As Congress prepares for an Independence Day recess to be followed by vigorous discussion of a new energy bill, the National Corn Growers Association has stepped up its campaign to ensure that corn-based ethanol is part of the formula that brings our country to energy security and independence.

“With nearly two-thirds of our oil imported, we need to focus on a broad range of domestic fuel solutions,” said NCGA President Darrin Ihnen, a South Dakota farmer. “Legislation is before Congress to continue much needed incentives and there is a new energy bill on the horizon, making it an important and critical time to talk about ethanol’s many environmental and economic benefits to our country.”

Front and center in the NCGA campaign is a new television ad using powerful images and common sense to stress the importance of ethanol. It will air starting Monday, June 28, on local news programs in Washington and on major cable channels such as Fox, CNN and MSNBC.

“It’s now clear that events both here at home and abroad demand a different solution to our energy needs,” the ad states. “One that protects our national security, safeguards our environment and promotes economic growth. One answer grows in our own backyard. Turning American corn into America’s energy. It’s renewable, efficient, abundant and safe. And it creates American jobs. We feed the world; we can fuel it, too. Ethanol. Now is the time.”

This campaign follows closely on recent news that ethanol production has grown more efficient in the past few years, and is considered to be “energy positive” -- For every unit of energy required to make ethanol, 2.3 units of energy are produced, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on June 21.

In addition, according to a University of Nebraska report last year, ethanol directly emits an average of 51 percent less greenhouse gas than gasoline, as much as three times the reduction reported in earlier research, thanks to recent improvements in efficiency throughout the production process.

“It’s no wonder we’re saying ‘Now is the time’ for ethanol,” NCGA’s Ihnen said. “The industry is making great progress and corn growers have another record crop in the fields so we can meet all needs.”