About Cindy Zimmerman

Cindy has been reporting about agricultural topics since 1980 when she graduated with a degree in broadcasting from the University of Florida. She is an emeritus member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters and 1991 Oscar in Agriculture winner. She and her husband Chuck started ZimmComm New Media in 2003. They have three beautiful daughters and live near white sand beaches of Pensacola, Florida.

Look It Up

NBB Biodiesel has hit the big time – it’s in the dictionary now. The National Biodiesel Board is pleased that the word “biodiesel” appears in the 2006 update of the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition . This marks the first time that it has appeared in the dictionary, and signifies that biodiesel is becoming a household word. What’s more, word has it that Merriam-Webster put biodiesel on the short list of examples of new words added to the dictionary. That means “biodiesel” joins the ranks of “ringtone,” “soul patch” and “supersize” in drumming up interest in modern lexicography.

Bird Fueled

Fibrowatt A British company is using poultry litter to fuel power plants in the US. Fibrowatt, based in Philadephia, has projects planned or under development in poultry-growing states across the country, including Minnesota, Maryland, Mississippi and North Carolina. According to the company’s website, Fibrowatt Ltd built the world’s first three poultry litter fueled power plants and has licensed its technology to Fibrowatt LLC for the US market.

Show Me the Ethanol

Blunt Ethanol Bill Missouri Governor Matt Blunt is signing the state’s new ethanol bill several times over this week. The governor is visiting with corn growers from the southeast to the northwest part of the state for ceremonial bill signings, mostly in areas where ethanol plants are planned or in operation. The legislation requires gasoline sold in Missouri to contain 10 percent ethanol (E-10) by 2008.

“I am pleased to sign this bill giving Missourians access to the affordable, homegrown gasoline they want and that they can be proud to use when they fill their tanks,” Blunt said. “This renewable fuel standard benefits consumers, our economy, the environment, and Missouri farmers.”

Blunt signed the bill in Webb City, St. Joseph, Kirksville, Palmyra, and St. Louis on Wednesday, and will be in Laddonia, Macon and Malta Bend on Thursday.

In the photo by Ron Graber of the Carthage Press, Kayla Garrison of the Carthage FFA receives a copy of the new ethanol bill from Governor Blunt during Wednesday’s signing ceremony in Webb City.

New Company To Produce Environmentally-Friendly Corn Ethanol

Western Milling California-based Western Milling, and venture capital firm Khosla Ventures have announced the formation of Cilion, a company that will operate modular, standardized 55 million gallons per year ethanol plants. According to a release, the new company would use a variety of innovations to make plants that are cheaper and greener than standard corn-to-ethanol plants, substantially reducing the need for fossil fuels in ethanol production. Cilion plans to have 8 plant units in production by 2008 for a total of 440 million gallons per year capacity. The first three plants are expected to be in California.

Hawaii Gets Ethanol Project Funds

Sen Akaka The Senate Energy Committee has approved $1 million for an ethanol demonstration project in Hawaii. Committee member Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) announced the project in a press release this week, saying the “appropriation is significant because the State of Hawaii passed a law that went into effect in April 2006, requiring at least 10 percent of all gas sold in Hawaii contain an ethanol blend.” The $1 million gives the State of Hawaii the ability to start on research and development of sugar-to-ethanol, which is one way to create ethanol.

Made in the USA

America 2006 may someday be known as the year our nation made a Declaration of Energy Indepedence.

When we declared our independence 230 years ago, there were many difficulties and hardships for the people of the new nation to face – not the least of which was a war. By cutting ourselves off from England we had to become more self-sufficient, and in many cases that involved sacrifice.

People complain about ethanol being less fuel efficient than gasoline, that it uses too much fertilizer or natural gas or water to make, that there’s not enough or it’s too expensive right now. But, it is made in America. The fossil fuels that we have been dependent on as a nation to fuel our vehicles are NOT. That is the real reason we are trying to make this happen and it won’t happen overnight. Our independence as a country did not happen overnight. It required effort, sacrifice, ingenuity, and the courage to make a change, even if it costs more.

Is ethanol the one and only answer to our energy independence? Absolutely not. Can we improve upon its shortcomings in terms of fuel efficiency, production and availability? Absolutely. Good old American know-how can make it happen. Cellulosic ethanol can address many of the issues and it is not too far down the road. And let’s not forget the other alternatives like biodiesel, biobutanol, hydrogen, etc. AND, we do need to learn how to conserve fuel by using less of it.

Domestic Fuel made in America is helping us on the road to energy independent as a nation. We grow our own food, we can grow our own fuel also. God bless America.

Big 3 FFV Promise

GM DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation have announced plans to double the annual production of flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) to two million by the year 2010. Ford

According to an Illinois Corn Growers release, the auto manufacturers pledged this commitment last week in a letter addressed to members of Congress signed by Chrysler Group President and CEO, Tom LaSorda, Ford Motor Company Chairman and CEO, Bill Ford and General Motors Chairman and CEO, Rick Wagoner. ChryslerThey indicated that through additional production of these vehicles, the country can help secure energy independence. They also indicated that the increase in production of FFVs can not do this job alone; the government must assist in allowing incentives for alternative fuel infrastructure and the price of E85 must be competitive to gasoline.

Read the complete letter here.

