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. "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."