GENERAL MANAGER’S MESSAGE – Chad Friese – Summer 2024

In March, it felt like Spring would be here early.  In April we hoped Spring would eventually arrive and here we are in mid-May and Spring has somehow snuck in quietly.  Area farmers have had to be very persistent to accomplish what needs doing, and we appreciate your efforts.

CVEC takes an opportunity in the Spring to clean and refresh after a long winter, as it warms enough to allow for outdoor activities and for equipment to be shutdown for a quick spruce up without turning into a block of ice.  Spring also provides the opportunity to look back at our first 6 months of operations to measure how we are doing and where we are going.  Staff has done a great job again and has the plant in a great position to finish Spring and head into Summer in a very strong position.  We are in great financial shape, but have some recovery to finish up after much cash spent last fall and winter towards investment and distributions.  As stated last fall, CVEC will be doing a lot this Spring/ Summer to evaluate the plant and set a plan of action for future years with thoughts of efficient, low carbon, reduced cost production and potential for growth.  Already projects have been approved to increase corn oil extraction with some additional assets, and to simplify water treatment operations by utilizing a centrifuge for lime extraction in place of a labor and operating cost intensive press system.

Last Fall CVEC made additional investments in growth by procuring additional stake in all 3 of the Guardian Energy assets and we are seeing those benefits come through as additional income.  The purchase may have us leaning a little heavy into outside investment though.  Staff and theBoard are doing a lot of studying on what future growth and refreshment of aging assets locally can do to rebalance overall diversity and continue a bright future.  With much focus on carbon intensity, overall efficiency, streamlined operations and assets that are mostly depreciated we look to the possibility of renewed assets with capacity and efficiency increases.  Regarding carbon intensity, the CVAC Board continues to explore the possibility of solar as an effective and cost-efficient energy source.  Staff also will focus on low carbon markets and Corn Kernel Fiber pathways to higher value west coast markets, and the continued focus by many states for similar programs which are also encouraging.  We all know change is hard and there will be a lot of time and discussion that leads any decisions on how best to set an ongoing course for the future, a bright future for ethanol.

As I have noted the last few newsletters, the ethanol industry has as strong of support as it ever has.  EPA has set solid guidance and future usage, E15 has year-round support in our immediate market areas with pathways for national acceptance, Sustainable Aviation Fuel is a new and apromising market for the future, and ethanol - the original green fuel - continues to get greener.  Initial guidance with GREET modeling suggests that continued efforts towards efficient production along with better measures on agricultural production will continue to facilitate more markets for ethanol to utilize.  Don’t get me wrong here, there are certainly challenges- capital, shifts in politics, a resurgence in electric car sales and support, but there are always challenges to overcome.

Please take a look at the included flier on RCPP, this will have limited availability for participation for our local area at the moment, but we also like this to be an educational opportunity.  A chance to engage with our local producers, and to set CVEC up to help educate our policy makers on what can be effective programs and tracking for the future.  Future production, opportunities, and growth will be most effective with a team approach.