Biodiesel advocates take to the Hill

March 15, 2018 / by Minnesota Soybean Categories: Association News, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association

A squad of Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) directors traveled to the state capitol in St. Paul Wednesday to meet with legislators and highlight the benefits of biodiesel and drum-up support of B20’s implementation on May 1.

“I know how much biodiesel means to farmers in my district (19),” Sen. Nick Frentz, DFL-North Mankato told MSGA lobbyist Cory Bennett. “B20 and renewable fuels have my total support.”

MSGA Director Brad Hovel spoke with Rep. Barb Haley, R-Red Wing, about biodiesel’s impact on the state. The homegrown fuel contributes 63 cents to a bushel of soybeans, increases demand by 13 percent and contributes nearly 5,400 jobs and $1.7 billion in economic output impact to the state’s economy.

“Biodiesel is a winner for farmers and city folks, as well,” Hovel said. “It can be made from sources in the state that we produced.”

Rep. Clark Johnson, DFL-North Mankato, told MSGA directors Paul Freeman and Mike Skaug that he’s a champion of biodiesel because it’s an economic driver in his district and has a positive effect on air pollution statewide.

“It’s really easy to support biodiesel because it’s a clean fuel and I’m always looking for ways to bring the city and rural together,” said Johnson, who serves on the House’s Ag Policy Committee. “All the things we do in the Ag Committee are dwarfed by what biodiesel and B20 does for farmers and the state as a whole. It’s the law and let’s just stay the course.”

Johnson also commended MSGA for its proactive approach in defending and promoting the blending requirement. Using B20 in the summer and B5 in the winter will equate to removing the emissions from nearly 202,000 vehicles from the road each year.

“On biodiesel, I take the lead of MSGA because the argument is so solid,” he told the MSGA directors. “Everyone knows I’m going to fight for this statute. My colleagues who oppose this – let’s just move on and leave it alone. Frankly, I don’t get why anyone wouldn’t be on board with biodiesel.”

Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Commissioner Dave Frederickson spoke with the group at MDA’s headquarters and underscored Gov. Mark Dayton’s administrations backing of B20.

“It’s been good for Minnesota and it’s been good for farmers,” says Frederickson. “Jobs in rural Minnesota, the fuel quality, reducing dependency on foreign oil, and adding value to farmers’ products. They’re the four pillars of why we support renewable fuels like biodiesel.”

MSGA Director Paul Freeman said it’s important to have face-to-face conversations with legislators and administrators to fully grasp biodiesel’s importance to rural Minnesotans.

“I really enjoy walking these halls and continuing to cultivate relationships with our legislators,” Freeman said. “From the economy to the environment, biodiesel is a win-win for all Minnesotans.”

MSGA will be back at the Capitol next week meeting with legislators on other priority issues for 2018.

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