MN farmers promote RFS growth during D.C. Hill Visits

Soybeans are helping to fuel our world.

Clean Fuels Alliance America (Clean Fuels) represents the biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation industries by coordinating technical, environmental and quality assurance programs. It works tirelessly to ensure that biodiesel and renewable diesel is recognized as mainstream low-carbon fuel options.

As a valued Clean Fuels member, Minnesota Soybean is doing its part in supporting and growing the biofuels industry.

In mid-June, Clean Fuels hosted its annual membership meeting in Washington, D.C., where attendees also participated in Hill Visits with federal lawmakers. Priorities during the Hill Visits included Clean Fuel’s Fair Trade Coalition, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), tax incentive implementation and the 2023 Farm Bill.

“When our representatives hear directly from us, they are able to make informed decisions when policies cross their desk,” said Chris Hill, a director with the American Soybean Association who represents Minnesota on the Clean Fuels board. “Clean Fuels Hill Visits are an opportune time to voice our support of biodiesel.”

The entire agriculture community has its eyes on the upcoming Farm Bill.

Clean Fuels has two main priorities for the next Farm Bill: continue USDA’s successful infrastructure program and extend the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels. By increasing consumer access to biodiesel by 1 billion gallons per year, USDA’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive program reduced CO2 emissions by 9.4 million metric tons per year, costing just $2.67 per ton in the first year. The Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels reduces America’s dependence on foreign imports by increasing the supply of advanced biofuels, such as biodiesel, while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions.

“Biodiesel is not only vital for Minnesota soybean farmers but for Minnesota as a whole, so it’s critical that it’s included in the next Farm Bill,” said Mike Youngerberg, MSR&PC senior director of product development and commercialization.

On June 8, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) and dozens of other commodity groups signed onto a letter to President Biden urging the administration to further raise its RFS obligations. The EPA is expected to finalize its RFS volumes by June 21.

“EPA must substantially increase the RFS’ biomass-based diesel volumes to account for actual production,” the letter stated. “The proposed RFS volumes simply do not provide sufficient market space for the fuels that are produced and available now to help numerous industries decarbonize their transportation footprint. The low volumes threaten the ability of new market sectors, like marine and aviation, to decarbonize in the near term.”

Minnesota’s biodiesel industry supports nearly 5,400 full-time jobs across the state and contributes $1.7 billion in economic activities. At the same time, biodiesel adds about $50,200 in value to a 1,000-acre farm and increases the value of soybeans by over $1 per bushel.

Minnesota farmers, including Hill, MSGA and United Soybean Board Director Lawrence Sukalski and Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council Director Ron Obermoller, visited with staff from Minnesota’s congressional delegation. Farmer leaders thanked members for extending and protecting the biodiesel tax credit and encouraged them to sign a letter asking the U.S. Treasury Department to consistently use the Argonne National Labs GREET model for measuring lifecycle carbon emissions. Additionally, Clean Fuels is encouraging the growth of 500 million gallons per year in biomass-based diesel volumes and 1 billion per year in overall advanced volumes over multiple years.

“Minnesota lawmakers in both the Senate and House have been called out numerous times as supporters of the industry,” Youngerberg said. “As far as policy issues that are positive for biodiesel, the Minnesota delegation has been right at the forefront.”

The Minnesota Soybean delegation departed Washington, D.C., with cautious optimism.

“For Minnesota Soybean, the benefits keep growing when good policy and wise use of the checkoff is used in supporting Clean Fuels,” Hill said.

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