The Way I See IT

Remember what got us here
By Mike Bryan | January 01, 2004
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Throughout our industry's formative years, we invariably talked about ethanol being good for the farm economy, good for cars and good for Main Street business. Here in the United States, we used to say ethanol was as American as "motherhood, baseball and apple pie." I'll admit, our ideals were a bit hokey, but we believed in the fight.

And we still do.

Today, however, our focus has been redirectedI think appropriately soon urban air shed models, ozone, reformulated gasoline (RFG), non-attainment areas, and a host of other issues that have pulled us slightly away from our roots. I'm referring to the roots that gave birth to this industry: independence, freedom, rural economic
development, value added agriculture and improving the lot of farm families everywhere.

We shouldn't be apologetic about where we came from. It is, after all, the very cause that has allowed the industry to prevail for more than two decades.

Agriculture is a dominant political powerhouse worldwide. The fact that ethanol is one of the prevailing bright spots on the agricultural horizon and an important contributor to the economic hope of farm families everywhere, keeps it on the front burner of rural economic development activities around the globe.

While we certainly need to keep abreast of a changing world, I am equally convinced that the very thing that got us where we are today should not be brushed aside like a rusted relic of the past. Rather, it would make good sense for us to go back to our roots and ask why ethanol was important 25 years ago, and is that reason still relevant today?

In an increasingly competitive rural economic environment, I say it is, perhaps more so than ever.

So let's not forget what got us here, and what is still inspiring farm families from California to Ontario, and from Texas to New York, to develop new ethanol plants. It's all about the ability of determined farm families to take control of their own destiny and leave a better place for generations to come. It's about self-determination and saying "no" to the cycle of exporting corn for
processing and then buying it back at retail. So while the industry must remain flexible in order to fit into a changing market place, let's remember to stop on occasion and remember our roots.

As the old saying goes, "Keep your eye on the eagle."

Mike Bryan
President, BBI International
mbryan@bbibiofuels.com