Soybean Checkoff farmer-leaders from 10 states left their farms for the nation's largest city to build demand for Bioheat and Biodiesel. Farmers who serve on the United Soybean Board and state checkoff boards had a chance to see firsthand how checkoff-funded projects and promotion efforts continue to build a new market for their soybeans in New York City.
Nebraska soybean farmer Loyd Pointer explains why his state checkoff board invested in Bioheat, a renewable oil heat source made with soy biodiesel.
"It looked like a pretty big gamble but we had to do something to move some of our oil," Pointer said. Because the oil was becoming a drag on our soybean market and this looked like something that would work but we had no idea whether it would or not."
But it did work. Starting next October, New York City will require boilers and other heating sources fueled by petroleum-based heating oil to use Bioheat. Pointer says it is a big potential market for U.S. soybean oil.
"Unless you come here and see how they do it you don't realize the whole Northeast uses a lot of heating oil," Pointer said. "You know back where we live we use natural gas, propane, wood."
The Nebraska soybean farmer, who serves on USB, says it's not just Bioheat New York City is embracing. He says they've embraced biodiesel, too.
"New York is such a big city they are concerned about green and the environment and they see biodiesel as a way to clean up their exhaust and too make themselves a greener city," Pointer said.
Pointer and other Soybean Checkoff leaders met with city and state officials, as well as the New York City Parks Department and Port Authority, during their recent visit.
The soybean checkoff will partner with nine U.S. Department of Energy-affiliated "Clean Cities" coalitions to increase the availability and use of soy biodiesel and heating-oil-alternative Bioheat through promotion and education. The Clean Cities program has more than 90 local chapters working in their local areas to reduce petroleum consumption.