Wallaces Farmer

Iowa biofuels group names "Champions of Renewable Fuels"

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association recognizes state lawmakers based on voting record and biofuels leadership.

Rod Swoboda 1, Editor, Wallaces Farmer

September 15, 2016

4 Min Read

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) political action committee, or PAC, last week announced the names of 19 state legislators who IRFA has designated as “Champions of Renewable Fuels.”  The IRFA PAC Board awarded state legislators seeking re-election who maintained a clear voting record supporting renewable fuels and displayed leadership for renewable fuels in the Iowa Legislature. This is the fourth election cycle the IRFA PAC has given such recognition.


“The IRFA PAC is proud to support these legislators who have been consistent leaders and supporters of important renewable fuels issues,” says IRFA PAC treasurer Denny Mauser. “These ‘Champions of Renewable Fuels’ helped grow Iowa’s leadership in renewable fuels production and use by working tirelessly to strengthen Iowa’s economy, air quality and rural communities by improving opportunities for ethanol and biodiesel.”

Recipients of 2016 “Champion of Renewable Fuels” awards

Iowa Senators and the Senate Districts they represent:

Sen. Michael Breitbach       SD 28

Sen. Mark Costello              SD 12

Sen. Tom Courtney             SD 44

Sen. Jeff Danielson             SD 30

Sen. Randy Feenstra          SD 2 

Sen. Mike Gronstal              SD 8           

Sen. Mary Jo Wilhelm         SD 26                   

Sen. Dan Zumbach             SD 48                   

Iowa Representatives and the House Districts they represent:

Rep. Pat Grassley                HD 50        

Rep. Chris Hagenow            HD 43

Rep. Lisa Heddens              HD 46        

Rep. Lee Hein                      HD 96                   

Rep. Dave Jacoby                HD 74

Rep. Megan Jones               HD 2          

Rep. Jim Lykam                   HD 89

Rep. Todd Prichard              HD 52

Rep. Dave Sieck                  HD 23        

Rep. Mark Smith                  HD 71

Rep. Linda Upmeyer            HD 54

According to a recent IRFA study, Iowa’s renewable fuels industry accounts for more than $4.6 billion of Iowa GDP (gross domestic product), generates $2.3 billion in income for Iowa households and supports more than 43,000 jobs throughout all sectors of the Iowa economy. Read the full study by going to iowarfa.org/economic-impact-2016.

Iowa is the nation’s leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 43 ethanol refineries capable of producing 4 billion gallons annually, including nearly 55 million gallons of annual cellulosic ethanol production capacity. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce more than 315 million gallons annually.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent Iowa’s liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development. For more information, visit IowaRFA.org.

Graduate credits now offered in energy and agriculture

In other biofuel news, it was also announced last week that teachers and other educators can now learn about renewable fuels like ethanol through a new graduate course offered by the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation.

The online course will offer two graduate credits from Drake University, Morningside University or Viterbo University through AEA PD Online. The course, Renewable Energy from Agriculture and the Science of Sustainability, will begin September 19, 2016 and run through November 27, 2016. It will train teachers to apply STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concepts in their classrooms. The course is targeted toward middle and high school science teachers and agriculture teachers, but is open to all teachers interested in the subject or interested in expanding their science base. The course is also being offered for teacher license renewal credit.

Teachers can use lesson plans targeted to high school students

“Educators will walk away from this course with a strong understanding of agriculture’s role in providing renewable energy,” said course instructor Will Fett. “Wind, solar and biomass energy all have big potential in helping meet our energy demands.”

The course is based on energy and agriculture lessons that were developed through a partnership with the Iowa Energy Center. The curriculum uses resources from National FFA Organization, Renewable Fuels Association and other sources. Upon completing the course, participants will have access to 20 lesson plans targeted to high school students that they can immediately begin using with their students. Educators interested in signing up for the class can find the registration information in the AEA PD Online professional development catalog at prodev.aeapdonline.org . Space is limited to first 20 registrations.

About the Author(s)

Rod Swoboda 1

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Rod, who has been a member of the editorial staff of Wallaces Farmer magazine since 1976, was appointed editor of the magazine in April 2003. He is widely recognized around the state, especially for his articles on crop production and soil conservation topics, and has won several writing awards, in addition to honors from farm, commodity and conservation organizations.

"As only the tenth person to hold the position of Wallaces Farmer editor in the past 100 years, I take seriously my responsibility to provide readers with timely articles useful to them in their farming operations," Rod says.

Raised on a farm that is still owned and operated by his family, Rod enjoys writing and interviewing farmers and others involved in agriculture, as well as planning and editing the magazine. You can also find Rod at other Farm Progress Company activities where he has responsibilities associated with the magazine, including hosting the Farm Progress Show, Farm Progress Hay Expo and the Iowa Master Farmer program.

A University of Illinois grad with a Bachelors of Science degree in agriculture (ag journalism major), Rod joined Wallaces Farmer after working several years in Washington D.C. as a writer for Farm Business Incorporated.

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