Sioux Falls, SD – The founder of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Merle Anderson was honored with the Meritorious Service Award from National Farmers Union (NFU) in a special ceremony and presentation yesterday for the many years he spent advocating for family farmers and the advancement of the American ethanol industry to support local agricultural communities.
In 1987, Anderson founded ACE and continues to be Chairman Emeritus of the board of directors. ACE executive vice president Brian Jennings attended the event to honor Anderson, along with ACE’s current board president Ron Alverson and two former presidents of the board, Scott Parsley and Bob Scott.
“Merle and Farmers Union share a philosophy that when family farmers do well the entire country benefits from it,” Jennings expressed in his remarks at the awards ceremony. “That’s what Merle saw in ethanol 30 years ago. Merle lit the match to ignite grassroots support for ethanol because he had the vision to understand what it would mean for agriculture and rural communities.”
ACE started in the Dakotas and Minnesota as a grassroots movement to promote ethanol ownership and use. Today, 30 years later, ACE is a nation-wide coalition of 500 members all around the country. “We’ve seen this industry blossom into more than 200 plants in 28 states and more than 10 percent of our gasoline supply,” Jennings said. “Merle, it’s been an honor to work with you and be inspired by you.”
Former ACE president Parsley added, “Merle planted the seed, watered the seed, pulled the weeds and did whatever was necessary to make this industry grow.”
NFU president Roger Johnson hosted the ceremony in honor of Anderson. “The strength, diversity and success of modern family farm agriculture is the result of hardworking men and women across the industry,” he said. “Throughout his long life, Merle has gone above and beyond to ensure the success and well-being of family farmers, ranchers and rural communities.”
North Dakota Farmers Union president Mark Watne and South Dakota president Doug Sombke were also in attendance. Past recipients of the Meritorious Service Award include former Members of Congress and a former U.S. President, who have made noteworthy contributions to family agriculture, humanity and Farmers Union at the state and national levels.