Iowa establishes carbon sequestration task force

By Erin Voegele | June 23, 2021

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on June 22 signed an executive order to establish a carbon sequestration task force. Stakeholders representing the ethanol, biodiesel and biogas industries have been named as initial members of the new task force.

Executive Order 9 aims to explore carbon sequestration and the opportunities it presents for further economic development within the state of Iowa. The task force will be chaired by Reynolds. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig will serve as vice chair.

The 20 initial members of the task force include Bryan Sievers, manager of AgriReNew, Sievers Family Farms and co-vice chair of the American Biogas Council’s board of directors; Justin Kirchhoff, president of Summit Ag Investors, an affiliate of Summit Carbon Solutions; Alison Taylor, vice president and chief sustainability officer at ADM; Jill Zullo, vice president of bioindustrials at Cargill; Cynthia “CJ” Warner, president and CEO of Renewable Energy Group Inc.; and Nick Bowdish, president and CEO of Elite Octane.

The task force will review research on carbon sequestration; discuss economic opportunities; identify the role, if any, of state government in carbon markets and explore the need for carbon sequestration strategies; and determine whether Iowa should form a regional strategy for carbon sequestration with state partners.

“Because of our existing supply chain and emphasis on renewable fuel infrastructure, Iowa is in a strong position to capitalize on the growing nationwide demand for a more carbon free economy,” Reynolds said. “Iowa is a recognized leader in renewable fuel and food production, and this is another opportunity to lead and be innovative, invest in Iowa agriculture, and facilitate new sources of revenue for our agriculture and energy sectors. I am proud to bring together an impressive team of stakeholders that will help formulate smart, commonsense policy recommendations on this issue ahead of the 2022 legislative session.” 
"Iowa is a leader in both food production and conservation so we must also lead agriculture's sustainability efforts," Naig said. "The agriculture community is continuously seeking new technologies and solutions that allow us to balance food production, environmental stewardship and longevity. We've already proved that we can deliver science-based nutrient-reduction practices and low carbon solutions, like renewable fuels and cover crops, so we have a foundation to build on. I'm excited to work alongside some of Iowa's leaders to identify strategies producers can use to build upon our current conservation efforts, create revenue streams, improve financial sustainability and grow our state's economy." 

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association has spoken out in support of the task force. “IRFA and our members greatly appreciate Governor Reynolds for her leadership and continued support of Iowa’s biofuels industry,” said Monte Shaw, executive director of the IRFA. “Carbon sequestration will be key to achieving carbon negative biofuels. Therefore, we look forward to working with the Governor and Secretary Naig as the task force studies ways to remove barriers and promote carbon sequestration projects in Iowa.”

A copy of Executive Order 9 and full list of task force members is available on the Iowa Economic Development website