Soy Fuels More Than Diesel Engines

By Doug Schroeder, Chairman, Illinois Soybean Association Board of Directors

Doug SchroederIf you could reduce expenses on your farm and support the soybean industry at the same time, you would probably use whatever cost-saving input was at your disposal, wouldn’t you?

About 10 years ago, the driver who brings fuel to our farm asked me why I wasn’t using biodiesel. Since my grain trucks were 20 years old, I told him I was afraid to add biodiesel since I knew it would cleanse the fuel system of sediment deposits and might clog the filters.

He asked me if we were filling our truck fuel tanks at convenience stores, and I said yes. He told me, “Doug, you are already using biodiesel!” I was surprised by that. He convinced me using biodiesel would not be a problem and guaranteed me he would always supply soy biodiesel.

I took him up on that offer and we have used biodiesel on the farm ever since.

It was a no-brainer. Even though we didn’t realize it, we were already using biodiesel without problems, the company was offering a guarantee, I could save money using the state biodiesel tax credit and support our industry. We use B11 in all our trucks and farm equipment today.

I share this story with the hope it will serve as an inspiration for other soybean farmers. As you can see, soy fuels more than diesel engines. It fuels the economy. It is produced from soybeans grown in Illinois, refined into biodiesel in Illinois and used with a state tax credit in Illinois.

This issue of Soy Perspectives begins with a look at how soybeans fuel the world, both in the fuel tank and in other ways. The articles inside also dig deeper into the specific benefits and opportunities of biodiesel. For example, how biodiesel is used in multiple markets and in various ways, how it can be part of a larger carbon reduction strategy, how it is attractive to the younger generation entering farming, and how it mitigates health risks associated with petroleum diesel.

The Illinois biodiesel industry has grown from less than 20 million gallons per year in 2003 to more than 200 million now, supporting 2,000 Illinois jobs. It annually generates $145 million in household income and $3.4 million in farm income. It has increased the price of soybeans by 63 cents per bushel. So, why not give it a spin? I am sure you will be just as sold as I am.