Looking forward to 2019...
24th Annual National Ethanol Conference
By Emily Koop, Market Development Coordinator
Last week the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) hosted the 24th National Ethanol Conference in Orlando. Known as one of the top business and networking events in the industry, this conference serves as a great meeting point for all to reflect on the past year, discuss new opportunities and technologies for the future, and attend sessions focused on a variety of relevant topics.
It can be said that this past year was a tough one for the ethanol industry. Battling decreasing margins, small refinery exemptions granted by the EPA, attempted legislation encouraging RIN pricing caps and allowing exported ethanol to count towards RIN compliance. Even so, RFA President Geoff Cooper stated “Our industry made significant strides in 2018 to expand the market for E15 and flex fuels like E85. Thanks to the persistent and vocal advocacy efforts of our industry, our partners in agriculture, and our champions in Congress and the Administration, we got a firm commitment from President Trump in October to eliminate what he called an “unnecessary and ridiculous” regulatory barrier to year-round E15 sales before this summer driving season begins.”
Highlights of the event included hearing from experts about the future outlook of the petroleum and ethanol industries, insight into consumer opinions of ethanol, and our very own East Kansas Agri-Energy in Garnett, KS being recognized with the 2019 RFA Industry Award. Our staff especially enjoyed the sessions focused on renewing retailer enthusiasm for ethanol as we have been focused on expanding the number retail stations in Kansas offering higher ethanol blends. As corn producers we have much to look forward to in 2019 as we work with our friends in the ethanol industry to continue growing demand for both corn and ethanol.