With Pride Comes Responsibility

The things that happen in America regarding renewable fuels provides a blueprint for the world to follow. With the pride of success comes the burden of responsibility to never give in. The world is watching.
By Mike Bryan | July 25, 2016

People can say what they want about the ethanol industry in America, but one fact is abundantly clear, it has spawned an entire global movement toward renewable fuels. The roots of that movement are here in America’s heartland.

That’s not to say that other countries have not thought about renewable fuels or even dabbled in them from time to time, but the real driving motivator for most places in the world are predicated on the success demonstrated by American agriculture. From Australia to Canada and Asia to Africa and across Europe, had it not been for the leadership of the American farmer, much of the world would not have pursued a renewable fuels strategy.

I write this as a point of pride and responsibility, not as a boastful brag about America. The successes and failures demonstrated in America’s renewable fuels industry have been and continue to be watched around the world. While every country has its own set of economic, environmental and agricultural circumstances, we have shown that it can and does work, and for that we should not only be proud, but also recognize that what we do here impacts the direction other governments consider when dealing with energy and the environment.

Having traveled to many countries over the years on ethanol-related missions, it has become most obvious to me that the world is watching. Watching how we continue to build the industry, watching the political haggling around renewables, and watching the strength and determination of the American farmer.

I have long since lost count of the number of times I have been asked if this latest crisis (pick a year, any year) would be the death knell for ethanol. It is with some pride that I have always been able to say with confidence, no, it’s just another bump in the road on the way to establishing an even-stronger program. To date, the American farmer has never made me eat those words.

The impact, for example, of E15 blends on the thinking of those developing renewable fuel programs in other countries is enormous. The obvious question is why should we settle for 5 percent when America is already successfully pushing the envelope to 15 percent and possibly higher? So while the goal in many countries was to eventually get to 10 percent blends, now their goal is 20 percent and higher with the only limiting factor being existing production capacity.

So, what we say and what we do is important and how we treat things like the renewable fuels standard has global implication. The battles we fight and win with Big Oil and others are being watched and they inspire others to do the same. The things that happen here in America provide a blueprint for success and failures for the world to follow and avoid. So, with the pride of success comes the burden of responsibility to never give in. The world is watching.

That’s the way I see it.

Author: Mike Bryan
Chairman, BBI International