Al-Corn Celebrates 20 Years, Look To Future

  • Tuesday, 16 August 2016 12:49

Owatonna People's Press

By William Morris

Aug 15, 2016

CLAREMONT - The Ethanol industry looks very different from what it was when Al-Corn Clean Fuels first opened its doors.

The Claremont ethanol cooperative celebrated its 20th anniversary Aug 2 with a banquet for shareholders, industry partners and government respresentatives, as well as promotions for E85 ethanol fuel at several Owatonna gas stations.

Al-Cron CEO Randy Doyal said the night was an occasion to reflect on where the cooperative has been and the partnerships it has forged. 

"We had displays of all the organizations we work with like American Lung (Association), Minnesota Corn Growers, Renewable Fuels Association, Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association and Renewable Products Marketing Group," he said.

Speakers included Randy Schwake, a Claremont banker involved in the formation of Al-Corn; former Minnesota House Speaker Steve Sviggum; Doyal; Pat Buckwalter of the Al-Corn board; and keynote speaker Bob Dineen, President and CEO of Renewable Fuels Association. 

Doyal, who serves as chair of the RFA board, said Al-Corn and the industry as a whole are in the midst of retooling to meet future demand and market conditions. 

"The next 20 years will see more ethanol use around the world as other countries start to address their air issues," he said. "Out industry will consolidate. We are positioning our company to survive and to remain more in control of our own destiny."

A big part of that is a planned $146 million expansion announced last year, which Doyal said currently is in the process of acquiring permits to begin construction later this year. The expansion will allow for greater economies of scale and let the cooperative better support its member farmers.

"We want to make sure our farmer owners continue to get the value of processing," he said. "This is too important for our rural communities. It is too important for our state and our environment."

Doyal said the industry is keeping watch on policy developments at the federal level, and in particular the Renewable Fuel Standard that mandates increased level of renewable fuels such as ethanol, which both leading presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, have said they plan to maintain or increase. And he said that the future looks bright for both Al-Corn and ethanol producers in general.

"Our industry continues to improve," he said. "Our core values at Al-Corn are collaboration and constant improvement. Our history really shows that."

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