With hundreds of political reporters from across the globe in Iowa to cover Saturday’s Republican Party Straw Poll, ethanol advocates are offering journalists tours of farms and fuel factories to get their message out. Iowa Renewable Fuels Association executive director, Monte Shaw, says he wants to give reporters who aren’t familiar with biofuels the chance to learn how the industry benefits Iowa and America.
Shaw says, “We thought, hey, we’ve got 700 reporters coming to Iowa to cover these events around the Iowa Straw Poll this Saturday, let’s provide them with some opportunities to see first-hand what modern agriculture and modern renewable fuels production is all about.”
Reporters are invited to visit a multi-generational farm to learn how ethanol affects the bottom line. There’s also a tour of an ethanol plant and a state-of-the-art cattle operation near Nevada where livestock are fed ethanol byproducts. Shaw says he’s not getting many takers, so far.
“I’m a little disappointed,” Shaw says. “There has not been as much interest as we would have hoped. We know they have lots of responsibilities and we didn’t expect the vast majority of the people to be interested, but we thought if we could pick off ten or 20 folks that decided to take an hour out of their day to actually learn about what they’re covering, that would be good.”
Another perk of taking the tour, reporters will have an opportunity to drive a vehicle powered by 85% ethanol.
By Dan Skelton, KICD, Spencer