The biodiesel that fuels semis, farm tractors and bus fleets continues to fuel market potential for U.S. soybean oil and profit opportunities for U.S. soybean farmers, according to the United Soybean Board.
In order to meet federal biodiesel-usage requirements of 1.28 billion gallons this year, manufacturers will need 9 billion pounds of vegetable oils and animal fats. At least 4.8 billion pounds of that could be soybean oil. That's the oil from 430 million bushels of U.S. soybeans.
"There's value for soybean farmers from the growing market use of soybean oil for biodiesel," says Gregg Fujan, a USB director and soybean farmer from Weston, Neb. "It expands the market for our soybeans, which also increases the price we receive."
According to research commissioned by soybean farmers in Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota through their state soy checkoff boards, biodiesel contributed to a $15 billion increase in soybean-oil revenues between 2006 and 2012. Over that time period, this raised the price of soybeans by 74 cents per bushel.
Biodiesel qualifies with the Environmental Protection Agency as an Advanced Biofuel. Under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, at least 1.28 billion gallons of biodiesel will be produced in the United States in 2013.