(Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)
Think Big. Deliver Big. Win Big.
February 15, 2021 | Michael Dolch
Over several magazine columns now, we have explored various markets and initiatives shaping the soybean sector, probably none more than biodiesel production. With demand revving up for soybean oil, I expressed optimism last month in my column, “All Gas, No Brakes” that the best was yet to come. Well, I am here to tell you that the Iowa Soybean Association is thinking big. Iowa and Gov. Kim Reynolds are thinking big. How big, you ask? What if I told you there is now a framework and pathway for increasing biodiesel consumption in the state by more than 203 million gallons and generating an additional 135 million bushels of soybean demand by 2026 while driving down feed costs for the state’s livestock producers? Yes, that big. The question remains, how do we get there?
Gov. Reynolds recently introduced legislation that would establish biofuel standards for fuel sold across Iowa, aiming to accelerate the statewide adoption of higher biofuel blends, including E15 and B20. More specifically, the legislation would set an 11% minimum biodiesel standard for diesel fuel sold beginning in 2022. The biodiesel standard would ramp up to B20 during the warmer months in 2024 and later. In addition to $5 million built into the Governor’s budget proposal, the bill adds $5 million from the general fund for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP). Reforms in the bill more than offset the increase in RFIP funding, leaving tens of millions of additional tax dollars in the state’s general fund. The governor’s proposal also codifies changes to the state’s fleet. It would require all diesel vehicles be compatible to B20 and direct state agency heads to better track employee usage of higher blends of biofuels within the state fleet.
Iowa is already a leading state in soybean, biodiesel, corn and ethanol production. Why not also lead the country in biofuels policy, and in doing so, lead a revival of Iowa’s economy in the wake of the coronavirus. This pathway would provide a stable and reliable market for Iowa farmers, boost farm income, spur economic activity and grow thousands of jobs across the state. It would also address climate, carbon and clean air the Iowa way, preempting coastal calls for electric vehicles that would devastate agriculture and our economy.
Over the next several weeks and months, the ISA and Iowa Biodiesel Board will team up with farmers and other renewable fuel proponents to advance the legislation through various committees and chambers. We look forward to partnering with you in this effort. Should the proposal eventually land on the governor’s desk for signature, Iowa farmers, retailers, consumers and our environment stand to win big.
Want more policy insights that you can trust? Advocate members of the Iowa Soybean Association receive regular email updates on policy and regulatory movement in Des Moines, Washington, D.C., and other places where an Iowa soybean farmer’s bottom line stands to be affected. The bottom line: We are Driven To Deliver and strive to be worthy of your time and trust, always. Visit iasoybeans.com to become an ISA Advocate today.
This story was originally published in the February 2021 issue of the Iowa Soybean Review.