The Northern Prairie Chapter held a benefit fundraiser for the North Dakota State University Student NAMA Chapter on Thursday, February 22, during the International Crop Expo in Grand Forks, ND. The featured speaker, Mark Dillon of the Golden Growers Cooperative, presented “An Overall Perspective on Ethanol Today and Tomorrow.” Mark shared with the group where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we are going within the ethanol industry.
Mark has served the past seven years on the board of the American Coalition for Ethanol, and for three years on the Northern Crops Institute Industry Advisory Board. He and others formed ProGold, a high fructose corn syrup processing plant in 1996, and also created Golden Growers Cooperative, a group of 2,100 corn growers who own a percentage of ProGold.
Some highlights from Dillon’s presentation were: Where We’ve Been – Henry Ford built the Model T to run on ethanol; this concept disappeared for about 8 decades and then came Gasohol in the 90’s; Where We Are Now – Today, there will be approximately 6.2 billion gallons of ethanol produced in 2007, which is an increase of 2,500% in 27 years. There are roughly 117 ethanol plants in operation and approximately 70 under construction; Where We Are Going – With the two legal blends of ethanol today, E10 and E85, blender pumps may possibly be the next hot topic. Consumers would have the option to select the % of ethanol versus gasoline they want to put into their vehicles at the pump. The biggest challenge – the automotive industry working with the ethanol companies.
Nineteen local Northern Prairie NAMA members attended the meeting, raising $450 for the North Dakota State University’s Student NAMA chapter’s upcoming April trip to the National NAMA conference and competition in Dallas, TX.