Archive for January, 2010

State and Federal Governments Advocate for Ethanol

January 29, 2010

From the halls of Washington and the Ohio Statehouse, the future for ethanol is bright.

It’s potential and significance was made evident after listening to both Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s State of the State Address and President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address. I was happy to hear the officials’ plans for implementing renewable-fuels production in our state and throughout our country.

OCGA will monitor both Gov. Strickland’s and President Obama’s progress in the coming months and will also continue to provide information about opportunities to develop infrastructure for a growing industry. Promises are one thing; action is what OCGA is looking for.

Here are some of the key comments in both speeches.

“We are taking the vital next steps to advance our energy economy,” Strickland said, citing the creation of the Energy Gateway Fund to invest in fuel cells, solar, wind, energy storage and the like in the Buckeye State.

Ethanol’s influence is far-reaching in terms of its economic, environmental and energy-security benefits. Strickland and Obama are well aware of these benefits.

Ethanol Stats

  • In 2009, the U.S. ethanol industry supported nearly half-a-million jobs.
  • Research shows a 35 to 46 percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions and a 50 to 60 percent reduction in fossil-energy consumption because of the use of ethanol as a motor fuel.
  • The production and use of 10.6 billion gallons of ethanol in 2009 displaced the need for more than 321.4 million barrels of oil and saved American consumers and taxpayers more than $32 billion.

“Providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future, because the nation that leads the clean-energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy, and America must be that nation,” Obama said.

To ensure our progress, both leaders noted that Ohio and the country at large must be proactive and resolute.

“We’ve made it this far, this fast on advanced energy because we pursued smart, responsible policies and we made smart, responsible investments,” Strickland said.

Obama concurred, “But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. That means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies.”

My conviction in ethanol as a premier biofuel is greater than ever. OCGA will continue to advocate ethanol as a domestic, green-energy source and will also campaign to increase the allowable limit of ethanol-blend fuel at the pump.

I hope both our state and nation continue on the path of advancing ethanol for everyone’s benefit.

‘Til next time,

Dwayne Siekman

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Ohio Corn Growers Association’s priorities in sync with U.S. priorities

January 19, 2010

After reviewing an informal poll about our farmer-board members, I’ve recognized one thing: The goals of OCGA in 2010 coincide with the goals of the nation—with an overarching result to revive the economy.

The Washington Post and numerous other media outlets say now that the health-care debate is wrapping up in D.C., the focus is back to jobs.

While I won’t comment about the health-care debate, I can tell you that the farming industry is in the business of providing jobs to Americans, even as segments of other industries ship out jobs overseas.

Agriculture in Ohio is nearly a $98 billion industry. It supports an array of jobs both for farmers and businesses that support farming, such as equipment dealers, fertilizer suppliers, ethanol plants and seed companies. Ohio’s ethanol plants have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into providing new jobs and new uses for the abundant corn crop grown here in the Buckeye State.

In February, we will accompany our farmers on a mission to Washington, D.C., to talk about how farming contributes to the economy and why votes in favor of agriculture help all Americans.

For example, ethanol production has spurred job growth not only in Ohio but also in many other states; we need to continue to provide information showing the economic, environmental and national security benefits of this domestic fuel. We are educating lawmakers about the need for higher blends and advocating for an increased ethanol-blend requirement as ethanol production creates green jobs, stimulates corn demand and reduces foreign sources of energy.

Food is vital for survival. Therefore, OCGA will continue to focus on the issue of safeguarding livestock production to ensure a safe, reliable food supply. As corn growers, we provide feed to livestock and poultry in Ohio and overseas that maintains this food supply. Numerous studies and reports show that more and more people will go hungry in the coming years because they lack access to this abundant supply. By advocating for improved trade agreements that open foreign markets to U.S. agriculture products, we can continue to feed the world while keeping and creating jobs in the U.S. And by protecting livestock production in America, we can keep up with demand for food in our own country.

Another way we’re guaranteeing our economic climate is to be at the table in talks about greenhouse gas legislation. Year after year, farmers are producing more with less and reducing emissions. OCGA will remain visible in this debate to ensure that agriculture is seen as a solution to increased emissions worldwide and at the same time, is not penalized by any legislation that could negatively impact our industry.

Come February, our grassroots advocates—your farmer neighbors—will have materials in hand to show legislators what agriculture means to the economy in Ohio.

Corn’s portion of economic success is secure and continues to grow with the nation’s needs.

I look forward to blogging about my experiences in D.C. as I campaign for corn’s increased role in supporting America’s economy.

Agriculture and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: A Look Back at Copenhagen

January 12, 2010

My recent visit to the Copenhagen Climate Conference was a great opportunity for me to represent Ohio farmers with a global community. It allowed me to discuss the position of American agriculture as it relates to global climate policy with professionals throughout the world.

And though Copenhagen has come and gone, I’m still considering how climate-change discussions impact agriculture, specifically how agriculture and greenhouse gas reductions are tied together more than ever.

The number of opinions on both sides of the climate debate seems endless and will remain up for debate. What isn’t up for debate is agriculture’s role in reducing GHGs through precision farming, methane digesters, nitrous oxide emission reductions and new technology.

The agriculture industry includes a variety of players – scientists, farmers, politicians and more – and each has something to say about the state of our environment.

The variety of voices at the Copenhagen Climate Conference underscored the following:

• World agriculture accounts for only 14 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions, yet it disproportionately receives a lot of blame.
• Agriculture can play a substantial role in greenhouse gas reductions when its members utilize advanced technology and techniques.
• Attention to renewable fuels has been re-emphasized and the corn industry should pay attention to how it can leverage ethanol

The significance of greenhouse gas mitigation will only increase as we all search for ways to better the space we live and breathe in every day. Now more than ever, it’s important to become a voice for our country in dispelling the myth of the negligent farmer and replace that stereotype with the truth of the thousands of farmer’s nationwide practicing responsible farming.

I look forward to continuing my knowledge in this subject matter and also to relaying more information about the corn industry to you. I hope you visit often.

‘Til next time,

Dwayne