FEW: A True Industry Event

By Susanne Retka Schill | June 12, 2012

Another International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo has come and gone. With 90 percent of the nation’s ethanol production capacity represented in Minneapolis and 300-some exhibitors, the FEW was truly an industry event.  It is a great opportunity to visit with industry product and service providers, learn about the latest innovations and get updates on industry issues at the educational sessions. A heartfelt thank you to all the speakers who take the time to hone an informative presentation into a tight time slot.

Because EPM’s print date immediately followed FEW this year, our event coverage of it in this issue is focused on the general sessions. The reflections of four ethanol top managers— Mark Marquis, Marquis Energy Inc., Ray Defenbaugh, Big River Resources, Randy Doyal, Al-Corn Clean Fuels and Walt Wendland, Golden Grain Energy—were of great interest. The ethanol industry is at a crossroads. The blenders credit is gone. The blendwall has arrived, the result being price-depressing monthly ethanol stock numbers. It’s not an easy time for the ethanol industry, but these ethanol veterans have seen tough times before. We will continue to cover these issues as they evolve, plus look for more coverage of the companies and innovations showcased at FEW in the months ahead.

The nice thing about this year’s FEW occurring early in June is that it puts the busiest days at Ethanol Producer Magazine and BBI International behind us early in the summer, making for a longer summer. Let’s hope the weather holds out and helps deliver that forecast record corn crop (even a near record would be acceptable). Abundant corn was the impetus for starting the ethanol industry decades ago, and abundant corn is needed now to keep prices stable for farmers, feeders and ethanol producers.

Susanne Retka Schill, Editor
sretkaschill@bbiinternational.com