Article Posted: 05/18/2005 8:33:59 AM
President's Call for Greater Use of Soy Biodiesel Use in Energy Plan

LINCOLN, NE –Visiting a soy biodiesel plant near Richmond, Virginia, President Bush highlighted the valuable role that soy biodiesel can play in a comprehensive energy plan to wean the United States from foreign petroleum.

The occasion marked a historic moment in the soy biodiesel industry. This is the first time any president has visited a biodiesel plant in the U.S. Representatives of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), American Soybean Association (ASA) and United Soybean Board attended, along with hundreds of other industry leaders, farmers, government representatives and others.

After visiting the Virginia plant with President Bush, Greg Anderson, United Soybean Board (USB) Chairman, a soybean farmer from Newman Grove, Neb., noted only the trucking and rail industries use more diesel than agriculture. Anderson also serves as Chairman on the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB).

“Farmers and ranchers use nearly 3 billion gallons of petroleum diesel every year,” said Anderson. “If we all ask our fuel suppliers for just B2, a 2 percent blend of soy biodiesel with regular diesel, we could utilize close to 54 million gallons of soy biodiesel a year. That's helping displace foreign oil used to make diesel. And it's using U.S. soybean oil to make soy biodiesel from the equivalent of close to 40 million bushels of U.S. soybeans.”

A biannual survey of U.S. soybean farmers conducted by the soybean checkoff earlier this year shows 36 percent of U.S. soybean farmers currently use soy biodiesel in their farming operation. That's an increase from 21 percent in a similar survey conducted in the fall of 2002.

“While nearly four out of 10 of us use soy biodiesel, six out of 10 still don't,” said Anderson. The soybean checkoff survey shows the lack of availability continues to be cited as the top reason more U.S. soybean farmers don't use soy biodiesel. Though the number is falling, 66 percent of the soybean farmers who indicated they don't use biodiesel said it still isn't available in their area. But Anderson says what President Bush found during his visit to Virginia can happen all over the country.

“Soy biodiesel became available here in Virginia because farmers asked for it,” said Anderson. “And that's the case all over the country. If your fuel supplier doesn't carry it, find one that will. And then use it on your farm or ranch.”

Soybean checkoff dollars invested by farmer-driven USB and Qualified State Soybean Boards (QSSBs) have been instrumental in the development and market expansion of soy biodiesel in the United States for more than a decade. For example, the soybean checkoff invested more than a million dollars this year in the National Biodiesel Board, the trade organization of the biodiesel industry, for soy biodiesel research and promotion. USB has also invested over $3 million dollars during the last three years in its Biobased Products Initiative, which reimburses several QSSBs for short-term, state-based soy biodiesel and soy biobased product market expansion activities.

Annual biodiesel production has increased from 500,000 gallons in 1999 to 30 million gallons in 2004, making it the fastest growing alternative fuel in America. Approximately 500 major fleets use the fuel nationwide. The biodiesel tax incentive that went into effect January 1, 2005 is helping biodiesel demand to climb even more.

“The biodiesel incentive has been hugely successful in creating demand during the last few months,” said Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) New Uses Committee Chairman Greg Greving, a soybean farmer from Chapman, Neb. “Extending that incentive beyond its two year period is the top priority of the biodiesel industry. We also look to Congress to pass legislation that will create a renewable fuels standard of eight billion gallons a year.”

“Soy biodiesel is affordable, it adds lubricity to fuel and it improves the performance of our diesel engines,” said Greving. “Perhaps most important, every time we use home-grown biodiesel, we support U.S. farmers, not foreign oil producers.”

Readers can learn more about soy Biodiesel in Nebraska by visiting http://nesoybeans.unl.ed

Nebraska Soybean Board directors are responsible for administering the state's share of the one-half of one percent national check-off on soybeans produced in Nebraska. The funds are invested in research, marketing and promotion projects for soybeans.

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