ANKENY, Iowa — Improving the structural integrity of America’s ports, roads, rails and inland waterways, and boosting biofuels infrastructure have long been priorities for soybean farmers. They were also touted by President Joe Biden during a stop in Guthrie County this week.
Delivering his remarks from a renewable fuels facility near Menlo, Biden highlighted a series of priority areas for the administration. Enhancing the quality of farm-to-market infrastructure and increasing the production and use of home-grown energy are at the top of the list.
“Meaningful investments to both biofuel and transportation infrastructure are essential to ensuring the vitality and safety of Iowa’s 40,000 soybean growers,” said Robb Ewoldt, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) president and soybean farmer from Davenport. “Securing these investments will keep soy farmers across the state in an ideal position to continue meeting the demand for quality protein and oil used around the world.”
In 2021, Iowa farmers harvested a record 622 million bushels of soybeans, accounting for 13% of the nation’s total soybean production.
As the primary link between soy supply and demand, enhancements to the state’s transportation network bodes well for Iowa soybean farmers. Following passage of the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, the State of Iowa is set to receive roughly $5 billion in new federal funds over five years to enhance roads, bridges and lock and dam systems. Maintaining a safe, reliable and efficient transportation network gives Iowa soybean farmers a competitive advantage on the global marketplace.
Similarly, Iowa soybean farmers and biodiesel producers recognize the importance of biofuel infrastructure in growing soybean demand and ensuring the nation’s energy security. By increasing soybean oil value, biodiesel production added $1.78 to the per-bushel price of soybeans in 2021. It also lowers the price of soybean meal, a key ingredient for livestock producers and the food supply.
“Investments in biofuels offer huge wins for farmers, biofuel producers, consumers and the environment,” said Iowa Biodiesel Board Chair Brad Wilson, who attended the event. “It was gratifying to hear the president acknowledge support for biofuels, saying they are an important option to help solve our energy supply issues today. He noted biofuels support good paying jobs and the farm economy, while lowering greenhouse gases and helping achieve zero-carbon goals in the transportation sector. The president said this industry has a tremendous future, and we couldn’t agree more.”
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced $100 million in federal funding for biofuel infrastructure enhancements. Grants to improve biofuel infrastructure, including blender pumps compatible with higher blends, would increase low-carbon fuel options for consumers. In addition, improved terminal infrastructure will help move higher blends of biodiesel and more overall volumes.
“The Iowa Soybean Association supports investing resources in specific and proven initiatives resulting in tangible and meaningful outcomes for all Iowans,” said Ewoldt. “Investments in the state’s biofuel and transportation infrastructure meet this requirement.”
The Iowa Soybean Association is Driven To Deliver market demand, production research, information and insights and regulatory action benefiting Iowa’s 40,000 soybean farmers and the industry. For more information, visit iasoybeans.com.
The Iowa Biodiesel Board is a state trade association representing the biodiesel industry. For more information on biodiesel, visit IowaBiodiesel.org.
— Iowa Soybean Association