Leaders of the Iowa Soybean Association say they are pleased that the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has earmarked $1 million for the Renewable Fuels Testing Laboratory at Iowa Central Community College. "The ISA has fully supported the Renewable Fuels Testing Lab and the ICCC biotechnology and biofuels program. It has been a long-term priority for us," says Ray Gaesser, ISA president who farms near Corning in southwest Iowa.
The Renewable Fuels Testing Laboratory will be built on the Iowa Central Community College campus at Fort Dodge, Iowa. The lab will anchor the ICCC biofuels technology program, which is nationally recognized for providing highly skilled workers in the biodiesel and ethanol industries.
"The laboratory will provide comprehensive fuel quality testing for the rapidly expanding renewable fuels industry," says U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, a senior member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee that approved the $1 million for the fuel testing lab.
Needed to train workers and test fuels
The ICCC Renewable Fuels Testing Lab will be a fully independent, all-fuel testing facility, says Don Heck, program coordinator of the ICCC biotechnology and biofuels technology program. "Currently, it takes a one-to two-week turnaround at other fuel-testing labs. Our goal is to provide fuel test results in one to two days, and at a reduced cost," says Heck.
The high-tech ICCC lab is now testing fuels for the Decker study--a partnership of the Decker Truck Line Inc., Caterpillar Inc., the Iowa Soybean Association, the National Biodiesel Board, USDA and Iowa Central Community College. The study, called the "Two Million Mile Haul," examines the benefits of a 20% soy biodiesel blend in an over-the-road trucking company.
"The ISA leadership and staff have worked hard to establish this laboratory. It will provide a necessary component in the efforts to make Iowa a leader in the production of top quality renewable fuels," says Gaesser.
Soybean group gets Pioneer grant
The Iowa Soybean Association announced last week that ISA's Ag Technology and Environmental Stewardship Foundation has received a $25,000 grant from Pioneer Hi-Bred International. The money is to be used to continue coordination of ISA's environmental programs, which show farmers how to evaluate and adjust their management and conservation practices on farms.
Roger Wolf, director of environmental programs for ISA, says this effort is a new approach to get farmers to change their farming practices to protect their land and water resources. Steve Schaaf, program manager for Pioneer, says the effort includes landowners, universities and environmental groups.