2012 FEW Awards

Ethanol Answer Man, DDGS researcher honored
By Holly Jessen | June 12, 2012

For the 12th year, two members of the ethanol industry were honored with awards at the 2012 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo.

Larry Johnson of LLJ Consulting and Business Development received the High Octane award, given to individuals that have helped the ethanol industry grow. Gerald Shurson, a University of Minnesota professor who was traveling in Japan during FEW, was selected as the winner of the Award of Excellence, given to those that have made significant technical contributions.

Johnson served as Minnesota’s Ethanol Answer Man for 10 years, working to educate consumers, manufacturers and mechanics about ethanol. He helped get legislation passed in 1986 for a 20-cent-per-gallon incentive on the first 15 million gallons of ethanol produced. “That’s the key piece of legislation that got the Minnesota industry started,” he said.

In 1998, Shurson, a professor in the U of M’s department of animal science, was asked to meet with a group of general managers from Minnesota ethanol plants and a marketing company. Wanting to expand beyond the cattle industry, they sought to learn why swine producers or animal nutritionists weren’t willing to use DDGS in swine diets. A voluntary 10-cent-per-ton checkoff program was established and the funds were used to conduct the first experiments on whether the coproduct was a suitable feed for swine, he said. That led to other groups funding similar research, which led to a large body of research on the use of DDGS in swine production. Shurson also developed and manages a U of M website about DDGS, which he calls a one-stop shop for research-based information. The website helps him manage his time, he said, as he is often “bombarded by emails and phone calls” about DDGS.

Scholarship Winners
In addition, two students were named as the winners of the 2012 Kathy Bryan Memorial Scholarship, each receiving a $2,000 scholarship. Jason Croat of Rushmore, Minn., has worked as an intern on the fermentation research team for Poet Research and is working on a double major in biotechnology and microbiology at South Dakota State University. Lamberton, Minn., resident Hillary Kletscher, the daughter of the CEO of Highwater Ethanol LLC, is a student at Iowa State University majoring in biological systems engineering with a biorenewables emphasis.  —Holly Jessen