ISA Newsroom

Agricultural news farmers want to know.

Soy Briefs

Article cover photo
Several Iowa farmers won $500 worth of biodiesel-blended fuel from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Biodiesel Board during the 2018 Farm Progress Show. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Johnston —  To promote biodiesel, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) partnered with the Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Biodiesel Board during the 2018 Farm Progress Show to offer Iowa farmers eight chances to win $500 worth of biodiesel-blended fuel. Farmers from across the state entered to win during the three-day event in Boone. See what some of the winners had to say:

Diane Gannon, Jasper County
“As Iowa farmers, we are proud to supply food and fuel to keep America running, including biodiesel,” Gannon said. “We are excited to have won this contest but using biodiesel should be a no-brainer for Iowa farmers. To support biodiesel is to support Iowa agriculture.”

Gannon will be using biodiesel from Key Coop in Newton, just like the fuel produced in her local community by Renewable Energy Group’s Newton biorefinery.

“REG proudly produces a cleaner, greener fuel that supports Iowa’s agriculture economy,” said Troy Shoen, senior marketing manager for REG. “We hope more Iowa farmers will follow Gannon’s lead and ask their fuel suppliers for a biodiesel blend the next time they order fuel.”

Tony Covington, Jones County
“As a farmer, biodiesel adds a lot of value to my business and I’m excited to support fuel produced right here in my local community,” Covington said.

Covington will be using biodiesel from Molo Oil in Dubuque, just like the fuel produced at Western Dubuque Biodiesel in nearby Farley.

“The biodiesel we produce at Western Dubuque Biodiesel is high quality and good for Iowa’s economy and environment,” said Tom Brooks, general manager of the biodiesel plant. “We appreciate Tony’s support and hope more farmers will follow his lead by supporting the fuel that supports them.”

Gary Langbein, Sac County and Alan Bennett, Ida County
“I am proud to use biodiesel on my farm,” Langbein said. “I thank IRFA for this opportunity and making it possible for more farmers to try biodiesel.”

 “I have used biodiesel and ethanol on my farm for a number of years,” Bennet said. “We farmers should be the first and most fervent supporters of Iowa biodiesel because it is made from our commodities.”

Bennett and Langbein will be using biodiesel from Community Oil in Carroll and First Coop in Cherokee, just like the fuel produced at Western Iowa Energy in nearby Wall Lake.

“At Western Iowa Energy we produce fuel that supports Iowa farmers and our local community,” said Brad Wilson, president and general manager of Western Iowa Energy. “It is always exciting to hear from farmers who are using biodiesel. In addition to the benefits it provides to Iowa agriculture and the environment, biodiesel is a high-quality fuel that enhances engine performance.”

Biodiesel is commonly made from soybean oil, animal fat, corn oil, and used cooking oil. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 86 percent, adds 63 cents to each bushel of Iowa soybeans, and increases the value of Iowa livestock.

Johnston — After a slight decrease in 2017, Iowa’s 12 biodiesel plants rebounded with a record-breaking 365 million gallons of biodiesel production in 2018. 

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw said the increased production was largely due to the plummeting level of biodiesel imports following a verdict against Argentina and Indonesia for illegally subsidizing imports to the U.S.

“In previous years American biodiesel producers struggled to compete against unfairly subsidized and dumped imports,” Shaw said. “This record-breaking year of production proves that when the playing field is level, U.S. biodiesel producers can successfully fulfill domestic demand.”

Iowa biodiesel production is expected to make up nearly 20 percent of total U.S. production for 2018. Shaw emphasized that the state could do even more if the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) level for biodiesel was set to at least mirror projected U.S. biodiesel consumption and not undermined by small-refinery exemptions.

“We are extremely excited and proud of what was accomplished last year, but the fact remains we still have unused capacity,” Shaw said. “Iowa’s biodiesel plants are ready to grow and produce beyond expectations, and 2018 proved that when the law is enforced equitably they can do just that. But when producers are hampered by timid RFS levels or demand-destroying exemptions they cannot achieve their full potential.”

Compared to 2017, there was a shift in feedstock usage across the state toward more soybean oil. Soybean oil increased its market share to nearly 81 percent while animal fat usage declined from 11 percent to nearly five percent. Corn oil continued to make up about 10 percent of feedstock. Used cooking oil (UCO) saw a marginal increase to about four percent.

Boone — A four-session Women Marketing Grain Series will be offered to assist women in developing plans for marketing old and new crop corn and soybeans. The series will begin on Monday evening, Feb. 4 and meets over four consecutive Monday evenings, Feb. 4, 11, 18 and 25 at the DMACC Boone Campus, 1125 Hancock Drive, Boone. The registration deadline is Jan. 28.

