IFRA, Iowa soybean growers welcome new biodiesel goal

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The announcement of an approved federal increase in biodiesel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) provides "a much needed" marketplace certainty.

That's according to Brad Albin, president of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA).

Albin, who also serves as vice president of manufacturing for the Renewable Energy Group (REG), said the biodiesel industry "is ecstatic" over the federal action to increase production volume from 1 billion to 1.28 billion gallons for calendar year 2013.

Albin said the increase will play a major role in Iowa's biodiesel production and innovation leadership in years to come.

It will also aid in efforts to promote the continued growth of domestic advanced biofuels production and green jobs, he said.

Representatives of the Iowa Soybean Association also applauded the recent announcement of the increase by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack during his appearance Friday at AGP Biodiesel, in Sergeant Bluff.

"This is a great day for Iowa soybean growers and a great day for the biodiesel industry and other supporters of American-made fuel," said Rolland Schnell, secretary of the Iowa Soybean Association.

"Biodiesel is the only feedstock-diverse, EPA-designated advanced biofuel produced on a commercial scale across the country," Schnell said. "Its production reduces America's dependence on imported petroleum, strengthens domestic energy security, creates jobs and reduces tailpipe pollution and greenhouse gas emissions."

Schnell, who farms near Newton, said Iowa's leadership in soy biodiesel and livestock production work well together.

"Biodiesel uses only oil from soybean crops and none of the meal," he said. "Biodiesel also creates demand for animal fats, increasing the per-head value of livestock. In addition, the protein meal from soy -- a staple in animal diets -- is less expensive today because of biodiesel demand."

Schnell added that the new production volume will add jobs and economic growth at Iowa's 13 biodiesel plants rather than "sending money overseas" for oil.