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Soybean Checkoff to promote biodiesel

The United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean checkoff will again partner with U.S. Department of Energy-affiliated (USDOE) Clean Cities chapters to promote the availability and use of soy biodiesel in 2010.

The Clean Cities program is a government-industry partnership sponsored by USDOE and has more than 90 local chapters across the United States. These chapters work in their local areas to reduce petroleum consumption. USB asks that Clean Cities applicants develop programs that communicate the benefits of soy biodiesel through education, demonstrations and promotional activities in suburban and urban areas to help improve availability and use of soy biodiesel.

"The soybean checkoff continued this program to support the use of soy biodiesel in any diesel motor to show how biodiesel is cleaner burning and better for the environment while supporting U.S. agriculture," said Geno Lowe, a soybean farmer from Hebron, Md., and soybean checkoff leader. "We expect we'll see some inventive proposals such as school bus demonstrations to public transportation uses to heavy equipment uses by state or local governments or maybe even a bioheat promotion project."

Biodiesel promotion and education has proved to be important to U.S. soybean farmers' bottom lines. A checkoff-funded study found that U.S. soybean farmers received an additional $2.5 billion in net returns over the last four years due to the biodiesel industry's demand for soybean oil. It shows this demand added up to 25 cents in support for the per-bushel price of soybeans.

"It's important for the checkoff to support biodiesel because it promotes the sale of one component of the soybean, its oil, which in return reflects on the price received by soybean farmers," adds Lowe. "Our hope for this program is that end users will try biodiesel and experience the benefits that biodiesel has to offer and continue to use it long after the Clean Cities partnership is over."

The checkoff has opened the biodiesel reimbursement application process and encourages Clean Cities chapters to partner with Qualified State Soybean Boards (QSSBs) for this project. The application period will close December 22. Participants will be selected by USB farmer-leaders. USB has provided up to $100,000 to use toward the funding of these soy biodiesel communications programs. Selected participants in this reimbursement program will be announced Jan. 15.

An additional program to increase the use of biobased products will also be available for Clean Cities through the soybean checkoff. The biobased products reimbursement program has opened the application process for two reimbursements in the amount of $10,000 and four reimbursements in the amount of $5,000.

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