In this course, women will learn how to:

  • Recognize crop marketing terms and sources of obtaining current futures and cash market prices
    Understand basis, futures carry, cost of grain ownership, supply/demand fundamentals, and technical chart signals.
  • Recognize seasonal price trends.
  • Use crop marketing tools including spot cash sales, forward contracts, hedge-to- arrive contracts, futures hedging and the use of both put and call options.
  • Develop a crop marketing plan.

Classes are 6-9 p.m. each evening with a light supper at 5:30 p.m. Registration for this series is $75. For questions, please contact Alex Merk at (515) 432-3882 or

To register, visit

Washington, D.C. — U.S. soybean farmers welcomed news from President Trump confirming a second payment under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Market Facilitation Program.

“Soy growers are very thankful that President Trump understands the need for this payment on the full 2018 production and that the Administration will deliver the second half of the aid as promised. While it will not make our losses whole, it will certainly help offset the drop in prices we have experienced since China cut off U.S. soybean imports,” said American Soybean Association (ASA) president Davie Stephens, a soybean producer from Clinton, Kentucky. “We saw some initial sales of U.S. soybeans to China last week, which was also welcomed news and we hope a sign that the trade war could be turning a corner as a result of President Trump’s recent meeting with President Xi.”

The administration announced the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) in July as part of a trade aid package to partially offset the short-term impact of foreign tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports, including a 25 percent duty imposed by China on soybean imports. Farmers who apply under the MFP by January 15 and who have been eligible to receive payments on half of their 2018 production will now receive a payment of $1.65 per bushel on their entire harvested crop.

ASA continues to advocate for a negotiated solution to the trade war that would result in China rescinding the 25 percent tariff and fully opening its market to commercial purchases of U.S. soybeans. Said Stephens, “The sooner the market opens and tariffs are rescinded, the sooner we can start to rebuild the exports we have lost this year.”

Washington, D.C. — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering up to $600 million in loans and grants to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America.

Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers and municipalities may apply for funding through USDA’s new ReConnect Program to connect rural areas that currently have insufficient broadband service. Answering the Trump administration’s call to action for rural prosperity, Congress appropriated funds in the fiscal year 2018 budget for this broadband pilot program. USDA Rural Development is the primary agency delivering the program, with assistance from other federal partners.

“High-speed internet e-Connectivity is a necessity, not an amenity, vital for quality of life and economic opportunity, so we hope that today rural communities kick off their rural broadband project planning,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA has worked to understand the true needs of rural communities facing this challenge, so we can be strong partners to create high-speed, reliable broadband e-Connectivity.”

USDA will make available approximately $200 million for grants (applications due to USDA by April 29), as well as $200 million for loan and grant combinations (applications due May 29), and $200 million for low-interest loans (applications due by June 28). For additional information, see page 64315 of the Dec. 14 Federal Register (PDF, 255 KB).

Washington, D.C. — It appears that the biodiesel industry and farmers in the Southeast hammered by this year’s hurricanes will have to wait for the new Congress for helped.

Congress and the White House failed to agree on a spending bill for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other departments that don’t have their fiscal 2019 funding levels yet. Both issues were left out of a stopgap spending bill that kept the government funded until Feb. 8.

Georgia lawmakers pressed hard to include an expansion of the disaster assistance package that Congress passed earlier this year for 2017 hurricane losses. The changes would include authorizing supplemental assistance for cotton growers whose yields this fall would have been much higher than their insured yields. Another change would make it easier for pecan producers to qualify for tree assistance. 

But Senate aides have raised concerns about the accuracy of the damage estimates, said Georgia Rep. Sanford Bishop, the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. 

The biodiesel industry was hoping Congress would pass a multi-year extension and phaseout of the expired $1-a-gallon tax credit that subsidizes the biodiesel industry.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, who became chairman of the Senate Finance Committee this month, has promised to make the biodiesel credit a priority this year, but he’ll have to work with a new Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal. 

For media inquiries, please contact Katie Johnson, ISA Public Relations Manager at or Aaron Putze, ISA Communications Director at

For permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos contact Aaron Putze at Iowa Soybean Association | 1255 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy | Ankeny | IA | 50023 | US

©2018 Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm Network®. All rights reserved. On-Farm Network® is a registered trademark of the Iowa Soybean Association, Ankeny, IA.Portions of some On-Farm Network trials are paid for in total or in part by the soybean checkoff.