Category Archives: Ethanol

Michelle Obama’s “Red Meat Secret”

DSC_0552

During Growth Energy’s Executive Leadership Conference held in Orlando following the Daytona 500, Randy and I were attending the reception and watching the live auction when he noticed we were standing a few feet behind the table where Iowa’s Governor Terry Branstad and his wife and son were seated. Randy went on to enlighten me on the fact that Gov. Branstad is the longest nonconsecutive serving governor in the nation and that he has been a tireless supporter of ethanol. (Just ask Sen. Cruz about that.) I nodded like wives do and continued watching the stage where The Bachelor star Chris Soules, American Ethanol driver Austin Dillon and Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway were helping the sponsors by “Amping” up the auction. As the three hunks were hamming it up on stage, the Governor stood up and looked around, walked over to where we were standing, introduced himself and began visiting with us. His sincere and friendly demeanor made me realize why Iowans elected him to the Iowa House of Representatives in 1972, 1974, and 1976, then as Iowa’s lieutenant governor in 1973. He was Iowa’s longest-serving governor, from 1983 to 1999, weathering some of Iowa’s worst economic turmoil, during the farm crisis of the ’80’s, while helping lead the state’s resurgence to a booming economy in the 90’s.  Following his four terms as governor, he went on to serve as president of Des Moines University for a six-year tenure. Seeing a need for change in the way state government operates and wanting to “lead Iowa’s comeback”, Branstad retired from DMU, began campaigning and  was re-elected governor in November of 2010 and again in 2014.

DSC_0566
Randy Britt, of Britt Farms with Iowa Governor, Terry Brandstad at the Growth Energy’s Executive Leadership Conference

There we were attending an outdoor barbecue at Whispering Creek Farm on the property of the J.W. Marriott Hotel and visiting with the nation’s longest serving governor. Party lights were strung across the rustic tables and candles flickered in lanterns hanging from trees with the mouth-watering aromas of beef brisket, chicken and pork and roasted on open flame grills and tempting deserts of cobblers and puddings beckoned. There was even a campfire for the fanciest s’mores I’ve ever seen.

I asked the governor if he had enjoyed his dinner. He smiled and said, “I had dinner in the White House last night. It was a banquet for the nation’s governors. I was fortunate enough to be seated at the First Lady’s table.”

I was visiting with someone who had eaten a meal with Michelle Obama, the woman who has changed school lunches and had a very different definition of “healthy” foods than most dietitians I have heard comment.

I gasped!

“What was it like?” I asked.

The kind governor must have thought I meant the ambiance or the decor because he answered, “The centerpieces were huge” and I don’t remember what else he said.  As soon as I could I tried again I asked,

“What was on the menu?”

“We had seafood as an appetizer.”

I nodded. Yes, I would expect that from the woman whose priority was taking red meat out of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.  The guidelines that would be used in every hospital, school and government office that receives federal revenue.

I held my breath and my tongue.

The Governor continued.

“And we had beef for the main course.”

With great self-control, I made sure I had heard him correctly. “Mrs. Obama served beef at the banquet?”

The kind and patient Governor nodded and added. “There was dessert, too, but I didn’t eat that. I have to be careful about my sugar intake since my parents had diabetes. He went on, not once disparaging the First Lady’s diet, merely stating the truth of the matter. “It is not harmful to eat small portions of red meat.”

Thank you, Governor Branstad! And thank you, Mrs. Obama for serving red meat in the White House. As a former hospital administrator, the First Lady surely recognizes the dietary value of red meat after all!

