April 30, 2012

Nebraska corn planting 44% complete; farmers planted 3.1 million acres last week

Current crop year planting progress.
Nebraska farmers continued their rapid planting pace over the last week, with reports from the field noting that many farmers in the eastern half of the state have already wrapped up corn planting. Some have moved onto soybeans while others are taking a break and will hit soybeans hard later this week or next.

According to USDA's crop progress report today, the state's corn crop is 44 percent planted, which is up from 14 percent last week, and up significantly from last year's 12 percent planted by this date and the five-year average of 23 percent planted.
Five-year average planting progress.

That means Nebraska farmers are 266 percent ahead of last year's pace and 91 percent ahead of the five-year average! It also means, should USDA's planting intentions hold, that Nebraska farmers planted 3.1 million acres of corn in the last seven days.

(Not to be outdone, Iowa corn farmers went from 9 to 50 percent planted in one week...that represents some 6 million acres planted in seven days!)

As for emergence, USDA said 4 percent of the state's crop has emerged, up from 1 percent last year and the average.

Nationally, farmers have 53 percent of the crop planted, which is up from 28 percent last week, from only 12 percent last year and just 27 percent for the five-year average.

If USDA's planting intentions number is accurate, that means the country's farmers planted 24 million acres of corn in the last week! They're also 342 percent ahead of last year's pace and 96 percent ahead of average.

Of that planted crop, 15 percent has emerged, which is up from 9 percent last week and is well ahead of last year's 4 percent and the average of 6 percent.

What a difference a year makes!

Meet Nebraska Corn Board Director, Bob Dickey

Bob Dickey represents District 4 for the Nebraska Corn Board and has been serving as a director on the board for over 19 years. Bob has served as secretary, treasurer, vice chairman, and chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board during his time on the board. He is a third generation farmer and farms around the Laurel, Nebraska area. His farm consists of corn, soybeans, swine, and cattle.

Bob has been very active in the agricultural industry by serving on both state and national organizations. He is the past Chairman of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and was in charge of representing the corn industry as it moved towards increasing the value of the U.S. corn crop. He also served as the Chairman for the U.S. Grains Council where he traveled to Mexico, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Australia to promote Nebraska corn and U.S. feed grains to foreign grain buyers. Bob was also part of former Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns trade missions to Japan, China, and Mexico while also traveling with the current Nebraska Governor, Dave Heinemann, to Europe in 2008. Bob also was part of Lt. Governor Rick Sheehy’s trade mission to Cuba in 2006.

Bob has served as a state senator in the Nebraska Legislature and is a member of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association, the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation and the American Legion. He is active in his local church, school, and the community of Laurel. Not only has Bob played a pivotal role in our nation’s agriculture industry, but also proudly served in the United States Army from 1961 to 1962.

Bob and his wife, Mary, are parents of three married children: Julie, Jim, and June. They are the proud grandparents of six grandchildren.

April 26, 2012

Nebraska Corn Board Staff Report with Don Hutchens

In this week's staff report, Don Hutchens talks about the recent passage of LB1057, which increases the checkoff from 1/4 of a cent to 1/2 of a cent. To learn more about the Nebraska Corn Board, be sure to visit http://www.nebraskacorn.org/!

April 25, 2012

Podcast: Approval of LB 1057 (corn checkoff bill) is good for corn growers, Nebraska

In this podcast, Carl Sousek, a farmer from Prague and president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, said the passage of LB 1057, which will allow an increase in the Nebraska corn checkoff, is good news.

The bill allows an increase in the corn checkoff rate from a quarter-cent to a half-cent per bushel beginning October 1 of this year. "We appreciate the work of the legislature on this bill and thank everyone who supported its passage," he said.

Sousek also discussed areas the checkoff will be better able to support and that the increase is "good for corn growers and good for Nebraska."

Nebraska Corn Kernel podcasts are also available on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

April 23, 2012

Nebraska's corn crop 14 percent planted

Nebraska farmers had 14 percent of the state's corn crop planted as of yesterday, which is 10 points ahead of last year's pace, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today. That's up from 4 percent planted last week and the five-year average of 9 percent planted as of this date.

If you follow USDA's estimate that Nebraska farmers will plant 10.3 million acres of corn this year, then Nebraska farmers have planted about 1.4 million acres of corn so far, a great start considering the report is only through April 22. Yet with good weather across the state over the next couple of days, the planting figure will jump significantly by next week.

