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Page added on November 24, 2012

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Sixteen Percent of the U.S. Soybean Crop is Used for Biodiesel

Alternative Energy

Do you know what percent of the U.S. soybean crop is used for biodiesel?

The biodiesel use of soybeans is to be about 16 percent of the total soybean crop this coming year (as a % of total U.S. soybean acres – used for biodiesel) or 468 million bushels.

Both the biodiesel and ethanol plants are having difficulty with profitability since the drought has driven up prices for their feedstocks.

The increase in mandated use of both corn ethanol and biodiesel, plus this year’s drought, means high prices of these two commodities, reduced exports of corn and soybeans from the U.S., growing competition in production of these commodities abroad resulting in the development of new farmland, as well as ailing livestock, poultry, and dairy industries. Ecologically, these policies have meant less crop rotation, greater intensive farming on marginal lands, greater acreage devoted to these two industrial crops, and we are seeing the removal of corn stover from corn fields for readily accessible cellulosic feedstock. Land prices have increased due to policy support of growing these monoculture crops, making them profitable even in a severe drought year such as this.

Biodiesel RINS credits have fallen in price recently because the mandate for this year was met in production by early November. The price of RINS is indicative of the demand for biodiesel. Because RINS were sold on secondary markets, they have been exploited fraudulently.

The mandate for biodiesel use was begun in 2010, and has increased each year since then. Though the soybean industry is pleased with the mandate, they also want to see the tax credit which expired last January to be reinstated.

According to the DesMoines Register, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers asked the U.S. government to reconsider its decision to increase the amount of biodiesel required for use in the nation’s trucks next year by 28 percent due to “unintended consequences” including higher fuel prices for consumers.

For more soybean and biodiesel use statistics, see the work by Dr. Robert Wisner at Iowa State.

big picture agriculture



5 Comments on "Sixteen Percent of the U.S. Soybean Crop is Used for Biodiesel"

  1. fecteau on Sun, 25th Nov 2012 1:07 am 

    But what percentage is used to feed people? Most of the soy production goes to animal feed. Nobody needs to eat dead animals. Not only is a vegetarian diet better for the planet, it is also better for our health.

  2. BillT on Sun, 25th Nov 2012 3:24 am 

    fecteau, man was designed to eat meat. It has been in his diet for perhaps millions of years. Do you know how difficult it is to be a total vegetarian and get all the nutrients you need to be healthy? I bet not. Even the most devoted vegetarians still eat products from animals.

    This idea that we need to drive is killing the planet. Time for it to end!

  3. fecteau on Sun, 25th Nov 2012 12:18 pm 

    BillT, The issue is not about been a total vegetarian, although many Olympic champions are, it is about the fact that over 30% of ghg come from meat production. I am not totally vegan; I eat two organic eggs a week. I use coffemate with my coffee (it has casein, a milk derivative). However, that’s it. I do not wear fur or leather. My wife and I love cooking and good food. We did not have to give them up to become vegan. Have a look at our recipes at http://www.veggierevolution.com

  4. BillT on Sun, 25th Nov 2012 2:53 pm 

    fecteau, good for you! What do you do for a living? Hard labor? Tried working a farm or as a mason’s helper on that diet? Good Luck!

  5. actioncjackson on Sun, 25th Nov 2012 5:23 pm 

    Don’t eat for about a week and see if you have qualms with eating animal flesh. I heard soy ups you’r estrogen, in men anyway, man boobs. Lastly, from what I’ve read, biodiesel uses more non-renewable energy from hydrocarbons than it produces, a racket for profit.

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