By Jen Koukol
Minnesota's biodiesel blend is growing again. Gov. Mark Dayton and Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson announced Aug. 3 that the state will mandate a 20% blend beginning in May 2018.
"This state has been a leader in renewable fuels for the past 30 years," says Frederickson. "We're now the first in the nation to mandate B20. We're doing that in summer months only, and it's an incredible opportunity to add value to farmers' products."
Not only will value be added to Minnesota farmers' bottom line, it'll also add value to all residents in the state in the form of cleaner air.
"The biodiesel industry will add an average of 63 cents to the market price of a bushel of soybeans for Minnesota farmers, while reducing approximately 1 million tons of CO2 emissions next year under this new standard," says Dayton.
Farmers ready for increase
"This is a great thing. You can raise your own fuel," says Jim Willers, a Minnesota farmer and Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council director.
Minnesota Soybean Growers Association President Mike Petefish is also pleased with the announcement.
"This is a really exciting time for Minnesota agriculture and all Minnesotans," he says. "We're creating more demand for soybean oil, and by adding value to a byproduct we can maybe bring down the cost of meal for feed while increasing the profitability of the crushers, animal feed industry and farmers. It's a win-win-win."
The facilities are also ready for the increase in production.
"We are ready to go," says Frederickson. "We feel the infrastructure is in place."
Starting in May 2018, B20 will be available at gas stations across Minnesota during the summer months. In October, the blend will drop back to B5. In 2019, B20 will be available from April through September each year.
"Heavy D," "The Muscle," "Diesel Dave" and "Red Beard" from Discovery Channel's "Diesel Brothers" did a meet-and-greet at Farmfest to support and build awareness for biodiesel.
To help promote the new blend, as well as overall awareness of biodiesel, MSR&PC is working with the group from Discovery Channel's "Diesel Brothers." The four stars of the show, as well as their truck Mega RamRunner, appeared at Farmfest on Aug. 3 to meet with biodiesel supporters and grow more support.
"I think everybody should be excited," says Dave "Heavy D" Sparks. "I think consumers should be excited about it, too — at least conscientious consumers — realizing that this is an opportunity to not have to rely on the big oil companies pulling stuff out of the ground."
The custom vehicle entrepreneurs have teamed with MSR&PC to develop a biodiesel truck for MSR&PC during a future episode of "Diesel Brothers." on Discovery Channel.