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Editor's Note: Seeing the Potential for Ethanol
by Kristin Brekke

Have you ever had the chance to sit down with ACE founder Merle Anderson to hear the story of how he first got acquainted with ethanol? I always enjoy the story and how he describes it as a religious experience.

In 1976, a friend of Merle’s invited him to come along to a meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska where a professor spoke on the benefits of ethanol and dried distillers grain. “After that meeting, I almost got a religion from it,” Merle says. “After experiencing that, I really started to see the potential for ethanol.” Merle’s passion for the issue led to the founding of the American Coalition for Ethanol, and one could argue, to many of the successes ethanol has experienced since then.

Ten years ago this spring, while at Augustana College, I happened across a listing for a summer internship at a place called the American Coalition for Ethanol. That sounds like it might be agriculture-related, I thought, perfect for a farm girl who wasn’t on the farm but still wanted to be involved in some meaningful way. I knew a week into the internship that I had found my niche and that ethanol was something very important.

I think all of us on the ACE staff have a similar story – a moment when we knew ethanol was something very important. For Brian it may have been during his time working for a South Dakota farm group or leading ag policy issues for a Senator in DC. For Ron it may have been while helping to install the first E85 pump in the state of South Dakota. “After experiencing that,” we could all say, “I really started to see the potential for ethanol.”

I know that the dedication of staff members doesn’t count among the reasons for Congress to pass tax credits or for motorists to buy ethanol at the pump – but we think it does, and should, matter for you as ACE members who entrust us with your membership dues. Please know that we personally believe in ethanol and are dedicated to doing whatever we can to help spread its benefits far and wide. Ethanol must stand on its own facts, but I’m certain that our commitment behind the scenes helps ACE to be as effective as possible.

Thirty-four years ago, I wonder if Merle had an idea of what the industry could look like today. Ethanol production is more efficient than ever, and ethanol plants are looking at new, innovative sources of power, as featured in our magazine this month. Thanks for reading Ethanol Today, and thanks for your membership support.

© American Coalition for Ethanol, all rights reserved.
The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industryís hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanolís carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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