– Karla Britt, wife of Randy, mother, grandmother, blogger for Beef Stew with a Twist and staff writer at CV News Press.
P.S. Need a new beef recipe to try? Check out our recipes section on the blog!
DSC_0538

A Victory Lap for Ethanol

Steve Murphy, General Manager of POET Bio-refining’s Macon and Laddonia plants, and Growth Energy Delegate Randy Britt were among the 200,000 NASCAR fans in attendance when baseball legend Ken Griffey Jr. waved the American Ethanol green flag to start the 2016 Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 21. An official partner of NASCAR since the 2011 season, Growth Energy, an ethanol industry group, with the National Corn Growers Association developed the American Ethanol platform to increase awareness of the value of American-made ethanol. As part of the partnership, NASCAR vehicles are fueled by Sunoco Green E15, which is comprised of 15% corn-based ethanol. Growth Energy is also a sponsor of NASCAR driver Austin Dillon, Richard Childress and the entire RCR team to help promote homegrown ethanol as a major win for the American people.

DSC_0538
Steve Murphy, General Manager of POET Biorefining’s Macon and Laddonia plants and Growth Energy Delegate, Randy Britt, check out Austin Dillon’s No. 3 car promoting E15.

During the advocacy group’s Executive Leadership Conference held in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 20 – 24, to coincide with the Daytona 500 where Dillon finished in the top ten, Growth Energy’s Co-chair Tom Buis issued the following statement on the recent Renewable Fuel Standard Hearing:

“Biofuels, such as ethanol, are a 21st century fuel for 21st century vehicles. It is our only alternative to oil, and the RFS is the most effective policy in reducing cancer-causing chemicals and the toxic emissions that come from oil’s monopoly on our motor fuel supply. The RFS supports consumer choice, creates hundreds of thousands of jobs across America, strengthens our energy security and slashes climate change causing emissions.

“Policies like the RFS improve America’s climate, national security, rural economy and consumer choice. Repealing or changing the RFS would turn back the clock and undermine the progress we’ve made toward increasing America’s energy independence and cleaning our air and environment.”

Murphy said his biggest takeaway from the conference was the push toward E15 and higher ethanol blends.

“E15 and higher ethanol blends are not a mandate, but another option for consumers and a great way to get higher octane fuels at a lower cost. Many cars now specify higher than 87 octane in the owner’s manual and 113 octane ethanol is the cheapest way to provide these fuels to consumers,” Murphy said.

“The battle for market share with the oil industry will continue in Washington and at the state level going forward. Cheap oil has only increased the resolve of the oil industry not to lose sales by giving consumers more ethanol choices at the pump.”

Murphy became general manager of the Laddonia plant in 2009 and began leading the Macon team in June of 2013.  A St. Louis native, Murphy earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Missouri – Rolla. Before joining POET he spent 21 years gaining manufacturing and management experience with the Woodbridge Corporation. While at Woodbridge, Murphy worked at five different locations that included Plant Manager responsibility at locations in Australia, Detroit and Chicago. Steve and his wife, Kristy, and their son reside in Columbia.

“POET has grown to be the largest ethanol producer in the world and you do not achieve that status without innovative technology and attention to detail by all members of the team. I consider myself very lucky to be a part of an organization with such a tremendous history and such great potential going forward,” Murphy said.

DSC_0572
Growth Energy Delegate, Randy Britt, is pictured with NASCAR driver Austin Dillon during the Growth Energy Conference held in Orlando, Fla. last month.

The first ethanol plant in the state of Missouri, the Macon plant produced its first ethanol in May of 2000, starting with an annual production capacity of 15 million gallons. Three years later, the plant expanded its capacity to 46 million gallons per year and added the production of Dakota Gold Distillers Grains and carbon dioxide. Today the plant produces over 46 million gallons of ethanol annually. The plant employs 45 people and 14 of the original 27 employees still work at the plant while four others are employed at other POET bio-refineries. The Macon plant remains over 80 percent owned by local farmers and investors.

American Ethanol will be the primary sponsor for Dillon during the 2016 Sprint Cup Series season: March 20 at the Auto Club Speedway, California; May 7, Kansas Speedway, Kansas; July 31, Pocono Raceway, Pennsylvania; Sept. 4, Darlington Raceway, South Carolina; Oct. 23, Talladega Superspeedway, Alabama; and Nov. 13 at the Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona.

  •  Written by Karla Britt and was originally published in the Chariton Valley News Press