A soybean checkoff farmer-leader has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for his efforts to increase the use of earth-friendly products such as soy-based biodiesel, adhesives, lubricants and others.

United Soybean Board (USB) Production Chair David Durham, a farmer from Hardin, MO, will receive the honor from DOE's Office of Industrial Technologies (OIT) for serving as a "contributing partner" in its Renewable Bioproducts Program. OIT developed a program to create partnerships with trade groups such as the soybean checkoff, industry leaders and other organizations to help determine technology priorities and strategies for delivering renewable energy and pollution prevention technologies in the future.

"Biobased products developed by the soybean checkoff can play a significant role in helping the federal government reach its goal of tripling the use of renewable products in the United States by 2010," says Durham. "The opportunity to take part in DOE's planning process can help us make sure soy-based products are part of that effort."

Durham participated in DOE's program over a two-year period. As part of the program, representatives of the agricultural, chemical and forestry industries; nonprofit organizations; and academic communities considered new ways of using biobased products derived from crops, trees and other plant materials. Durham's participation was valued, not only because he is a farmer, but also due to the soybean checkoff's active involvement in the research and development of biobased products such as biodiesel fuel.

"This is our way of acknowledging that the success of what we are doing couldn't have happened without the partners' involvement," says Doug Faulkner, program manager for OIT. "We are addressing problems that couldn't be addressed by just one organization."

Durham served on a committee that created a vision and road map for DOE's future activities to promote and facilitate greater use of biobased products such as those derived from soy, rather than petroleum-based products. The soybean checkoff invests in the development of renewable products such as soy-based adhesives, coatings and printing inks, lubricants, plastics and specialty products such as solvents. The checkoff also helped develop biodiesel fuel and invests in numerous promotions to expand its use.

The soybean checkoff leveraged a $312,000 DOE grant to achieve technical approval and the commercial launch of a soy-based, biodegradable, environmentally safe two-cycle engine oil. The project will take place over.

a period of two years. DOE officials also participate in the checkoff's Industrial Products Advisory Committee, which helps develop plans to increase the market for soy-based industrial products.

Every two years, DOE recognizes outstanding contributions of industry leaders. This year DOE will honor Durham as well as four other persons from the agricultural sector, at the opening ceremony of DOE's 4th Industrial Energy Efficiency Symposium and Exposition in Washington, DC, Feb. 19 to 22. USB is made up of 62 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers.

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