IFEW Sends Positive Message

By Mike Bryan | July 08, 2008
The 2008 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo was perhaps one of the most inspiring in its 24-year history. This was because in a year of misguided media coverage, high feedstock costs, reduced profits and political uncertainty, the spirit and determination of those attending has never been greater.

They came with a fighting spirit that says, "We're damn mad, and we are not going to take it anymore. We're tired of the negative press that ignores $140-a-barrel oil and instead focuses on biofuels. We're tired of farmersafter generations of working the landbeing vilified for actually being able to make a profit like any other business. We're tired of the ethanol industry being treated as if it was the root cause of world hunger."

This industry has been built on fighting the odds, taking on giants and winning. Negative press has been a part of life for the ethanol industry since its inception. However, this time it's different. It's different in the sense that the very success that we have been building toward for more than 25 years is now being portrayed by the media as a failure.

Even in the face of this adverse attention, the spirit of this year's IFEW was clearly not one of acquiescence. Rather, it was one of standing our ground, drawing a line in the sand, and standing up for our industry and what we have worked so hard to achieve.

Bob Dinneen of the Renewable Fuels Association said in his presentation, "Never before in our history has there been a greater need to develop a vibrant renewable energy industry. Rest assured, the ethanol industry will never waiver, nor will we falter in our commitment to help meet the world's growing energy demand."

Dr. Robert Zubrin, author of Energy Victory, talked about the difference between industries that "take" energy and industries that "make" energy. Industries that take energy are dependent on the finite amount of resources available and the political stability of the region from where the energy is derived. The ethanol industry, on the other hand, makes energy and in doing so, Zubrin pointed out, has a far more stable and sustainable future.

Ethanol is part of the next generation of fuels that will power the world. While not perfect, it is a cleaner, safer and more peaceful alternative to oil. So, as embattled as we may be from time to time, we can never waiver from our commitment to build an industry that repels those who are against change and those who would chose to let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

That's the way I see it!

Mike Bryan
Publisher & CEO