A few reports from the field indicate that some farmers may complete planting by mid-week this week.

USDA also said today that 1 percent of the state's corn crop had emerged. This is well ahead of last year and the average, both of which were at zero last year, or as USDA notes in its reports: "–".

Nationally, 28 percent of the corn crop is planted, up from 17 percent last week and the five-year average of 15 percent. A year ago only 8 percent of the crop was planted.

In states that saw major delays last year (and in some cases for the last two years), farmers have been moving quickly for a couple of weeks. For example, Illinois is already 59 percent planted, which is up from 10 percent last year and the average of 17 percent. Indiana is 46 percent planted, up from 2 percent last year and the average of 10 percent, and Ohio is 34 percent planted, up from 1 percent last year and the average of 8 percent.

Iowa is only 9 percent planted, which triple last year's pace but still 5 points behind the average of 16 percent planted by this date. Minnesota is 11 percent planted, which is great compared to zero last year, but it's still just behind the five-year average of 12 percent.

As for emergence nationally, USDA said 9 percent of the crop is up and growing, a big increase from last year's and the five-year average of 2 percent.

April 20, 2012

Celebrating Earth Day with Ethanol

Blue skies, green grass, fresh air, running water, and colorful plants. These are just a few of the things that describe our wonderful planet. This Sunday, thousands of people across the United States will be celebrating “Earth Day”, which was started back in 1970 by John McConnell. Earth Day takes place every year on April 22 and is a celebration of our planet while at the same time bringing attention to environmental issues.

So what are some ways that a person can participate on Earth Day? Well there are many ways that a person can participate, such as planting a tree or recycling different items. However, another way to participate on Earth Day, that is both environmentally friendly and easier on your wallet, is to fill up your vehicle with a renewable fuel, such as ethanol. Ethanol has been proven to reduce tailpipe carbon monoxide by as much as 30 percent and also reduces particulate matter up to 50 percent. The use of ethanol won’t only have an impact on the environment now, but will be better for the environment in the future. It is estimated that by using ethanol, drivers could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20 percent in the future.

If you drive a flex-fuel vehicle (FFV), you can fill up with any ethanol blended fuel, such as E85. If you’re not sure whether or not your vehicle is a FFV, be sure to either check your fuel cap or the driver’s manual. Both should give you an indication on whether or not your vehicle can use higher blends of ethanol other than E10. Even if you don’t drive a FFV, anyone can still fill up with E10. E10 contains up to 10 percent ethanol that is blended in with 90 percent gasoline. E10 is offered at most retailers across the state of Nebraska while certain locations offer higher blends of ethanol. If you are looking for a retailer close to you that offers higher blends of ethanol, such as E85, you can visit the Nebraska Ethanol Boards website where they have all of the E85 and blender pump locations listed on a map.

As we celebrate our planet this weekend, remember that there are many ways to participate and one of the easiest ways that is both good for the planet and your wallet is filling up with ethanol!

April 19, 2012

Nebraska Corn Board Staff Report on New Blender Pump Locations

In this week's Nebraska Corn Board staff report, Kim Clark talks about the three new blender pump locations that just opened. These new locations are located in Paxton, Broken Bow, and Aurora. To find out more about blender pumps and ethanol, be sure to visit the Nebraska Corn Board website!

April 18, 2012

Childress: E15 ethanol is a viable alternative to regular gas


Richard Childress
"Today’s ethanol industry probably doesn’t look anything like most people imagine," Richard Childress, president and chief executive officer of Richard Childress Racing, wrote in the Kansas City Star.

In the piece, Childress explains that today’s ethanol producers are able to reduce emissions compared to gasoline by nearly 60 percent – and that producing ethanol adds jobs here in the United States.

"In NASCAR, we are using Sunoco Green E15, a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline," he said. "Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved E15 for all vehicles built in the last decade, which is more than 80 percent of the cars and trucks on the roads today. I like to think that if E15 is good enough for my racing team, it’s certainly good enough for everyday street cars."

He noted that NASCAR has surpassed 2 million miles of driving on E15 "without a hitch in what can only be described as a seamless transition. Plus, we’ve also seen enhanced performance. In fact, many of the teams have reported an increase in horsepower. In my mind, this proves that E15 is a viable alternative to regular gasoline."

