WASHINGTON — Renewable Fuels Association member company Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company (CVEC) is holding a celebration today to mark its 20th anniversary in operation. In 1996, the company began production at its 50-million-gallon per year ethanol plant in Benson, Minnesota, and has grown to 975 cooperative owners. CVEC also has ownership interest in four other ethanol companies — Guardian Janesville, Guardian Lima, Guardian Hankinson and Frontline BioEnergy LLC — and is a founding owner of Renewable Products Marketing Group. In addition to producing fuel ethanol, CVEC also operates an industrial alcohol company, Glacial Grain Spirits, which makes certified organic alcohol products and Prairie Spirits Vodka. "CVEC has always been a leader, within the industry and the RFA," said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen. "It was one of the first farmer-owned cooperatives to commit to ethanol production well before the ethanol market was fully established. CVEC's Board shared a vision of value-added agriculture and local economic growth that became a model for others to follow. "The company has always been ahead of the curve — adopting new more efficient energy technologies and courageously pursuing new market opportunities like distilled spirits. CVEC was also among the first to begin selling E85 directly to marketers. Over the years, CVEC employees have had important leadership roles within the RFA, including previously chairing RFA's Technical Committee and former CVEC General Manager Bill Lee chairing the association in 2004–2005. The whole industry has benefitted from CVEC's vision. I congratulate them for these 20 years, and I look forward to the innovations they have in store for us over the next 20!"