Environmental and rural development issues strike a common chord between U.S. and Brazilian ethanol producers, says National Corn Growers Association President Ken McCauley.

Those common interests, he says, pave the way for future cooperation between corn and sugar producers.

McCauley was invited to speak to the annual UNICA Conference of sugar cane producers and processors this week in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He was struck by how the discussions at the conference paralleled those taking place in the United States.

“Everyone’s talking about the rural development aspect (of ethanol production) and bringing profit back to remote areas,” McCauley said. Brazil has developed its ethanol industry over the last three decades, he noted, and ethanol proponents are looking beyond just economic benefits.

Brazilians are interested in all aspects of U.S. ethanol, observed McCauley. But, he had to address some misperceptions about corn-based ethanol.

“When we talk about efficiencies in ethanol production, they’re really interested in some of the things we’re doing,” he said. “I think we’ve got a job to do on corn ethanol’s image. We need to get the message out that ethanol is ethanol.”