Farmer Elected Vice-Chair Of Iowa Renewable Fuels Board

Yvonne Wente is the only farmer on this board which decides who gets state grants to expand renewable fuel infrastructure.

Yvonne Wente, a soybean and corn producer from Waverly, Iowa, was recently elected vice-chair of the state of Iowa's new Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Board (RFIB). She was elected as vice-chair by the RFIB board members at their first official meeting on Sept. 25. Dave Smitherman, senior partner of Dave Smitherman Consulting, was elected chairman.

The 11-member board was chosen by Gov. Tom Vilsack and Lt. Governor Sally Pederson in August to oversee the renewable fuels infrastructure funding.

The board was established by the Legislature earlier this year. It has the responsibility to distribute $13 million in state cost-share grants for renewable fuels projects across the state. The money was appropriated by the Legislature to expand the infrastructure for biodiesel and E85 ethanol distribution. It will be used to help gas stations and fuel suppliers defray the cost of installing tanks, pumps, etc. to handle biofuels.

Wente, the only full-time farmer on the RFIB, will assist the chairman in working with the board to develop and administer the process to get the funding to the appropriate projects. They will ensure that the $13 million set aside by the Legislature for renewable fuels infrastructure funding is spent properly and fairly. Their next scheduled meeting is set for Oct. 31.

Board will decide who gets funds

Wente is a former Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Soybean Promotion Board district director. She also served as the first female chair of the Iowa Soybean Promotion Board from 1997 to 1998. Wente is a leader in agriculture, and is known for her tireless effort as a grassroots activist for ISA. She is a co-owner and operator of a soybean and corn farm, with her husband, Paul.

"I'm excited to have the opportunity to assist in moving the renewable fuels industry forward, " says Wente. "I believe renewable fuels will play a vital role in Iowa's economic future and I'm looking forward to working with my fellow board members to help the industry grow."

Other Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Board members are: Jeff Hove, regulatory affairs manager for Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Stores of Iowa; Brian Wiegert, senior underwriter for Rounds & Associates/PMMIC; Mona Bond, executive director of Agribusiness Association; Shannon Textor, director of market development for the Iowa Corn Growers Association; Denny Harding, business development executive for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation; Brenda Neville, vice president of the Iowa Motor Truck Association; Alan Hillgren, general manager of the petroleum division for Seneca Companies; Lucy Norton, managing director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association; and Jill Rheams-Widder, environmental consultant for Casey's General Stores.

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