NBB In Sight

2004 was the tipping point. What will 2005 bring?
By Joseph Jobe | December 01, 2004
2004 ithout question the most monumental year for the American biodiesel industry. Just a few of the highlights include the first annual National Biodiesel Conference in Palm Springs, Calif., with more than 600 enthusiastic participants, the launch of Biodiesel Magazine, a presidential election that saw biodiesel become a campaign issue for both candidates, the announcement of the Jeep Liberty B5 factory fill and the enactment of the first-ever excise tax incentive for biodiesel. 2004 will be remembered as a true tipping point for the American biodiesel industry. As we wrap up the year, one has to wonder what is in store for 2005.

Each November, the National Biodiesel Board gathers biodiesel stakeholders from all over the country to set the direction for the coming year. These open meetings involve updates, discussions, deliberations and the election of our leaders.

Bob Metz has led the industry as the NBB chairman for the last three years, which is the maximum allowed by NBB bylaws. A soybean farmer from South Dakota, Bob led the industry through the majority of the tax incentive campaign with great dedication and skill. It is appropriate that Bob was able to see the passage of the tax incentive on his watch. At the NBB meeting, Bob was presented with the Outstanding Leadership Award by the industry. He was also appointed by the Governing Board to the newly created position of "past chair", and will serve as ex-officio member of the Executive Committee.

NBB elected Darryl Brinkmann, a soybean grower from Carlyle, Ill. as the new chairman. Darryl has served on the NBB board since 1998. Darryl is an open and broad-thinking leader who is sure to continue the proud tradition of farmer leadership on the board.

Other elected officers included Fred Wellons, vice chairman, Baker Commodities; Gary Haer, secretary, West Central; and Jerry Osterholt, treasurer, Indiana Soybean Board. Eleven other governing board members representing various stakeholders were elected during the November board meeting.

Committee chairmen for the standing committees have also been appointed. Ed Hegland of Minnesota will chair the Technical Committee. The Regulatory Committee chairman will be Gene Gebolys of World Energy, with Robert Stobaugh of Arkansas serving as vice-chair. The Marketing Committee will continue to be chaired by Jeff Nelson of Stepan Company.

The committees reviewed their priorities for 2005, discussed issues and mapped out strategies. The Regulatory Committee pinpointed such federal policy priorities as extending the biodiesel tax credit beyond Dec. 31, 2006, revamping and extending the CCC Bioenergy Program and supporting a nationwide Renewable Fuel Standard. The Technical Committee identified its industry objectives for the next year as enhancement of fuel quality, maintaining and improving ASTM standards, securing positive B20 statements from OEMs, encouraging B20 in future engine designs and coordinating technical programs with others. Marketing Committee members discussed heating oil market potential, identified petroleum industry outreach and education as a key near-term objective and also discussed goals for reaching new target biodiesel markets.

An Outstanding Award was presented to John Heisdorffer, a farmer leader from Keota, Iowa, who is stepping down after eight years of service on the board, including several years as an officer. John accepted the award with these comments, "I really feel like I have been a part of something important. I've got four grandchildren and another one on the way, and I look forward to the day I can tell them that I helped start this thing. It has been a pleasure to serve this industry and watch it grow from a group of 13 people sitting around a table to the thriving, professional industry it is today."

John's comments optimized the selfless service of our volunteer farmer leaders. I have no doubt, with committed leaders like John providing clear direction and industry unity, 2005 will see a growth in the industry like never before.

Joseph Jobe
National Biodiesel Board
Executive Director
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