ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, U.S. — Renewable energy issues led the agenda as CHS hosted U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and other elected officials, along with nearly three dozen industry and organization leaders, for a roundtable discussion on April 20.

“CHS was honored to host this gathering and to provide a forum for sharing a wide range of viewpoints on the important topic of renewable energy,” CHS President and Chief Executive Officer Carl Casale said. “We’ve been committed to the marketing and distribution of renewable fuels for four decades as a means of both adding value for producers and addressing our nation’s energy needs.”

During his remarks, Vilsack noted the role that 300,000 producers who own CHS play in the success of U.S. agriculture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) selected CHS for the site of the meeting because of its cooperative structure and long history of involvement in renewable fuels. Also attending the event were U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.

In an earlier meeting with Vilsack, Casale and Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer-Energy Jay Debertin reviewed CHS operations and the company’s energy business. Debertin highlighted CHS renewable fuels-related efforts including grain marketed to plants, ethanol supplied to fuel blenders, retail fuel sales through its network of Cenex branded facilities, and domestic and global sales of the byproduct distillers dried grain solubles.

CHS Board Chairman Michael Toelle, a Browns Valley, Minnesota, U.S., farmer, noted that during their recent visit to Washington, D.C., U.S., CHS directors stressed the company’s support for reform, but not abrupt elimination of, current tax assistance for renewable fuels production.

Vilsack visited CHS as part of a week-long Midwestern tour promoting renewable fuels that included an announcement of initiatives to help farmers and rural small businesses implement renewable energy systems and become more energy efficient, including funding for flexible fuel pumps, sometimes referred to as "blender pumps."