Working the DDGS beat
It takes all kinds of people to make the world go ‘round. It’s a cliché, but as with many such phrases there’s a reason it’s repeated so often. Laughter really is great medicine, two wrongs certainly don’t make a right and it’s good advice that if something isn’t broken, perhaps you shouldn’t try to fix it.
Here at Ethanol Producer Magazine, we’re glad we’re different people with different interests. It would be pretty boring and annoying if all of us were clamoring to write the same stories, perform the same tasks and even enjoyed the same lunches every day. For example, it might come as a shock to some of you, but not all of us really enjoy writing about distillers grains.
I’m one of the crazy ones—I actually enjoy it. I also like writing so-called “on the ground” stories where I talk to actual ethanol producers about what’s happening at their facilities. A story I wrote for the first issue of Distillers Grains Production and Markets, “Cattle+Ethanol=A Good Match,” combined both those interests in one story—how future or current ethanol producers utilize distillers grains production for on-site feedlots.
I’m particularly interested in efforts for ethanol plants to diversify by producing more than one coproduct. Corn oil and corn fractionation are both topics I’ve written about that have big potential, as long as producers keep in mind that what’s subtracted from the corn has the potential to positively or negatively impact the makeup of the distillers grains—depending on the end market. I’m working on a story right now about SweetPro Feeds, a company that uses distillers grains as the medium for mineral licks for foraging cattle. Poet LLC is focusing on branding, now offering certified antibiotic-free distillers grains.
Unlike me, my co-worker, Kris Bevill, is a policy buff. (Among other things.) She likes digging into ethanol-related legislation and actions by agencies such as the U.S. EPA. She has a knack for listening to a four-hour webcast of a summit or congressional hearing and picking out an interesting tidbit that no one else has yet written about.
I’m in awe of her abilities in that regard. I tend to scrunch down and try to make myself as small as possible in my seat when such assignments are discussed. It just doesn’t, to use another cliché, float my boat. And it’s always easier to do something, and hopefully do it well, when it’s something you are interested in.
That doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally write about policy or that Kris never tackles distillers grains. I happen to love getting the kitchen dirty cooking or baking but hate cleaning up after myself—particularly washing dishes. I find if I set my little pink pig kitchen timer and tell myself I only have to work in the kitchen for 20 minutes I get some momentum going and get the job done, regardless of whether the timer has gone ding or not.
Speaking of a timer, my email calendar reminder is telling me it’s time to put this blog to bed and do a feature interview about cover crops for corn production. You can’t get much more “on the ground” than that topic!