For the full piece, click here.

April 17, 2012

Podcast: Nebraska corn farmers make big investment to get crop in the ground

In this podcast, Joel Grams, a farmer from Minden and member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, notes that USDA's early estimate is for Nebraska corn farmers to plant some 10.3 million acres of corn this spring – the most in the Nebraska since the early 1930s.

As noted by the Nebraska Corn Board, Grams said, it costs about $270 per acre in crop inputs to plant corn and get it off to a good start.

"When taken times 10.3 million acres, that means Nebraska farmers plan to invest some $2.8 billion this spring just to plant corn," said Grams. That figure doesn’t include land costs, labor or equipment. It’s purely crop inputs like seed and fertilizer.

"That’s a lot of dollars spent by farmers all across the state," he said. "Those dollars go to cooperatives and other companies who provide the inputs, so it circulates further through the state’s economy."

So how is this planting investment coming along in Nebraska? USDA said today that 4 percent of the state's corn crop is planted, double the pace of last year and 3 points ahead of the five-year average. Nationwide, 17 percent of the crop is planted, up from 5 percent last year and the five-year average.

Nebraska Corn Kernel podcasts are also available on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

April 16, 2012

Agriculture degrees useless? AIA students disagree

By Shannon Wietjes, Nebraska Corn Growers Association intern

“Watching miniscule seedlings peep through the earth for the first time during a hazy, spring mist… experiencing the first steps that a newborn calf takes…or watching streams of golden grain pour into a combine are some of the incredible sights that one without an agricultural background or degree may never experience.”

High school FFA students from across Nebraska met in Lincoln for the 2nd Annual Agricultural Issues Academy recently and discussed issues like a Yahoo! News article, which stated that degrees in agriculture are among the most useless degrees currently.

Click for a larger photo.
The FFA students attending AIA were given the Yahoo! News article and asked to create a rebuttal to it. Statistics such as “according to the 2007 census of agriculture, the fastest growing group of farm operators is those 65 years of age and over” and “agriculture provides jobs for 1.23 million hard working Americans” were shared. AIA students were very interested in this topic as many of them are looking to pursue a degree and career in agriculture after they graduate from high school.

Reading and hearing the responses from the students was a wonderful testament to the future of the agriculture industry. Although the Yahoo! News writer believes degrees in agriculture are useless, these students are wonderful examples of hope and excitement for the agriculture industry.

 One student said, “Without those jobs (in agriculture) we won’t be able to get the country back on its feet, feed the hungry, clothe the naked or climb the unreachable of our country’s potential”. Another student shared, “Funny how a person could deem the field that keeps them alive as being ‘useless’.” These high school FFA students understand the importance of agriculture and are excited to pursue degrees in agriculture and help feed, clothe and move the world forward.

“Cows will never be able to ‘care’ for themselves and corn will not plant itself,” one student explained while discussing that agriculture is a field that will always be important.

Students’ responses ranged from funny to heartwarming, but all of the AIA students articulated the importance of agriculture and shared their excitement to be part of this industry in the future.

Not all of the students that attended AIA live on a farm or ranch, yet they understand the agriculture industry. One student shared this quote that sums up the culture of the agriculture industry and the future the students see in agriculture: “Working all day long isn’t a chore to him because he loves what he does because he is making a difference in the world.”

Although some may think degrees in agriculture are worthless, these students understand the importance of agriculture and are excited to get ag degrees and work in the agriculture industry in the future!

April 12, 2012

Nebraska Corn Board Staff Report

In this week's staff report, Kelly Brunkhorst talks about the recent March Planting Intentions Report. Kelly mentions the current estimates on  how much corn will be planted this spring along with planting intentions in other states. He also talks about the current progress of planting in Nebraska. If you would like to learn more about Nebraska corn production, be sure to visit the Nebrask Corn Board website!

April 11, 2012

Podcast: Sharing key points from the Nebraska Corn Board’s business plan

In this podcast, Tim Scheer, a farmer from St. Paul and member of the Nebraska Corn Board, discusses the Corn Board's business plan, which you can download here. (.pdf).

The plan helps explain the board's priorities now and in the future when the checkoff rate increases. (The bill authorizing an increase in the checkoff rate easily passed last week, after this Podcast was recorded. For more on that, click here.)

