Soybean growers, thank the RFS

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ST. LOUIS — The biodiesel that fuels semis, farm tractors and bus fleets continues to fuel market potential for U.S. soybean oil and profit opportunities for U.S. soybean farmers.

In order to meet federal biodiesel-usage requirements of 1.28 billion gallons this year, manufacturers will need 9 billion pounds of vegetable oils and animal fats. At least 4.8 billion pounds of that could be soybean oil — the equivalent of the oil from 430 million bushels of U.S. soybeans.

“There’s value for soybean farmers from the growing market use of soybean oil for biodiesel,” said Gregg Fujan, a United Soybean Board director and soybean farmer from Weston, Neb. “It expands the market for our soybeans, which also increases the price we receive.”

Boosting demand

According to research commissioned by soybean farmers in Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota through their state soy checkoff boards, biodiesel contributed to a $15 billion increase in soybean-oil revenues between 2006 and 2012.

Over that time period, this raised the price of soybeans by 74 cents per bushel. Soy-checkoff-funded research on biodiesel’s environmental benefits helped it qualify under the Environmental Protection Agency as an Advanced Biofuel.

Under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (known as RFS2), at least 1.28 billion gallons of biodiesel will be produced in the United States in 2013.

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