ACE CEO reflects on the life of the ‘Ethanol Answer Man’

By American Coalition for Ethanol | July 21, 2020

The ethanol industry has lost another pioneer. Larry Johnson, the one and only “Ethanol Answer Man,” passed away on Sunday, July 19. Click here for the obituary. American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings reflects on his memories of the ethanol industry pioneer in issuing the following tribute:

“Larry was one of ethanol’s most energetic and passionate advocates, embodied by his near-superhero status as the ‘Ethanol Answer Man’ who traveled across Minnesota in his ‘Ethanol Answer Van’ to educate farmers, mechanics, the public and media about the benefits of ethanol.

“Like ACE’s founder Merle Anderson, Larry Johnson was first and foremost a Minnesota farmer who saw ethanol as a way to help rescue the rural economy from the 1980s farm crisis. Indeed, he was a driving force behind the effort to ensure farmers had an ownership stake in the ethanol industry. As the former President of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and member of the National Corn Growers Association Board of Directors, Larry was also instrumental in pushing for public policies to benefit farmers and the ethanol industry.

“Larry was one of the first people to reach out to offer his assistance when I started at ACE 16 years ago. He was a trusted advisor over the years, patiently teaching me about the history of ethanol, but also helping me understand the future of this industry as well.

“An avid reader of ACE’s Ethanol Today magazine, Larry would often email or text me a quick complement (or correction). In fact, my last interaction with Larry was one month ago when he said through a text message, ‘I just read your May/June column. Just excellent.’ After thanking him and asking how he’s doing, Larry replied, ‘doing great, keeping busy with a few board positions, some volunteering, working in my greenhouse, gardening, golfing, and following the ethanol industry.’

“Rest in peace Larry! I’m glad Heaven will have its very own ‘Ethanol Answer Man.’”