Honorary Pit Crew Member

Jeff Simmons Practicing Team Ethanol had an honorary pit crew member this weekend in Kansas City. It was a dream come true for 21-year-old Casey Brickey, who suffers from a progressive form of muscular dystrophy. Last year Brickey teamed up with the ethanol industry to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association to fuel the fight for a cure. The ethanol industry donated $20,000 and helped raise additional funds through matching dollars and donations. For his efforts, the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council sent Brickey and his family on the all-inclusive trip to the Kansas Speedway for a day in the pits with Team Ethanol.

Casey and Jeff Simmons took time out Saturday to pose for a pit pic.

Celebrating Energy Independence

Bio Texas Willie Nelson is celebrating our nation’s energy independence this week in Carl’s Corner, Texas with opening of his joint venture production plant, Pacific Biodiesel Texas.

According to a National Biodiesel Board release, Nelson and Pacific Biodiesel decided to open the plant during the July 4th holiday week because, as Nelson put it, “this will be a true Texas Independence Day.” The July 3 celebration of the plant opening will be held in conjunction with an all day concert at Carl’s Corner, a replica of Nelson’s annual 4th of July picnic at the Stockyards in Fort Worth. The event and concert will likely draw 10 to 15 thousand people.

Badger State Ethanol

Badger State Ethanol Board members of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council are meeting in Kansas City this weekend and going to the Indy race Sunday at the Kansas Speedway. One of those members is John Malchine, CEO of Badger State Ethanol in Monroe, WI. We got a call this morning from Wisconsin radio station KFAW-AM to talk about ethanol and we had them speak to John from the board meeting.

Chuck interviewed John at the Indy 500 last month and you can listen to that interview here: Listen to MP3 Malchine (3:25 min MP3)

Ethanol Corridor Opens

Ethanol Corridor VeraSun Energy Corporation and Ford Motor Company have officially opened a new Midwest Ethanol Corridor. According to a VeraSun release, the corridor will increase the availability of VE85″, VeraSun’s branded E85, with the addition of 14 new retail locations along I-55 in Illinois. VeraSun’s branded E85 fuel, VE85″, is now available at more than 70 retail locations across the Midwest, including nearly 40 in Illinois.

Pumping Ethanol

KC Pump Tour 1 IndyCar® Series drivers Jeff Simmons (Team Ethanol) and Vitor Meira (Panther Racing), were pumping gas in Kansas City Thursday to promote ethanol. The racers are in town for Sunday’s Kansas Lottery 300 race at Kansas Speedway but they took time out from practice to meet with fans and the media.

Casey’s General Store near the Speedway filled over 200 cars with a record 2969 gallons of E-10 during the promotion sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council, or EPIC.KC Pump Tour 2

In the top picture, Kansas Speedway President Jeff Boerger poses for a picture as Vitor pumps gas for Jeff Simmons.

The two drivers and Boerger also took part in a press conference with EPIC Executive Director Tom Slunecka.

House Ag Committee Hearing

A four hour hearing of the House Agriculture Committee Thursday covered the waterfront on mainly ethanol, even though it was supposed to be on renewable fuels in general. After USDA’s Tom Dorr, the second panel offered some really interesting testimony on lots of new developments in the field.

Easy Automation First up was Mark Gaalswyk, president of Easy Automation in Welcome, Minnesota who talked about self-contained, miniature ethanol plants that can make 750,000 gallons of ethanol a year. “This enables the value-added to be moved much closer to the producer themselves.” He also talked about ways they are trying to improve the production technology. “It’s looking like we can drive the conversion ratio from 2.8 gallons per bushel to 3.2 gallons per bushel and about 70 cents per gallon produced, compared to the current $1.00.” They are also working on reducing the water and natural gas usage to produce the fuel.
You can listen Gaalswyk’s full remarks to the committee here: Listen to MP3 Gaalswyk (3:25 min MP3)

Dorr Pays Tribute to Paul Dana

Tom DorrDana In testimony before the House Agriculture Committee Thursday, USDA Undersecretary Tom Dorr paid tribute to Indy race car driver and ethanol advocate Paul Dana for his contributions to the ethanol industry.
“Last month I was in Indianapolis for an ethanol event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” Dorr said. “While I was there I met Tanya Dana, the wife of Paul Dana. Paul is the young driver who was killed back in March during practice for another race. Paul was also the young man who had the idea and then persuaded Tony George, the president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to switch to ethanol.”
Dorr noted the grassroots nature of Dana’s effort to bring ethanol to the Indy Racing League. “Paul and Tanya Dana were a couple of farm kids with an idea, and Tony George runs a family business. Most people don’t think of the Indy 500 that way, but it’s a third generation family business.”
You can listen Dorr’s full remarks to the committee here: Listen to MP3 Tom Dorr (4:25 min MP3)

Penford to Produce Ethanol in Iowa

Penford Colorado-based Penford Corporation has announced plans to invest $42 million for approximately 40 million gallons of ethanol production capacity at its Cedar Rapids, Iowa facility. According to a news release, the facility is expected to be producing ethanol by the end of 2007.

“Penford’s entry into ethanol will create value for our shareholders from more complete utilization of existing facilities and resources,” said Tom Malkoski, Penford Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer. “We will be able to process more corn by utilizing existing assets more intensively and plan to convert a portion of our current production to ethanol use. This initiative also provides an attractive entry into this growing market through a lower capital investment and shorter time to market compared with many ethanol projects.”