Iowa agriculture secretary presents biodiesel, ethanol awards

By Iowa Dept. of Agriculture | January 24, 2013

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced that John Gilroy from Harney Oil Co. in Coralville and Jim Becthold from Linn Coop Oil Co. in Marion are the 2013 winners of the Secretary’s Biodiesel and Ethanol Marketing Awards. The awards were created by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to recognize fuel marketers that have gone above and beyond in their efforts to promote and sell renewable fuels.

“Both winners have gone to great lengths to make biodiesel and ethanol more available to Iowa drivers and I appreciate the effort and investment they have made to promote these home-grown fuels,” Northey said. “Iowa is fortunate many retailers like Harney Oil Co. and Linn Coop Oil Co. that make the extra effort to ensure that the fuels we produce in this state are available to customers.”

The Secretary’s Ethanol and Biodiesel Marketing Awards were designed to recognize businesses that market the renewable fuels they have available through creative efforts including, but not limited to: hosting special events highlighting their renewable fuels, development of creative signage, initiation of new advertisements or marketing efforts, and dramatically increase renewable fuel availability.

The winners were announced and recognized during the Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Stores of Iowa Annual Meeting in Des Moines Jan. 15.  PMCI is a nonprofit state trade association serving the needs of independent petroleum marketers and convenience store owners throughout the state of Iowa.


 John Gilroy from Harney Oil Co. in Coralville is the 2013 Secretary's Biodiesel Marketing Award winner.

In 2007, Gilroy installed a heated storage tank for B100, which enabled transport trucks to load product 24 hours per day. This addition allowed his business and several other retailers to blend and sell biodiesel year-round. Harney Oil is located adjacent to the Magellan pipeline terminal and as a result, has made biodiesel blending a convenient and viable option to wholesalers and retailers in Southeast Iowa.

This past year, Gilroy expanded his operations by adding a larger tank. His facility supplied biodiesel to marketers enabling them to sell approximately 12 million gallons of biodiesel to Iowa consumers in 2012.

Gilroy was nominated for the award by Mark Meyer from Keck Energy in Des Moines who is also a past winner of the award.


Jim Becthold, car care manager for Linn Coop Oil Co. in Marion, is the 2013 Secretary’s Ethanol Marketing Award winner.

Under Becthold’s leadership, Linn Coop Oil Co. was the first retailer in the state and the second retailer in the nation to dedicate a pump to offering E15 to 2001 and newer vehicles. Becthold has played a central role in making E15 available to Iowa.

Becthold has also been aggressive in marketing E15 through billboards, radio and print ads, direct mail, op-eds, and press statements touting the benefits of E15. He has also encouraged other fuel retailers in Iowa and across the nation to begin offering this new ethanol fuel blend.

Becthold was nominated for the award by Lucy Norton of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

Renewable fuels industry overview

Iowa leads the nation in the production of ethanol and biodiesel. According to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Iowa has 41 ethanol refineries with the capacity to produce nearly 3.7 billion gallons annually. Iowa also has 13 biodiesel refineries with a combined annual capacity of more than 320 million gallons.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program offers cost-share grants for the installation of E85 dispensers, blender pumps, biodiesel dispensers, and biodiesel storage facilities. The grant program is managed by Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and more information can be found on the department’s website at

“Iowa is truly the national leader in renewable fuels, and that would not be possible without support from the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa and its retail members across the state that market these home-grown fuels,” Northey said.



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