Business Briefs

FROM THE JANUARY ISSUE: CVEC is named Ag Innovator of the Year, and the U.S. Grains Council and Renewable Fuels Nebraska hire new staff.
By Ethanol Producer Magazine | December 14, 2017

CVEC named Ag Innovator of 2017 
The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute named Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co. in Benson, Minnesota, its 2017 Ag Innovator of the Year.

Each year, the AURI board of directors bestows the Ag Innovator of the Year Award, the organization’s highest honor, on a client company or entrepreneur it feels has made a substantial impact in the areas of product innovation, uniqueness and commercialization potential. This year’s award is the culmination of 20 years of cooperative work between AURI and CVEC.

“There were a number of contenders for this year’s award, but the board of directors felt CVEC’s many accomplishments and innovations in the ethanol industry best fit the criteria,” said Shannon Schlecht, AURI executive director. “CVEC contributes to Minnesota’s economy by purchasing more than 18 million bushels of corn from local farmers and has a capacity to produce tens of millions of gallons of ethanol annually, and is notable in its constant exploration of innovative changes to its products and processes to add value for its members.” 

CVEC began 20 years ago as the Chippewa Valley Agrafuels Cooperative, a group of more than 650 shareholders that included producers, elevators and local investors. In 1995, CVAC became the general partner of an ethanol partnership, The Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co., and by early 1996 was in full operation at its own facility. Among its accomplishments, CVEC was the first direct-blend E85 facility in the state.

Today, CVEC produces 50 MMgy and has grown to 975 cooperative owners, the majority living within a 50-mile radius of the plant. CVEC is recognized at both the federal and state levels for efficient production and leadership in shaping ethanol policy. The company has ownership interest in four other ethanol companies and is a founding owner of the Renewable Products Marketing Group.

Tierney joins USGC 
Tim Tierney has joined the U.S. Grains Council as director of strategic marketing/ethanol, North Asia. Based in Singapore, this new position will seek to capitalize on longstanding relationships and emerging opportunities for biofuels in North Asia.

Tierney’s position reflects efforts to build and align global resources for USGC’s work to capture near-term demand for U.S. feed grain sales and build long-term demand for ethanol among global customers.

“Over the past year, the Council’s leadership has heard loud and clear that what our members want is new demand, and they are willing to invest in it by allowing us to hire high-quality people around the world,” said Tom Sleight, USGC president and CEO. “Particularly as we have pivoted to promoting ethanol exports globally, we have focused on ensuring we have the right people in our overseas offices to do this work well and quickly.”

Tierney came to the organization from Syngenta and DuPont, where he worked on products developed for the ethanol industry. Earlier in his career, he worked for USGC for more than 10 years as director in Japan, director of international operations based in Washington, and as a trade servicer.

Bredenkamp will serve as Renewable Fuels Nebraska executive
Renewable Fuels Nebraska has selected Troy Bredenkamp to be the organization’s next executive director.

“We are excited to have Troy and his extensive association experiences leading our organization into the future,” said Ted Free, general manager of Bridgeport Ethanol and president of Renewable Fuels Nebraska. “We face a lot of challenges and opportunities in Nebraska’s ethanol industry. Troy possesses the background, the expertise and the vision to help our members navigate those challenges while helping to propel our organization and industry forward.”

Bredenkamp was most recently the general manager of the Nebraska Rural Electric Association, and before that served as CEO of the Colorado Farm Bureau, director of congressional relations with American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C., and vice president of technical services with Nebraska Cattlemen.

“As the second-largest ethanol producing state in the U.S., this is a tremendous opportunity to serve as RFN’s next executive director, getting in on the ground floor and helping build an organization worthy of the significant economic role that the ethanol industry plays here in Nebraska,” Bredenkamp said. “Agriculture and rural prosperity have always been passions of mine, and RFN represents ethanol—one of the greatest value-added agricultural products and one with substantial economic significance to this state. I am excited to get started representing this vital industry.”