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State fleet to be fueled by biodiesel

Article cover photo
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed an executive order today directing state agencies to purchase diesel engines and vehicles which can run on fuel containing at least a 20% blend of biodiesel (B20). (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

By Bethany Baratta, ISA senior writer

The State of Iowa leads the way in biodiesel production, producing 365 million gallons of the homegrown fuel last year. Now, thanks to an executive order signed by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, the state is showing its commitment to building domestic demand and using the fuel, too.

Gov. Reynolds today signed an executive order requiring state agencies to purchase diesel engines and vehicles with manufacturer support for at least a 20% blend of biodiesel (B20).

“Iowa is the nation’s leading producer of biodiesel and should also be a leader in ensuring biodiesel manufacturers support biodiesel blends, thereby furthering Iowa’s economy, environmental sustainability and value-added agriculture,” Reynolds said before signing the order at Iowa Farm Bureau’s annual meeting in Des Moines.

Iowa’s 11 biodiesel plants produced 365 million gallons in 2018, up 20% from the year before.

The governor’s reading of the executive order, her fifth since taking office in May 2017, was welcome news to Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) President Tim Bardole.

“Anything to increase the use of biodiesel is positive for agriculture,” the Rippey farmer said. He and his family have been using biodiesel for nearly 20 years on their farm.

“The product is good for the engine and good for the environment,” Bardole said, referring to the cleaner-burning properties of the fuel.

Gov. Reynolds speaks to Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board and other representatives from REG and the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association after signing an executive order directing the use of B20 in state vehicles. (Photo: Joseph

Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board and senior director of market development for ISA, said Reynolds’ executive order shows a commitment to biodiesel usage.

“It’s great the state is taking a leadership role in promoting and using higher blends of biodiesel like B20,” Kimberley said. “It sets a great example and provides confidence for other diesel users to follow suit.”

 It also supports farmers like Bardole, a fifth-generation farmer.

“As tight as the margins are and as tough as the soybean market has been, it would have been even worse without the 65-cents-a-bushel support from biodiesel production,” he said.

Reynolds said the value of biodiesel and ethanol have been proven time and time again. The fuels have reduced dependence on foreign oil, lowered prices at the pump, provided a cleaner-burning fuel, created a reliable market for corn and soybeans, and support high-quality jobs in the state and in the nation.

“It’s my hope that by instituting this executive order in Iowa, it will inspire other governors to consider making biofuels a priority in their states as well,” Reynolds said.

Contact Bethany Baratta at

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