Op-Ed: Strengthening Agriculture With the E30 Challenge

Source: By Karla Hofhenke, South Dakota Farmer Union • Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2019

HURON, S.D. – Today, corn producers out-yield demand. What can be done?

“Use more ethanol,” says Jim Seurer, during his 2018 state convention presentation to SDFU members.

And how do we increase ethanol consumption? The CEO of Glacial Lakes Energy, LLC had an answer for this as well – the E30 Challenge – a clever, consumer education campaign initiated by Glacial Lakes Energy with some financial support from the Urban Air Initiative.

The E30 Challenge is a marketing campaign launched in 2016 in Watertown to motivate drivers to try Premium E30. In return for every gallon sold, GLE donated 30 cents to the local Boys and Girls Club, up to $50,000.

At the same time, Glacial Lakes Energy shared testimonials from drivers who tried Premium E30. “We (GLE) can talk all day long, but if your neighbor says they had a good experience, that carries weight,” Seurer says.

Today, consumption of E30 is up by 600 percent in Watertown.

“Ultimately we want to change consumer preference and behavior. We want folks to be comfortable filing up whatever vehicle with E30 and driving away and not even thinking about it,” explains Seurer, who hopes other Midwestern communities will duplicate this challenge and see the positive results for themselves.

Seurer’s message resonated with convention-goer and longtime ethanol advocate, Orrie Swayze. “His message reminds me of an old time Revival – like the old evangelists! We all need to do more to get the word out. Ethanol has been a part of South Dakota’s agriculture industry for a long time, but it is still a foreign idea among many drivers.”

Listening to Swayze’s comments, Davison County farmer, Delmer Mueller chimed in. “If he’s giving an ethanol sermon, he is preaching to the choir. But, it is a good message for us to share with others. When I am at a gas station and I see people using E10, I suggest they try E30.”

Salem farmer Jim Wahle agrees. “I’m all for pushing E30 and ethanol use. I am invested in four ethanol plants,” explains Wahle, who is also the former board president of NuGen Energy.

During his message, Seurer thanked SDFU for their continued support of South Dakota’s ethanol industry and the E30 Challenge. “South Dakota Farmers Union has been a great friend to us.”

His comments were echoed by Glacial Lakes board member, Dale Christensen. “Farmers Union has been a leader for us, helping us gain traction throughout the energy industry. They are also a leader in the push for higher octane fuels like E30.”

Read more about details of the E30 Challenge on page 4 of the September 2018 Union Farmer. The newsletter archive is online at www.sdfu.org.