The American Soybean Association provided comments recently to the National Research Council Committee on Economic and Environmental Impacts of Increasing Biofuels Production. ASA told the committee that biodiesel made from soybean oil can play a vital role in fulfilling the federal Renewable Fuel Standard without any adverse impacts to the food or feed markets.
"ASA appreciates the opportunity to provide our information and input to the NRC Committee on the impact of increasing biofuels production," says ASA president Rob Joslin, a soybean farmer from Ohio. "We hope that the information and perspective provided by ASA will be of value to the committee and reflected in the results of their study."
Soybean farmers have a great interest in the development and expansion of the U.S. biodiesel industry," says Joslin. "Biodiesel has provided a significant market opportunity for U.S. soybean farmers, and jobs and economic stimulus for the U.S. economy, especially in rural communities."
Every study shows use of biodiesel is favorable for environment
Biodiesel is an advanced biofuel as defined in the law for the RFS and for other federal biofuels programs. The EPA determined that emissions reductions from biodiesel use could range as high as 85%. "To our knowledge, each and every analysis or study that exists shows that using biodiesel results in significantly lower GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions than petroleum diesel, with significant energy gain," Joslin adds.
Soybeans are produced primarily for their 80% meal content, a valuable protein source that is used in the feed and food markets. Biodiesel is produced from soybean oil, a commodity that has historically existed in surplus. An increase in the quantity of soybeans that are grown and processed results in an increase in soy meal supply and decrease in meal prices for the food and feed markets.
As people around the world improve their standard of living, they want more animal protein in their diet. Increased meat consumption, particularly poultry and pork, has increased demand for soy meal, while simultaneously increasing the amount of surplus soy oil on the market.
RFS will have economic, energy and environmental benefits
"ASA strongly believes that the RFS will have economic, energy, and environmental benefits for the country," says Joslin. "Biodiesel, including soy biodiesel, can play a vital role in fulfilling the RFS and can do so without any adverse impacts to the food or feed markets. In fact, we believe soy biodiesel provides benefits to those sectors as well."
ASA told the committee that continued yield and productivity increases by U.S. soybean farmers will play a significant role in providing these benefits by producing more soybeans on the same amount of land. Get a copy of ASA's April 15 statement at www.soygrowers.com/policy/ASA_NRC_0410.pdf.
ASA represents all U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international issues of importance to the soybean industry. ASA's advocacy efforts are made possible through the voluntary membership in ASA by over 22,500 farmers in 31 states where soybeans are grown.