Soybean, Corn Groups Take Ethanol Message to Fairs

Unique panel discussion slated for two nights at one fair. Tom J. Bechman

Published on: Jul 17, 2006

With all the talk about ethanol and soy biodiesel, it may not seem like there is need for more promotion and more discussion. But experts such as Belinda Peutz, special projects coordinator for the Indiana Soybean Board and now also the Indiana Corn Growers Association, says reality is just the opposite. There's a ton of education work that needs to be done amongst consumers to convince them to use these fuels, and to dispel myths and answer questions, she says.

That's why Peutz and the Indiana Soybean Growers and Indiana Corn Growers are glad to take their message anywhere someone wants them. Two major presentations, back-to-back Wednesday and Thursday nights this week, are slated for the Johnson County Fair in Franklin. Often regarded as one of the largest and best organized fairs in Indiana, The Indiana Soybean Board and Indiana Corn Growers will host a panel discussion summit at the fairgrounds on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 5-6 p.m. EDT both nights. The panel discussion will be held in the Johnson County Farm Bureau Building inside the fairgrounds, located east of the Show Arena and next to Magill Hall, a 4-H display building. The Fairgrounds itself if located one block west and one block north of the intersection of US 31 and Indiana 144 in Franklin.

Different panelists will appear each night. However, the purpose is the same. "We want to help both farmers and non-farmers become more familiar with these fuels and how production of these fuels is expanding in Indiana," Peutz says.

Much of her early work was to convince schools to run soy biodiesel blends in bus fleets. While that's still a goal, uses for B2 through B 20 blends has mushroomed to other truck users. Shorty Whittington, owner of the new Integrity Bio-fuels plant near Morristown, is expected to be part of the panel (night not determined). He will host his own Open House on August 1 for his new plant, slated to produce 10 million gallons of biodiesel annually, with room for expansion to 30 million gallons per year if the market dictates expansion through growing demand and favorable economic conditions for biodiesel producers. His plant will take pure soybean oil from Bunge's soy processing plant next door and produce a high-quality, B 100 biodiesel that can be used to blend other biodiesel products, such as B2, B5, B10 or B20 that are burnt in trucks and tractors.

Peutz says that promotion of biofuels will also be hot and heavy at the Indiana State Fair next month. Shuttle buses, actually wagons pulled by diesel tractors, will be powered by soy biodiesel again this year.

There is no charge for the Johnson County Fair panel discussions, and tickets for free beef dinners at the fair will be given away nightly. There is a $3 per car parking charge to enter the fairgrounds.