For POET, the past decade was full of challenges, triumphs, innovation and growth. Advancements in research and development refined our process and led to new bioproducts that will help us continue to lead the Renewable Revolution and create new markets for grain. Our policy team and legislative champions worked tirelessly to amplify our voice in Washington, D.C. And most importantly, we’ve risen above the radar in making our name and our mission known across the country.
I truly believe we can attribute our success to our people at POET, and I am extremely grateful to work alongside such a talented and dedicated group of individuals in this mission to change the world. Thanks to all of you, we made exceptional progress in the 2010s, and there is much more to come.
However, to say this past year was a challenging one would be an understatement. The weather patterns that struck across the globe were, in many cases, unprecedented. They hit especially hard close to home and profoundly affected farmers across the Heartland, where torrential rains caused late planting and, in some parts of the Midwest, no planting at all. As a result, many farm families faced intense hardship.
In addition, the EPA took it upon itself to drive demand destruction for ethanol and corn on more than one occasion, further impacting the already struggling ag economy. Although President Trump and several legislative allies stepped in to support us, we continue to have little faith in the EPA’s will to address rural economic hardship and clean up the environment, as they have consistently ignored one of the only readily available and realistic solutions to these pressing issues: biofuels.
But 2020 marks the dawn of not only a new year, but a new decade full of untapped potential, and despite the challenges of 2019, I remain optimistic about our role in creating a brighter future for the world.
The recent weather catastrophes have been devastating for many, but they also have served a purpose in sparking critical discussions about climate change. And those conversations are posing questions that we can answer.
As many of you know, one of the leading contributors to climate change is the burning of fossil fuels to power vehicles, homes and industry. We need to return to our roots, literally, to fix the problems that oil has created. And the advancements we’ve made in technology and microbiology here at POET now make it possible to get many of the things we need to power our world from nature.
Now, in the coming decade, we need to educate the world that the major near-term solution to climate change is to significantly decrease our usage of oil and its derivatives by replacing them with ag-based biofuels and bioproducts, which will not only help the environment, but provide farmers with access to new and expanded markets and create a much-needed boost to their incomes.
Our competition in the oil industry is aware that agriculture can compete with them and is doing everything in their power to mislead the public and our politicians. They have greenwashed their advertising, written false studies, manipulated federal emissions models, and even touted fuels that don’t exist to distract the public from the truth. They are pushing the message that ag is damaging the environment and is a major part of the problem.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Agriculture is the solution, and it’s time that we take our seat at the table. The war between oil and agriculture that I have been talking about for years is in full force, and we need to win. If we succeed, we can avoid disaster. If we fail, we may see global devastation sooner than many predict. The future of the world depends on our victory.
Let’s go get the job done!