It includes increasing research into food, biofuels and water use, as well as creating additional value-added uses for corn. Livestock production is also key, as is consumer outreach and communication.

"We need to continue sharing how we are sustaining innovation by growing more corn with fewer inputs," Scheer said. "This same message holds true on the livestock side, where we believe it is important to help explain how farmers and ranchers are caring for their livestock and becoming even more sustainable, too."

Nebraska Corn Kernel podcasts are also available on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

April 10, 2012

Video: Importance of corn to the meat export market

In a news release last month, the Nebraska Corn Board noted that the United States sold more than $5.4 billion in U.S. beef and $6.1 billion in U.S. pork – both records – to international customers last year.

It's an achievement that comes, in part, due to the building of relationships with global customers over the years, Mark Jagels (@markjagels on Twitter), a farmer from Davenport and member of the Nebraska Corn Board, said in the release.

“International buyers and consumers want to know where their beef and pork are coming from. They want to know it is safe and nutritious, and they want U.S. farmers and ranchers to help tell that story,” Jagels said. “Farmers here in Nebraska and across the country help do that by using checkoff dollars to support international marketing efforts organized by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.”

In this video, Mark further discusses the importance of corn to the nation's growing meat export markets.

April 9, 2012

Husker Food Connection!

It seems like food is a hot topic these days with many wanting to know who is growing our food and what production methods farmers and ranchers are using. To help solve some of these myths, students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources will be hosting a new event called Husker Food Connection!

The purpose of this new event is to help get the conversation started with young consumers, and what better way to get that conversation started than hosting it on UNL’s city campus.“There is a huge public disconnect about where our food comes from and how important Nebraska agriculture is to Nebraska’s economy. We wanted to start right here on campus to dispel myths about agriculture, answer questions and hopefully get a conversation started about our food and fiber system,” Kristin Witte, a student leader for the event that will take place on Tuesday, April 10th from 10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. in front of the city campus union. Students from UNL’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources will spend the day answering questions their fellow peers may have about production agriculture.

Students can also indulge in food that comes from agriculture products as well as have some fun, such as riding the mechanical bull and seeing real livestock. Along with those things, students can also sign up to win a FREE ipad! “The cool thing about this event is that it is organized by students with a passion for agriculture. It is time for us to connect with other students and share our food stories. While we are talking about food and the importance agriculture has on our daily lives, we are also creating a fun atmosphere in the process. Those of us in CASNR ultimately want our fellow Huskers to know what we grow,” Witte said.

The event is co-sponsored by CASNR and the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska, a collaborative effort to support Nebraska Agriculture awareness.

April 5, 2012

Nebraska Corn Board Staff Report with Kelsey Pope

In this week's staff report, Kelsey Pope talks about CommonGround Nebraska and some of latest campaigns. If you are intersted in what CommonGround does, be sure to visit their website!

The Tools to Increasing Yields

Do you know how many people will be on the planet by 2050? The answer to that question is 9 billion people! That is a lot people and a lot of mouths to feed. With this increase in population, it will mean that farmers will have to be able to produce more food with fewer resources. So how exactly will farmers be able to increase yields when they have limited resources available?

Back in March I attended Commodity Classic down in Nashville, Tennessee and had the opportunity to attend the “Doubling Yields in 20 Years or Less” learning session that was hosted by Brian and Darren Hefty. The Hefty brothers pointed out several ways that farmers can increase their yields starting now.

The first thing the Hefty brothers mentioned is that farmers must be committed to increasing their yields. Now, most farmers would say they are, but are they truly dedicated to increasing their yields? The reason why I ask this is because increasing yields doesn’t just happen by snapping their fingers. Farmers must be willing to take the time to study different traits that are available and also be willing to try different methods that may not be the “norm”. Farmers also must be willing to communicate with seed dealers, agronomists, and yes, even their neighbors. Farmers should be more willing to share their knowledge with others as well as being able to listen to what other farmers are doing.

Not only should farmers be taking the time to study different production methods, but they should also be willing to attend production seminars. Most seminars are only about a half day with some lasting a full day. These seminars can usually be found all over the state and are usually held by local extension agents along with different companies sharing their new products.

