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FROM THE FEBRUARY ISSUE: The RFA looks forward to facing challenges and seizing opportunities at this year's NEC.
By Geoff Cooper | January 23, 2019

Every day, our industry battles antiquated regulatory hurdles, attacks on the Renewable Fuel Standard, protectionist trade barriers, and a constant barrage of myths and misinformation that threaten to undermine demand for ethanol and coproducts. It is easy to become weary and discouraged.

But 2019 is a new year full of untapped opportunities and promise. Ethanol remains the highest-octane, lowest-cost motor fuel on the planet. And it is the only tool available at scale in the near-term to significantly reduce carbon emissions from gasoline. Meanwhile, the industry’s coproducts—including distillers grains and distillers oil—provide indispensable protein and energy to a hungry world.

As underscored by the theme of this year’s National Ethanol Conference, “Powered with Renewed Energy,” the Renewable Fuels Association will be attacking these challenges and pursuing new opportunities with renewed vigor and passion in 2019. And we are certain that attending this year’s NEC, Feb. 11 to 13 in Orlando, will help renew your own energy and enthusiasm for advocating on behalf of our extraordinary industry as well.

Now in its 24th year, the NEC provides unrivaled content and fantastic networking opportunities. In 2018, about 1,000 industry leaders and professionals attended the NEC, representing 37 states, the District of Columbia and 17 countries.

The NEC draws energy executives, agricultural leaders, policymakers and regulators, and other stakeholders from around the globe. The annual conference has always featured the best speakers on emerging issues affecting the biofuel and agriculture sectors, and this year is no exception.

Among this year’s featured speakers are:

• Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Dan Nicholson, vice president of Propulsion Systems for General Motors, discussing the need for high-octane fuels and the pathway to get there.

• Renowned energy economist Philip Verleger, providing an outlook for the global liquid fuels market, which has been volatile and affected by geopolitical risks.

• Political pundits John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon, co-hosts of Showtime’s political documentary series “The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth,” offering an entertaining and engaging luncheon session about the current and future political climate.

• A leading pollster presenting the results of new focus group discussions on “What Consumers Really Think About Ethanol.”

In addition, there will be discussions on developments in the ethanol export market, ethanol’s role in a low-carbon future, our annual “Washington Insiders” discussion on policy-related issues, as well as the “State of the Industry” report, outlining the industry’s accomplishments in the past year and a preview of what’s to come.

The RFA also recognizes the need to help educate future generations about the U.S. ethanol industry and the numerous benefits renewable fuels bring to our economy, energy security and environment. That’s why RFA, in conjunction with the Renewable Fuels Foundation, is pleased to again offer the NEC Scholarship Program, which provides two students in higher education with scholarships to attend the NEC. The scholarships cover the cost of the registration fee (a $949 value), and the lodging and airfare associated with the conference.

So, join us in sunny Orlando to re-energize yourself for the trials, travails and triumphs of 2019. We look forward to seeing you!

To register or for more information, visit www.nationalethanolconference.com.


Author: Geoff Cooper
President and CEO
Renewable Fuels Association
202.289.3835
gcooper@ethanolrfa.org