July 17, 2017

Japanese Bioethanol Media Team Experiences the Good Life

Japanese Bioethanol Media Trade Team Experiences the Good Life
July 12, 2017

This past week, a Japanese Bioethanol Media Team got to experience the “Good Life” here in Nebraska. I was fortunate enough to ride along with the team one for the days. It was a great learning experience! The U.S. Grains Council worked with the Nebraska Corn Board to host the delegation and demonstrate the positive impacts of the ethanol industry in Nebraska.

The team consisted of delegates that were media professionals, university professors and a microbiologist. Tommy Hanamoto, a Director for the U.S. Grains Council selected these delegates because of their ability to influence their communities.

Currently, Japan is not using corn ethanol. The Japanese government has only allowed Brazilian sugarcane as a biofuel option because of its high greenhouse gas reduction capabilities. However, the Japanese government leaders are looking to revise the policy and use corn ethanol in the future. This team was here to learn and then return home to provide industry data to the public and government officials.

Tommy said, “Our main focus is to get them really educated and broaden their understanding,” said Hanamoto.

David Schuler, an intern with the U.S. Grains Council was also part
of this tour. He is a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, grew up on a farm in Nebraska and was a part of planning this trip.

“Being a citizen from Nebraska, I am excited to work for the U.S. Grains Council this summer and specifically to show our Japanese media team the numerous benefits of American Ethanol with Nebraska based companies,” said Schuler.

It is exciting to see young adults involved in these discussions about ethanol, trade and the future. The diversity of minds and ideas are what make it possible for this industry to constantly improve. David worked with Nebraska Corn Board staff to plan a variety of visits that would answer questions and make clear how corn, ethanol and distillers grains benefit our communities in many different ways.

The day started with a great question and answer series at Green Plains headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. The team was able to see the ethanol trade floor and learn the ins and outs of the company. It was great to see the team’s excitement as Jim Stark, vice president, and Brandon Thomas, trader, shared how the value of this product has been realized.

Jim shared with the group that the world will experience a protein and octane shortage in the future.

The team visited Siouxland Ethanol in Jackson, Nebraska. This plant recently celebrated its 10 years. Seven hundred investors in the area own the plant, and they have each made good on their investment by supporting ethanol, producing corn and using distillers grains.

Nick Bowdish, CEO of Siouxland Ethanol told the media team that he is looking for the headline to read, “we should buy U.S. ethanol” when the delegation returns to Japan. This brought many smiles and laughter to the conference room.

Time spent at Siouxland was filled with great conversations about how ethanol started, where it is going, its efficiencies, challenges and many statistics. What made these discussions so great was that everyone had a personal investment. The trade team wants what is best for their country and the Nebraska producers were sharing their personal experiences and successes from working with ethanol.

In addition to the roundtable discussion, the team was shown the plant facilities. The trip around the plant showed the trade team how field corn can be used in so many different ways, making the most out of a bushel, all while helping the environment and providing jobs.

We left the plant and headed to Jackson Express, a gas station that uses ethanol directly from Siouxland Ethanol.

“Ethanol is a superior fuel,” said Bowdish. Now, the team was able to see it at the pump, how it is blended and why it appeals to consumers.

Another stop made was at Alexander Feedlots. The team had seen the business of ethanol, the plant, a fueling station and now a feedlot using distillers grains. Alexander Feedlots had a great family history and stories that had everyone’s attention on the bus. The farm had been destroyed by a tornado, was completely rebuilt and is still going as strong today as it was in the 1940s when it started.

This feedlot used Siouxland Ethanol distillers grains so it was a great tie into the rest of the day and the team was able to experience the great smell of Feedlot that Nebraskans are all too familiar with.

This is a review of just one day of their visit. By the end of this day it was clear that ethanol is a standard commodity and is valued just as much as any other, if not more.

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