The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Joyce Wolf, The Quill
The 9th annual meetings of Big River Resources Coop and Big River Resources LLC were held Wednesday, February 27th at 9 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. respectively, at the Pzazz Convention and Event Center in Burlington, Iowa.
A continental breakfast was provided before the coop meeting and a buffet luncheon was served between the meetings.
Opening the meeting were Jim Gunter, Coop and LLC director, who gave the invocation prayer followed by Raymond E. Defenbaugh, CEO, President and Chairman of the Board, who welcomed the large number of members and guests.
Mr. Defenbaugh introduced board members and employees as well as guest speakers Jeff Broin and Monte Shaw.
Jeff Broin is founder of the Poet Ethanol Plants which after two decades has grown to be one of the world's largest producers of ethanol and other bio refined products.
Monte Shaw is Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director. Broin, Shaw, and Defenbaugh, serve together in the RFA and Defenbaugh and Broin serve on the Growth Energy board.
BRR's Jim Hall, Financial Director, released the positive figures realized last year in the cash flow statements.
A vote was taken to re-elect board members, Raymond E. Defenbaugh, President, Les Allen, Treasurer, Terry Davis, Director, and Gene Youngquist, Director. They were all re-elected to serve until 2016.
Mr. Defenbaugh announced that there would be a dividend paid for the first quarter of 2013.
To date, Big River has never missed paying a regular scheduled dividend of over 40 percent of their profits, and they continue to accomplish their three original goals of making good returns to its investors, providing good jobs; and improving the economic status of the rural communities.
BRR's generous 40 percent return, exceeds many industrial investments today. They have also paid numerous special dividends to investors since its doors opened in 2004.
Jim Leiting, BRR General Manager told of the success and challenges of the industry in the past year. The volatile markets and oracular nature of the world economy brought so many variables into the mix during this challenging year.
The demand for ethanol remains strong, however, and Big River Resources remains successful and competitive.
Mr. Jeff Broin, founder of Poet ethanol plants, stated the reasons for making ethanol the top additive for fuel.
"America wants a clean fuel," and "we need to become independent of foreign oil."
"The potential impact on the environment and clean air is the focus," he explained, saying the Renewable Fuel Standard is the most successful program in history for replacing fossil fuel use with domestic, renewable energy.
Mr. Broin explained how The Auto Alliance (those who make cars) wants a higher blend of ethanol in the fuel used in their vehicles, E15 - up from E10 that is now the Renewable Fuel Standard they need ethanol's octane.
He explained that today's technology has made vehicles and ethanol compatible and economical. Farmers, who supply the corn, and the ethanol production companies, make the ethanol accessible. The farmers in the audience all agreed that they are getting more for their corn than ever before and agreed it's about time.
Mr. Monte Shaw, Executive Director of IRFA, came to the podium to explain that farmers were adding value to their crops by producing corn for ethanol and soybeans for biodiesel. He also said the fuel processing is enhanced by the DDGS (dried distillers grain) a by-product of the corn processing, saying there still is a sustainable local market for them. Corn oil is also extracted and sold for biodiesel production.
Mr. Shaw told of the process of making cellulosic ethanol using grasses, cornstalks, etc. The equipment and handling of the raw products are completely different from the corn ethanol process.
Big River Resources is exploring corn stalk usage for ethanol production which could add $40-$70 per acre to the farmer's bottom line and improve seed to soil contact when 30 percent of residue is removed from an acre. It also would add another cottage industry to individuals to add income back to their rural area.
"The industry is moving forward to help our world become free from using fossil fuels," Shaw said. "They belong in the ground. 'Renewable' grows every year on top of the ground. All of the new technology is improving the economy by creating jobs and improving the air we all breathe."
The afternoon LLC meeting repeated many of the same topics of the morning cooperative meeting, but included more in depth discussions of the world economy and marketing.
The Renewable Fuel Association has a promotional, informative video available on its website - "40 Facts about Ethanol".
They have launched an educational "Fuels America Campaign" to increase awareness of progress being made in the biofuel industry.
Mr. Defenbaugh, after thanking all for attending, adjourned the meeting.
Raymond Defenbaugh, CEO, President and Chairman of the Board