Ethanol Industry Loses Pioneer Merle Anderson

Cindy Zimmerman

Merle and Lee Anderson at 2012 ACE Conference

Back in 1987, a man by the name of Merle Anderson saw the need for a grassroots organization to support a new use for corn that would help farmers as well as the entire country. His vision became the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and members of the organization are celebrating Merle’s long and wonderful life this week at the 31st annual meeting after his passing just days ago.

Some of us were hoping to see him one last time this year, since it was back in his home state of Minnesota, but he passed away Monday August 13 at his home in Climax, Minnesota with his sweet wife Lee by his side. He was 96 years old.

Besides being an ethanol industry pioneer and visionary, Anderson was a local and national leader for the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association and The Red River Valley Potato Growers Association, with appointments to the National Potato Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Potato Advisory Committee. He served 42 years on the Red River Valley Cooperative Power’s board of directors. He is also a recipient of the Nikola Tesla Award for his service to the electric power industry and most recently, he received the Meritorious Service Award from Farmer’s Union.

Among the many honors he received in his lifetime from numerous organizations, Merle had the distinction of having the highest award given by the American Coalition for Ethanol named after him. The Merle Anderson Award was first given in 1997 and has been bestowed on presidents, members of Congress, and many others who have helped promote ethanol. This year it was presented to one of Merle’s long time friends in the industry, Owen Jones.

We interviewed Merle several times over the years, but my favorite was in 2012, when I interviewed both him and Lee. Listen to that here: Interview with ACE Founder Merle Anderson

Services for Merle will be at Climax Lutheran Church in Climax, MN.
Visitation: from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm with a 6:30 pm prayer service on Sunday, August 19
Funeral Service: 10:30 am on Monday, August 20

Read more from the Grand Forks Herald.

2018 ACE Conference Photo Album

ACE, Audio, Ethanol