Increasing yields doesn’t only involve going to seminars and studying the different production methods that are available, but it also means that a farmer needs to spend more time out in the field scouting. Farmers should scout their fields more often to see if they are gaining the most out of their crop. Just because one area of a field looks great doesn’t mean that rest of it will turn out great as well. Even if a farmer thinks he is doing a good job scouting, there is a good chance he could do even more scouting. The better the farmer gets to know the field, the better idea they will have on what they need to change the following year.

 Along with everything I just stated the biggest thing that producers need to do is be willing to try new things, whether it is a different production method or investing in new technology. Most of the time, farmers won’t try something new because they are afraid they might not succeed at it. While it is true that failures will happen, we can’t let failures hold us back from trying new things. Instead of looking at it as a failure, look at it as a learning opportunity and try something different the next time. If farmers don’t learn from their mistakes, then increasing yields won’t happen. It is going to take risks and innovation to increase yields in the future and farmers must start taking the steps now.

A growing world population means more people, which means’ more food, which leads to increased production. If farmers use the tools I just suggested, they will be able to increase their yields and feed the ever growing world population. The tools are there and farmers must be willing to use them!

April 4, 2012

Legislature approves increase in Nebraska corn checkoff rate

The Nebraska Legislature today approved LB 1057, a bill that allows an increase in the state's corn checkoff rate from a quarter-cent ($0.0025) to a half-cent ($0.005) per bushel beginning Oct. 1 of this year.

The bill passed with 44 votes and now goes to Governor Dave Heineman. (To view the legislation file, click here.)

Increasing the checkoff was a top priority of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association this year, as noted by NeCGA president Carl Sousek, a farmer from Prague, in January. (Also listed to this podcast by Brandon Hunnicutt and this podcast from Sousek.)

In January, Sousek noted: "We do have the lowest checkoff rate in the country. We don’t want to fall behind when it comes to our responsibilities on a national level, and we don’t want to fall behind on our responsibilities right here within the state. We want to make sure we support our local investments in research and education and market development right here in the state—and that takes resources."

The Nebraska Corn Board, which oversees the corn checkoff, developed a business plan saying how it would utilize funds derived from the checkoff increase. You can download the business plan here (.pdf).

Here are some ways the Nebraska Corn Board said it will utilize additional resources stemming from an increase in the checkoff:
  • Research: Food, biofuels and water research are top of the list to create efficiencies and stay sustainable—and discover new value-added uses for an ever-increasing corn crop. Potential partnerships and collaboration with Innovation Campus at UNL are a top priority.
  • Livestock Production: Find increased efficiencies in livestock production through the feeding of distillers grains, a feed produced by ethanol plants. Also support the sustainability and growth of responsible livestock production in the state.
  • Consumer Outreach and Communication: Through educating consumers on how farmers are growing more corn on less land with fewer resources.
  • Expanding and Defending Markets: Promote and defend markets both domestically and internationally for ethanol, livestock and other value added products produced in Nebraska.
  • Youth and Leadership Development: Developing opportunities for the next generation of agriculture leaders through jobs and rural economic development.

Have you been slimed?


CommonGround volunteer spokeswoman and beef producer, Joan Ruskamp, posted on the CommonGround Nebraska blog about lean finely textured beef, or what the media has dubbed, "Pink Slime". 

Do you want to know if you’ve been slimed by the recent attacks on lean, finely textured beef? I find the sudden interest in the processing method used for what the media has coined “pink slime” to be lacking in solid facts. I raise beef cattle, and therefore I care about the beef products we provide for you and your families.

Lean, finely textured beef is made from bits of meat after steaks, roasts and ribs have been processed. This mixture is heated to remove the fat and is nearly 95% lean. Because this mixture is added to products such as hamburger for added value there is an additional step of food safety taken.

Before the lean, finely textured beef is added to anything, a processing aid is used to kill off possible contaminants. Processing aids are not required to be declared in the ingredients list on the food label because, by definition, processing aids have no technical or functional effect in the finished food and because they are either not present or are present at only insignificant levels in the finished food. This labeling exemption dates back to 1973.

The processing aid used in lean, finely textured beef is ammonium hydroxide gas. As part of the commitment to provide the safest lean beef possible, research created the pH enhancement process, which relies upon slightly increasing the level of ammonium hydroxide already present in beef in order to elevate its pH. 

