EPAC 21st Annual Conference/ Agricultural Biofuel Summit II

Ethanol Producers And Consumers 21st Annual Conference/Agricultural Biofuel Summit II was held June 7th and 8th at the Best Western Heritage Inn, Great Falls, MT. The event features speakers and panels that discussed the continued development of the biofuel industry, in the nation and in the region; with special emphasis on small grains, wheat and barley, biofuel production.

Key stakeholders from across the nation along with regional and state attendees came to learn, network and discuss emerging technologies and opportunities in the biofuel industry. The event began with a lunch sponsored by Cardno ENTRIX. Montana Department of Agriculture Director Ron deYong welcomed the attendees followed by the formal presentations began with PRIME BioSolution’s Bump Krueger’s “The Closed Loop” . Small Grains – Wheat & Barley Biofuels presentations featuring Dr. Kevin Hicks, ERRC, USDA, ARS; Phil Madson, President, KATZEN International and MSU Bozeman Barley Breeder, Tom Blake, Western Feedstock Technologies and Craig Shealy, Cary Street Partners LLC were facilitated by Bruce Myllymaki from the MTWheat and Barley Committee. The Great Falls Ethanol Project of Montana Advanced Biofuels was moderated by Brett Doney, Great Falls Development Authority with speaker Gary Hebener updating the Great Falls project’s progress and description. A 5 o’clock Event Social, sponsored by CHS and FAGEN Inc. gave attendees an opportunity to speak one on one with the day’s speakers and next day’s speakers of the event. John Urbanchuk, Cardno ENTRIX, was the featured speaker for the social with his presentation, “The State of the Biofuel Industry.”

The second day’s agenda featured the subjects of Distillers Grains, nutritional and marketing opportunities. Small Grains – Expanded Opportunities included presentations on wheat straw biofuels by Larry Johnson, LLJ Consulting and Business Development and the Montana Microbial’s barley to biofuel project with co-owner Clifford Bradley. The Distillers’ Grains subject segment featured Chris Christians, Montana Farmers Union moderating the panel of Butch and Doreen Gillespie representing Gillespies Show Cattle and MT W.I.F.E. and Steve Markham, CHS. The final panel/presentation segment described and answered questions about financing, permitting, and the biofuel infrastructure. Moderated by Jim Sargent, KMON Radio, Mike Drewiske, USDA Rural Development Energy Coordinator and Ron Lamberty, Marketing Specialist, American Coalition for Ethanol will spoke about the REAP funding that is available for the Blender Pumps and Tank infrastructure as well as other financial opportunities. Montana specifics were addressed by Kathi Montgomery, MT DEQ and Tim Lloyd, MT Department of Labor & Industry. The event’s second day lunch was sponsored by BNSF and featured an update and question and answer session by telephone with Todd Atkins, Chief of Staff to the Acting Administrator of the Farm Service Agency in Washington DC, Montana Native Bruce Nelson. Atkinson discussed the comments that were submitted on behalf of Montana for the USDA Biofuel Strategic Production Report that were solicited at the EPAC Agricultural Biofuel Summit held at the MSU Northern BioEnergy Center, Havre, in October.

The EPAC Conference/Summit was then followed by a Biodiesel Forum conducted by the Renewable Energy program of the MT Department of Environmental Quality.. The Forum focus was Biodiesel in Montana and included Howard Haines, MT DEQ, Logan Fisher of Earl Fisher Biofuels, Beau Price, BNSF, Havre and Day Soriano, Opportunity Link.

This year’s event was made possible by the sponsorship of KATZEN International, CHS, MT Department of Environmental Quality Renewable Energy Program, FAGEN Inc., Cardno ENTRIX, BNSF, Great Falls Development Authority, Montana Wheat & Barley Committee, R.J. O’Brien, Novozymes, Nebraska Ethanol Board, Clean Fuels Development, KMON Radio and the Northern Broadcasting System.