BLOOMINGTON, ILL – October 10, 2012 – Illinois soybean farmers and processors are not losing sight of the compelling reasons and big picture behind the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) -- namely to decrease American dependence on foreign energy, bolster the economy through new jobs and reduce the cost of diesel fuels.  Yet, the historic drought of 2012 has an increasing number of elected officials and industry groups criticizing the RFS2, including calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to waive current requirements.

"The RFS is the backbone of our young industry, and we must speak up about the positive, long-term economic impacts it is creating across the country," says Bill Wykes, soybean farmer from Yorkville, Ill., and chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA).   "RFS gives Illinois farmers greater certainty about a strong soybean market with positive growth potential.  We must not let passing weather conditions undermine the important role biodiesel plays for soybean farmers, animal agriculture and the state's economy."

Biodiesel Benefits Flood Out Drought

Wykes says biodiesel has numerous environmental benefits.  The EPA defines biodiesel as an advanced biofuel because it reduces emissions such as particulate matter, carbon dioxide and unburned hydrocarbons by more than 50 percent compared to petroleum-based diesel.

"About half of biodiesel produced in the U.S. is made from soybean oil," says Wykes.  "Since oil and protein are co-products of soybeans, a strong biodiesel industry should also increase the supply of protein, allowing prices to go down for livestock producers."

In fact, during a five-year period, biodiesel helped save livestock producers an estimated $4.8 billion, found the "Economic Impacts of Biodiesel Production on the Soybean Sector" report from Centrec Consulting in 2010 (see accompanying infographic).

Illinois biodiesel producers echo Wykes' sentiment.  "What the opponents of biodiesel in the food versus fuel controversy fail to consider is the fact that only about 20 percent of the soybean is the oil portion used for biodiesel production.  The majority of the soybean becomes soybean meal for livestock feed," says Kerry Fogarty, quality control manager, Incobrasa Industries, Ltd., one of five biodiesel producers in Illinois.

"If the oil portion of the bean has a greater market thanks to biodiesel, it stands to reason there would be greater incentive to grow soybeans," says Fogarty.  "More soybean production would mean more soybean meal and at a cheaper price.  The trickle-down effect of that is obvious."

The benefits of biodiesel are not only applicable to those in the agriculture and biodiesel industries.  In 2010, the Illinois biodiesel industry generated $1.48 billion in household income and supported nearly 7,800 jobs in all segments of the economy, according to a study on Illinois biodiesel completed by Cardno ENTRIX, an international environmental and natural resource management consulting firm.  The study also shows the impact of such spending was responsible for more than $2.6 billion of Illinois gross domestic product (GDP) between 2004 and 2010.

RFS2 Important for Long-Term Independence

Wykes adds that Illinois soybean farmers are ready and able to produce the crops needed to help the U.S. meet RFS2 goals.  As the country's number two soybean producer, Illinois plays a central role in helping the industry meet RFS2 requirements.  Illinois already sells more biodiesel than any other state and is capable of producing 188 million gallons of biodiesel each year.

"It has always been gratifying to be a farmer, knowing my soybeans are used for so many things -- products that lower fuel prices for my family and friends, create jobs and help feed people.  We cannot afford to pause our momentum and rely on foreign oil when we have a real opportunity to create jobs and simultaneously protect the environment here," says Wykes.

Illinois soybean farmers who wish to address the EPA by the Oct. 11, 2012, comment period deadline, can find instructions here: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/documents/rfs-waiver-request-comment-extension.pdf.  Comments also can be filed online using the following link: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2012-0632-0001.

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) represents more than 45,000 soybean farmers in Illinois through the state soybean checkoff and membership efforts.  The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, promotion, issues management and analysis, communications and education.  Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C.  ISA programs are designed to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality, most dependable, sustainable and competitive in the global marketplace.  For more information, visit the website www.ilsoy.org.

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CUTLINE: Biodiesel raises demand for soybean oil, which, in turn, lowers the price of soybean meal. The infographic highlights research conducted through the soybean checkoff that shows just how these two areas of demand relate to each other.  Source: United Soybean Board

For more information, contact:
Amy Roady
roadya@ilsoy.org
309-808-3610
309-663-7692
618-535-7937