RFA membership grows with the ethanol industry

By | April 23, 2007
In the past two years, reflecting the immense growth of the ethanol industry, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has seen an increase in membership numbers.

Rick Serie, general manager of Great Plains Ethanol in Chancellor, S.D., and RFA membership committee chair for the past three years, said he has certainly seen a change from when he first sat on the committee six years ago.

"The membership growth has kept pace with the growth in the ethanol industry," Serie said. "I think ethanol has been in the spotlight more, and has more notoriety and more attention drawn to it than ever, and that certainly helps our efforts in recruiting memberships for the RFA."

To illustrate his point, Serie said at the close of 2005, there were 139 total members. This year, there are 316. In 2005, there were 39 producer members, and this year there are 62. The RFA has also recorded 63 prospective members, which consists of proposed ethanol plants and those in the first year of production; 150 associate members (i.e., industry suppliers and vendors, and other nonproducers); and 41 supporting members, or those not associated with an ethanol-related business. Currently, producer-members are the only ones sitting on the RFA board and are the only members that vote on organization resolutions. While that number is growing steadily, Serie said the system still works and believes that everyone should be represented. "If you believe in ethanol, everyone should do their part to promote it," he said. "There are a lot of opponents out there, and we need a single voice to tell the true story."

The majority of the RFA's membership still lies with businesses within the ethanol industry, Serie said, but the organization is making plans to begin soliciting members in other biofuels sectors, as well. "We still have a lot of work to do and will continue our mission to have everyone that's in the ethanol business be a member of the RFA," he said.