Ammonium hydroxide is naturally found in beef, other proteins, and virtually all foods. It is widely used in the processing of numerous foods, such as baked goods, cheeses, gelatins, chocolate, caramels, and puddings. One result of this food safety system is the dramatic reduction in the number of potential pathogens that may be present in foods, such as E.coli O157:H7.

 So why aren’t we hearing complaints about the pudding, buns, cheeses and other foods processed with ammonium hydroxide gas? Is this sudden outcry about using lean, finely textured beef really a food safety concern? If it is, then we should also be concerned about eating all of the foods in the table below.
This recent attack on a finely, textured beef is not something to be taken lightly. This process allows us to have leaner, safer beef products at a lower cost. And it proves good stewardship on behalf of beef producers for eliminating waste and improving food safety.

I fear that through the claims from the media about products made with lean, finely textured beef, we’ve all been slimed. Please check my sources below. I would love your help in “un-sliming” consumers regarding lean, finely textured beef.

Here are two of my sources for this blog. Click on each link to read more: 
1. Questions and Anwers about Processing Aids Used in Modern Food Production
2.  Ammonium Hydroxide - What is it?

Other Resources:

April 3, 2012

Registration of E15 significant step in expanding use of ethanol

Three years ago, more than 5,000 Nebraskans voiced their support of E15 by sending postcards created by the Nebraska Corn Board to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA (finally!) approved E15 as registered fuel yesterday, helping clear the way for the 15 percent ethanol blend to be used in cars, light duty trucks and SUVs model year 2001 and newer – more than 120 million vehicles across the country, the Nebraska Corn Board said in a news release yesterday.

“This has been a long road, filled with a lot of research, a lot of technicalities and a lot of work by many organizations who support the use of ethanol and biofuels,” said Kim Clark, ag program manager of the Nebraska Corn Board. “The end goal is to increase the amount of renewable fuel available to motorists in the United States, which can help lower fuel costs and reduce our dependence on petroleum-based fuels.”

The approval is important because the ethanol industry hit a “blend wall” in the last year since a vast majority of the fuel sold in the U.S. is already an ethanol blend, mostly E10.

“The industry has the capability to produce beyond that wall, and we need to take advantage of it, especially since we are producing ethanol for $1 per gallon less than petroleum-based gasoline right now. It’s saving motorists money right now at E10 and can save even more with E15,” she said.

While EPA gave its go ahead for E15, it may take additional time before the higher blend is available at pumps in Nebraska and elsewhere.

Labeling for E15 has already been approved, of course, but fuel retailers need to have misfueling mitigation plans on file with EPA and station owners will need to decide if they want to offer the fuel – E15 is not a mandate or requirement; it is simply an option for retailers.

The Nebraska Corn Board said some fuel retailers may benefit by installing a blender pump, which will allow them to more easily offer multiple ethanol blends, including both E10 and E15, as well as E85, which is approved only for flex fuel vehicles.

“We have had a grant program over the last couple of years that helps station owners cover some of their costs in installing a blender pump,” Clark said.

April 2, 2012

EPA approves 15 percent ethanol (E15) in gasoline

The Environmental Protection Agency said today it has approved the use of E15 – a 15 percent ethanol blend for vehicles model year 2001 or newer - by registering E15 as a fuel.

The registration allows E15 to be introduced into the marketplace but does not require it. Fuel retailers will make that decision on their own – and must have a misfueling mitigation plan before they can sell E15 (EPA has a model plan companies can adopt). In some states, additional requirements may need to be met.

For more than 30 years ethanol has been blended into gasoline, but the law limited it to 10 percent (E10) by volume for use in gasoline-fueled vehicles. "Registration of ethanol to make E15 is a significant step toward its production, sale and use in model year 2001 and newer gasoline-fueled cars and light truck," EPA said today.

The registration comes some three years after March 2009 initial request by several ethanol organizations. More than 5,000 Nebraskans supported the petition in 2009 by sending yellow postcards to EPA.

To enable widespread use of E15, the Administration has set a goal to help fueling station owners install 10,000 blender pumps over the next five years – something the industry has itself been working on over the past couple of years. 

EPA said today’s action "follows an extensive technical review required by law."

As of now, E15 is not permitted for use in motor vehicles built prior to 2001 model year and in off-road vehicles and equipment such as boats and lawn and garden equipment. Gas pumps dispensing E15 will also be labeled so consumers can make the right choice.

More information from EPA, go to EPA's E15 page here.