliated with the U.S. ethanol industry.

For full consideration, applications must be received by Dec. 23. Application materials can be found here.

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Registration Open for 22nd Annual RFA National Ethanol Conference

WASHINGTON — Registration is now open for the Renewable Fuels Association’s 22nd annual National Ethanol Conference (NEC), to be held Feb. 20–22, 2017 in San Diego. The theme for the NEC will be “Building Partnerships, Growing Markets.”

The NEC provides an exclusive opportunity to engage key decision makers and industry executives, while networking and learning about the latest technologies and government policies. Speakers will address a number of topics, including expanding infrastructure, blends above E10, high octane fuels and exports.

“It is no surprise that the National Ethanol Conference is the most widely attended ethanol industry conference and can’t miss annual event,” said RFA Board Chairman Mick Henderson, general manager of Commonwealth Agri-Energy LLC, which operates a 33-million gallon per year ethanol plant in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. “The conference always has a panoply of speakers to inform attendees about ways we can continue to grow our industry and I look forward to the upcoming event.”

Additionally, for the second year, NEC has been selected to be a participant of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program (IBP). Through its network of offices in U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide, the IBP recruits pre-screened foreign buyer delegations and brings them to selected U.S. trade shows and conferences, connecting U.S. companies with international buyers. International trade specialists from the agency will be at the International Trade Center onsite at the NEC to provide export counseling, matchmaking services, market analysis and more.

For more information, visit Registration is free for accredited media.

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RFA Honors Iowa Governor Terry Branstad with 2016 Industry Award

NEW ORLEANS — In recognition of his years of unwavering support to the U.S. ethanol industry, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) chose Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as the recipient of the RFA 2016 Industry Award. Rick Schwarck, president of Absolute Energy, presented Gov. Branstad with the award at a ceremony that was held on Feb. 5 at the governor’s mansion in Des Moines, Iowa. A video of the award ceremony was shown today at the 21st Annual National Ethanol Conference (NEC) in New Orleans. The Industry Award is bestowed annually to individuals that demonstrate great dedication and innovation within the industry.

Terry Branstad Industry Award“Governor Branstad, you have been one of the most passionate, articulate, and effective advocates for value-added agriculture, farmers, and ethanol,” said Schwarck. “You have fought in our state to build and maintain the nation’s largest and most competitive ethanol industry. You have fought the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as it has tried to undermine the effectiveness of renewable fuels programs. And you have made ethanol a defining issue in Iowa and across the country in this year’s presidential campaign.”

Gov. Branstad is the longest-serving governor in American history, and is currently serving his sixth non-consecutive term after first being elected to office in 1983. Bob Dinneen, RFA president and CEO, noted that the governor has been a stalwart champion of the Renewable Fuel Standard since its inception.

“Governor Branstad was a founding member of the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition, and throughout his career he has worked tirelessly on behalf of our nation’s ethanol producers and farmers,” said Dinneen. “I can think of no better recipient for this year’s RFA Industry Award. The people of Iowa are lucky to have a man of such vision and character leading their state.”

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2016 NEC Keynote Address: John Hofmeister

2016 NEC Keynote Address: John Hofmeister

John Hofmeister, the founder and chief executive of Citizens for Affordable Energy, delivers the keynote address at the 21st annual National Ethanol Conference in New Orleans.

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2016 State of the Industry Address

2016 State of the Industry Address

RFA President & CEO Bob Dinneen gives his State of the Industry address at the 21st annual National Ethanol Conference in New Orleans.

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RFA Releases 2016 Ethanol Industry Outlook and Pocket Guide and Two-Page Issue Briefs

NEW ORLEANS — Today at the 21st Annual National Ethanol Conference (NEC), the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) released updated editions for two of its most popular publications: the Ethanol Industry Outlook and the Pocket Guide to Ethanol.

The Outlook and Pocket Guide provide readers with up-to-date statistics, insights and analysis on the critical issues facing the U.S. ethanol industry today. Readers are provided a comprehensive guide to key policies such as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), background information on market activity, and the latest facts and figures regarding energy security, the environment, the economy, agriculture, and trade. For the first time, RFA is also releasing the Outlook divided into series of downloadable two-page “issue briefs.”

The Ethanol Industry Outlook offers a complete overview of each topic, along with detailed charts and graphs. The Pocket Guide to Ethanol contains the same information as the Outlook, but in a simpler, portable format that includes many myth-busting factoids about ethanol.

“As the information contained in these editions show, 2015 proved to be a banner year for the ethanol industry,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “These publications are meant to give readers the best overview possible of the industry so that they get a true sense of how far this industry has come and where it is expected to head next. With so much misinformation clouding the reality about ethanol, it is important for consumers, investors, and policymakers to be armed with the facts contained in these publications.”

