The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced an increase in the biodiesel volume requirement under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) from 1 billion gallons in 2012 to 1.28 billion gallons in 2013, a move supported and welcomed by the American Soybean Association (ASA).

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 expanded the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program and requires a minimum of one billion gallons of biomass-based diesel each year from 2013-2022, with EPA discretion to set the volume higher.

In a statementsupporting the announcement, ASA pointed out the multiple benefits of the increased RFS volumes including expanding market for soybean farmers, increasing soybean meal supplies to our valued partners in the livestock industry for use as feed, as well as creating jobs, reducing our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, and providing environmental benefits.

ASA highlighted several benefits from biodiesel production that help U.S. livestock producers. Soybean-based biodiesel actually has a positive impact on U.S. soybean meal supplies as processing biodiesel from soybeans uses only the oil portion of the soybean, which is about 18-20 percent of the soybean, leaving the remaining 80-82 percent available as protein to nourish both livestock and humans.

By increasing the market for soybean oil in the U.S. and domestic oilseed processing, we increase the availability of protein-rich meal for human and livestock consumption. The increased meal supply results in a more cost-effective food and feed source.

In addition to soybean oil, biodiesel is made from a wide range of sources, including other agricultural oils such as canola, recycled cooking oil, and animal fats, enabling the majority of biodiesel producers to alternate feedstocks if prices increase or supplies decrease.