Minnesota biodiesel: a national leader with local impacts

For nearly two decades, Minnesota has taken a bold stance on the use of biodiesel in today’s fuel products. In 2002, Minnesota became the first state to require a 2 percent minimum blending requirement in diesel fuel across the state. This has continued to increase to the current requirement of a 20 percent biodiesel blend during the summer months, and a 5 percent blend during the winter months.

Last week, 22 Minnesota soybean farmers, fuel distributors and technicians attended the 2019 National Biodiesel Conference in San Diego, Calif., as part of the See For Yourself program, which helps farmers see firsthand how soybean checkoff dollars are used in value-added ag products such as biodiesel.

“Biodiesel has such a new view in my eyes after learning so much here,” says Elisha Graves, a farmer from Grey Eagle, Minn., and treasurer of the Todd County Corn and Soybean Growers, “This program helped me find the benefits to using biodiesel above and beyond the increase demand it provides the soybean market.”

Participants had an opportunity to attend a plethora of breakout sessions ranging in topics from policy creation to marketing to biodiesel management best practices. Speakers and presenters from across the country gathered here to bring light to the growing demand for biodiesel and to show how biodiesel is paving the way as a renewable energy source. Ford, General Motors and Isuzu displayed their new line of 2019 B20 vehicles for attendees to test drive through the city.

“There is still work to be done for biodiesel, but I am confident there is a positive future ahead,” says Ryan Girard, a field service technician with Ziegler Cat. “Being able to see the offerings that B20 has and the easy decision we can make to make an impact on the environment helps you be an advocate every day.”

MSR&PC enlisted MEG Corp to manage the arrangements for this See For Yourself experience as well as to develop, expand and service current markets for biodiesel through their technical support, education and promotion efforts. An orientation session was held prior to the conference to help attendees develop a baseline of biodiesel knowledge and better prepare them for the week to come.

“I have really enjoyed watching everyone grow and connect with leaders in the biodiesel industry.” says Jim Willers, a MSR&PC director and See For Yourself group leader, “I am confident that all 22 farmers, fuel distributors and mechanics are going to be a great voice for biodiesel in Minnesota and continue to share the impact that it has on lowering carbon levels in their communities and throughout the state.”

MSR&PC hosts a See For Yourself trip on biodiesel every year in coordination with the National Biodiesel Conference.

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