View the 2016 Ethanol Industry Outlook

View the 2016 Pocket Guide to Ethanol

Two-page issue briefs:

Copies of the 2016 Ethanol Industry Outlook and Pocket Guide to Ethanol are available in print and online. To order a hard copy, contact Luke Lawal at (202) 289-3835 or at The online version is available at


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Raise Your Voice or Lose Your Choice: RFA Launches #FlexMyChoice FFV Awareness Campaign

NEW ORLEANS — Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen announced today at the National Ethanol Conference (NEC) the launch of the “Flex My Choice” campaign, which is designed to voice consumer support for flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs). This effort is aimed directly at automakers, auto dealerships, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Dinneen said the time is ripe for such a campaign because, as the government phases out CAFE credits for producing FFVs, automakers have begun to limit the total number of FFV models that roll off their assembly lines.

“The auto companies claim there has not been meaningful consumer demand for these vehicles and the incremental cost, albeit trivial, cannot be justified in the absence of a more balanced CAFE regime,” said Dinneen. “The ethanol industry needs to demonstrate the continued enthusiasm for FFVs. We want to raise our voices so that E85 and other mid-level ethanol fuels remain viable options for consumers.”

As part of the campaign, RFA intends to distribute 75,000 postcard pamphlets to targeted parties across the country in the hopes of changing the conversation on the future of FFV production. The postcard pamphlets will contain five panels: the first panel is a brief introduction to the issues; panels 2 through 4 are individual postcards to General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (the “Detroit Three”); and the fifth panel contains a pledge that consumers can drop off at their local auto dealership. Additionally, the campaign launched two petitions on directed at the automakers and the EPA respectively.

FlexMyChoice_Raise Your Voice or Lose Your Choice

“It goes without saying that when consumers’ choices within a given market are limited, everyone loses,” said Robert White, RFA’s vice president of industry relations. “The ‘Flex My Choice’ campaign intends to ensure that consumers have choices when it comes to buying and fueling their vehicles. Thanks to USDA, the ethanol industry, and agriculture, 2016 will mark the largest expansion of E85 stations in history; it is not the time to stop the momentum. This campaign will send a clear signal to the automakers, their auto dealerships, and the EPA that there is a real demand on the part of consumers for more vehicle choices, more choices at the pump and increased access to higher ethanol blends.”

For postcard pamphlets and additional information, go to Consumers are encouraged to amplify their support for FFVs on social media using the hashtag #FlexMyChoice.

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State of the Ethanol Industry Remains Strong, says RFA Chief

NEW ORLEANS — Speaking before more than 1,000 attendees at the National Ethanol Conference (NEC) in New Orleans today, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen declared, during his annual State of the Industry address, that the domestic ethanol industry remains strong and touted its ability to successfully navigate the vagaries of the markets and overcome the perils of policy uncertainty.

“The strength of the U.S. ethanol industry is seen in its record production – 14.7 billion gallons, its record blending demand – 13.75 billion gallons, record feed production – 40 million metric tons, and record greenhouse gas reductions – 41.2 metric tons,” said Dinneen. “Those aren’t the stats of an industry in retreat, that’s an industry confident, defiant, and prepared to weather any storm.”

Dinneen called the U.S. ethanol industry the “cornerstone” of the rural economy, noting that it added $44 billion to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product and paid $10 billion in taxes last year. He drew a sharp contrast with what he characterized as the “boom and bust cycles” of oil extraction which, he said, can wreak havoc on economically-vulnerable communities.

“Margins might be tight, but you remain committed to your communities and are making an immeasurable difference in the lives of your neighbors and the pocketbooks of all Americans,” Dinneen said. “Your fuel is renewable, and so are the jobs you require, the investment you’ve made and the purchases you make every day, no matter the economic climate.”

Dinneen pointed out that in 2015 the U.S. ethanol industry exported 836 million gallons with a value of $1.78 billion and representing 5.7% of domestic ethanol production. He noted that last year’s export number was identical to 2014’s and was tied for the second-highest total on record. Dinneen said RFA will continue to focus on expanding export market opportunities and mentioned that the organization had been awarded a grant through the Department of Commerce to promote ethanol in international markets.

“I am very pleased to have representatives from China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru here today to learn the advantages of increased ethanol use and make important and lasting commercial relationships,” Dinneen said. “With our collective efforts to enhance export opportunities, we will grow demand while at the same time enabling our foreign partners to address pressing pollution and climate change issues in their countries.”

In the address, Dinneen referenced this year’s NEC theme, “Fueling a High Octane Future,” and told attendees that whenever ethanol is marketed in the U.S. or international markets, it is octane that it is being traded. He also highlighted the economic and environmental benefits for refiners in using ethanol as a fuel additive.

“Not too long ago refiners produced all the octane they needed at the refinery from petroleum. But refinery processes to increase octane are energy intensive and costly, and yield additives that are highly toxic,” Dinneen said. “Ethanol is cleaner, cheaper, and carbon neutral. Refiners can use it to meet minimum octane specifications while extending the barrel to maximize fuel production.”

Dinneen noted that Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Industry, took a very myopic view of the energy landscape when, during his annual State of American Energy Speech last month, he referred to the RFS as a “relic of our nation’s energy past.”

“It’s not the RFS that is a ‘relic of our nation’s energy past,’” Dinneen said. “It is the very notion that prosperity can be driven by petroleum without regard for the environmental, economic, or national security implications of that dependency that is the ‘relic’ world leaders need to recognize and relegate to the trash heap of history.”

Dinneen’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.

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