ACE Conference & Trade Show Held in Sioux Falls

Sens. Daschle, Talent Address Industry Via Sattelite
By Jessica Williams | August 01, 2003
Several hundred people converged in Sioux Falls, S.D., for the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) 16th Annual Meeting and Ethanol Conference on July 30-August 1. Highlighted by the U.S. Senate's passing of the Energy Bill, the conference focused on topics ranging from the current ethanol market to where the future market is heading.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., was Thursday's keynote speaker for the event, but since he was in Washington D.C. to support the Energy Bill, he appeared at the Sioux Falls Convention Center via satellite. Daschle expressed his determination in passing the Energy Bill, which would double the country's output of ethanol and put a ban on the additive MTBE, found to contaminate drinking water supplies.

"We will spare no effort to get this legislation passed," Daschle said to the ACE conference audience. "I can't think of any work that is more worth doing than working for ethanol."

On Friday, Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., had the honor of announcing the Senate's completion of passing the Energy Bill via satellite from Washington.

"I think this fall we're going to have a pro-growth, pro-jobs Energy Bill and it's going to be led by a Renewable Fuels Standard," Talent said.

The ACE Trade Show featured 117 exhibitors displaying products and services for the ethanol business. ACE acting executive director Ron Lamberty said the wealth of information distributed was valuable to everyone involved in the ethanol industry.

"We're trying to provide as much information [as possible about the current state of] the ethanol industry," Lamberty said. "We're more geared towards giving a broad update of what's going on in the industry as opposed to technical issues."

Tom Houser, of CoBank, and Randy Aberle, of AgCountry Farm Credit Services, presented "By the Numbers: What Bankers Worry About," giving a detailed account of what bankers are looking forward to in ethanol plants. Other issues such as "Biodiesel – What it Takes to Make it Work" and "Changes in the Petroleum Industry" helped those in attendance better understand those aspects of the fuel industry.

The future of ethanol was discussed in "The Ethanol Industry 10 Years From Now," and corn prices were the topic of the "Commodity Market Update." Other sessions included an ethanol plant update from 41 of the 73 plants in the United States and an analysis of ethanol's role in the Northeast.

The conference closed with a tour of the Dakota Ethanol, LLC, plant in nearby Wentworth, S.D. The building was the first farmer-owned plant in the state and also the first facility in the upper Midwest to produce over 40 mmgy. There are currenly 10 ethanol plants in South Dakota.

Overall, Lamberty said the conference went off without a hitch. He credited the ACE staff for excellent planning skills.

"Fortunately everything was pretty much put together," Lamberty said. "We wanted to put on a good conference that had what people expected out of ACE."

Next year's conference is slated for July 28-30, 2004, in Duluth, Minn. EP