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Friday, February 19, 2016

Farmers and Anglers Talk Ethanol

Pack up the cooler and grab your fishing poles, because KY Corn was fishing for conversations about Ethanol at The National Farm Machinery Show last week in Louisville.  KY Corn showcased efforts to dispel the myths about ethanol's impact on marine motors and other small engines.  The cornerstone of these efforts is a partnership with the Crappie Masters Tournament Trail and an angler team sponsored by American Ethanol.  KY Corn and Commonwealth Agri-Energy joined together as presenting sponsors for Crappie Masters' KY/TN State Championship, occurring in May at Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.  American Ethanol will be the identity of the sponsorship.

At National Farm Machinery Show, KY Corn board members and Crappie Masters partners worked hard to put the common misunderstandings about ethanol to rest.  The booth displayed the boat that is used by American Ethanol's angler team.  It stopped trade show traffic and served as a gateway to conversations about ethanol in special use engines with those attending the show; curiosity got the best of many attendees, they asked about the purpose of this project and then would begin asking questions about ethanol and learning ways that they can help clear up misunderstandings in their communities.

Kevin Jones, the crappie angler sponsored by American Ethanol, participated in the efforts and shared his experiences with the partnership "the boat has been a big attraction this week at the show, on the water and at boat ramps. A lot of people have had questions about my boat being a billboard for a fuel that carries so much controversy.  These conversations turn into opportunities to clear the air about ethanol.  I also have noticed people are curious and just do not want to ask," said Kevin. "The two most common misunderstandings are that ethanol draws moisture from the atmosphere into the fuel system and that ethanol deteriorates the rubber and plastic engine components. There are a lot of misunderstandings, and our job is to clear them up and explain to consumers that ethanol is safe to use."  These fuel system complications are primarily caused by poor fuel maintenance when the fuel is not stabilized prior to storage. 

While the corn and ethanol industry can employ key influencers like Kevin in niche audiences to assist in making sure ethanol gets a fair shake, it is extremely important for farmers to be their own advocates.  Farmers need to become versed about ethanol's benefits and its controversies.  "I had many conversations with attendees that were curious about ethanol and hadn't been sure where to find the answers," said Chris Pierce, member of Ky Corn Growers Board of Directors "I enjoyed spending the day talking to people and answering their questions.  KY Corn wants to ensure the farmers have the tools that they need to engage consumers about ethanol.  Ethanol's importance to the corn market can't by understated and there are many industries that want to confuse the subject.  But, if consumers reject our product because they don't understand it, we'll have ourselves to blame if we don't speak up."

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