SPRING 2021 ISSUE


POET PAC: POET PAC Member Spotlight






POET PAC members are the reason we continue to have success in Washington D.C. Each member is passionate about a future with more biofuels and is willing to fight for that future at the state and federal level. Not only do these members advocate tirelessly; they make sure they contribute to POET PAC each year so that we can continue to educate and advance our mission. 


Here is what some of our South Dakota PAC members had to say about their connection to the PAC and their thoughts about the importance of a future powered by biofuels.


My connection with POET goes back more than 25 years. Jeff Broin was nice enough to invite me to many corporate events in South Dakota, Iowa, Arizona and Washington DC. Our private equity firm, Bluestem, has made substantial investments in POET and I remain a happy investor today. Additionally, one of my Bluestem partners, Tyler Stowater, is on the POET Board of Directors. 


Giving to POET PAC is actually a fun thing to do given all the good that the PAC does nationally. Ethanol is such an important part of the world’s liquid energy make-up that being motivated to financially participate is easy!


POET PAC does so much for all communities in which it has bioprocessing facilities, including the farmers, other vendors and employees. Those impacted by POET should support the PAC so it can be even more successful in representing the biofuels industry worldwide. 


It was a good day when I and Bluestem were introduced to Jeff Broin and his terrific team all those years ago. We’ve been given the opportunity to make our communities and, frankly, our world a better place by the use of ethanol. By making the POET PAC stronger and more financially viable, we can continue to improve our environment, help the farming industry and provide a great standard of living for all who spend their day having something to do with the biofuels industry. 


 


I am a producer in the Mitchell, SD area and am a third-generation farmer. I served as a board member for two years at POET Biorefining – Mitchell from 2016 to 2017 and one year for POET Biorefining (PBR) in 2019.


I became involved with POET PAC in 2018. POET PAC provides a fact-based, consistent message to educate elected leaders about the benefits of producing biofuels, a clean-burning renewable fuel source. They are dedicated to monitoring and defending critical items such as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), small refinery exemptions, and many other issues that tend to undermine renewable volume obligations and weaken our industry.


I would stress that the task at hand is urgent. Agriculture and biofuels can be an enormous part in creating solutions to pollution and climate change. There are those who do not want to see biofuels succeed, and they have significant resources. It is imperative that we continue to engage our leaders and decision-makers to ensure that they are informed to make the best decisions.


Without strong representation, the benefits and potential of our industry in solving current environmental issues can be lost or misrepresented. We need to support the progress that has been made to date and challenge ourselves to move to the next level in our efforts to make positive change.


 


My involvement with POET began as an investor in POET Biorefining – Big Stone near Milbank, SD around 2002. In 2003, the James Valley ethanol plant in Groton, SD was built. I invested and served on the board of directors. As POET continued to expand, I served on multiple POET Biorefining boards until completion of the merger of the biorefineries in 2018.    


As we all know, energy is political and controversial, whether it’s coal, gas, oil, wind, hydro, solar or biofuels. When ethanol production took off in the early 2000s, myths and false information about the industry began to surge. It was David (ethanol) versus Goliath (Big Oil). It became clear that we needed to organize and form a PAC to help educate politicians and level the playing field. Ethanol producers and farmers needed face time with the policymakers and deserved a seat at the table to present the truth, which is where the formation of POET PAC came in. 


I’ve supported POET PAC since its inception, and it is without a doubt the most effective way to have direct influence in the political arena. Media and mass marketing have their place, but to be able to press the flesh one-on-one with senators, representatives and even the President, it must be done through a political action committee.  


The staff at POET PAC are smart, articulate, informed and connected. They know all the players and all the players know them. The PAC understands specifically where resources need to be directed.


The mission of this organization is invaluable, and I feel that contributing to POET PAC to help sustain agriculture, biofuels and the environment is an excellent investment in our future.


 


I began as an investor before serving on the board of POET Biorefining – Big Stone for seven years. While on the board, I found out how important political advocacy is to all of us. Because of this, I started donating to POET PAC and lobbied on behalf of biofuels. For six years I attended conferences across the country, including Washington D.C., in an effort to advocate for a future with more biofuels. 


I still give and will continue to give both money and time to POET PAC because I see what those dollars and efforts attain. Ethanol would not be where it is today if it weren’t for the political advocacy that has been done and continues to be done. The president, Congress and the EPA need to be kept informed about our issues. POET PAC helps toward that cause.


Big Oil is our major competition to the fuel supply in the world, and their lobbying efforts are huge because of their budget. POET PAC enables us to be more competitive in this lobbying effort. The world’s fuel supply is about market share, and Big Oil doesn’t want to give it to us. We need to expand our share. That’s the battle, and D.C. is the battleground. 


Too many people and organizations are anti-ethanol. I believe most have been misinformed by Big Oil and other groups. As an agricultural educator of 38 years, I have realized the importance of getting the right information out in order for people to make good decisions. Accurate education is a solution to this. Educating federal and state policymakers concerning ethanol has been POET PAC’s mission, and it’s one I’m proud to be a part of. 


 


My connection to POET goes back to the early years, when Jeff Broin started the operation in Scotland, South Dakota.  When I was asked to join a group of farmers to explore the feasibility of constructing an ethanol plant in our area, I became excited about the prospect of processing our corn production and producing a valuable livestock feed. I quickly became an investor, helped lobby on the state level, and had the privilege of serving on the Chancellor plant board for many years. My engagement with POET over the years has only strengthened my belief in getting involved and the need to advocate for pro-ag and pro-biofuel policies at the state and federal levels.


The massive production of corn in the U.S. is a great accomplishment. The right environment, combined with timely rains and sunshine along with fertile land, yields more than can be eaten and exported. Biofuels like ethanol provide an excellent opportunity for surplus supply. Essential products such as hand sanitizers, sweeteners, asphalt and many other valuable products can be made from corn. The biggest demand is fuel for transportation.


Consumers need to know that if they support a future with more biofuels, great products will be delivered to them — products that are free of harsh chemicals derived from petroleum. But the oil guys won’t give up their market shares easily, and that is why your engagement in POET PAC is critical to our future. 


Coming together with other pro-biofuel supporters is the only way we will accomplish our work in Washington. Thanks to the strength of POET PAC, we have accomplished a lot over the years, but I know this is just the start. Together we will create a future with higher blends and an overall better world!


Want to get involved? Join POET PAC today.





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