The United Soybean Board is making great strides in making soy biodiesel more available to those consumers who have helped make it the fastest growing renewable fuel in America.

According to a recent soybean checkoff-funded survey of soybean producers, eight in 10 farmers who do not use soy biodiesel cited availability as the problem. In the coming weeks, a Kansas company plans to open a newly expanded pre-blended biodiesel fuel system in Iowa and Wisconsin.

“In the past, fuel distributors had to obtain biodiesel components — pure biodiesel and petroleum diesel fuel — from separate terminals, and then blend the fuel themselves,” explains Mark Fenner, regional sales manager for CHS, a diversified energy, grains and food company.

In response to more farmer and rancher requests for soy biodiesel, CHS will be the first company in the United States to offer pre-blended soy biodiesel at petroleum loading racks. The company's new soy biodiesel blending and loading system will offer pre-blended soy biodiesel at petroleum loading racks, significantly streamlining the distribution process, and making soy biodiesel more readily available.

“This new innovative system further integrates biodiesel into the existing petroleum infrastructure that distributors have relied on for years. Now a distributor can pull up to this terminal and fill up with pre-blended fuel,” Fenner says.

“Soybean checkoff surveys show biodiesel use among soybean farmers has nearly reached or has exceeded 50 percent in some states,” says United Soybean Board Vice Chairman Greg Anderson. “This fact, along with the introduction of CHS' new pre-blended biodiesel distribution system, shows soybean checkoff-funded efforts to increase use of soy biodiesel continue to yield positive results.”

CHS will market the biodiesel products under the Cenex brand as an extension of their Ruby Fieldmaster Premium Diesel Fuel. The new system will provide a B2 blend (2 percent soy biodiesel and 98 percent petroleum diesel) of biodiesel to Cenex brand fuel distributors. “It offers a greater level of quality assurance and makes it much more efficient for fuel distributors to purchase the fuel,” says Fenner.

The soybean checkoff's biobased products initiative encourages soybean farmers to ask fuel suppliers for B2, and to purchase and use the soy fuel in their operations. The initiative also aims to increase demand of other soy-based products, many also developed through soybean checkoff investments.

“Thanks to soybean checkoff efforts to promote soy biodiesel, we've noticed a dramatic increase in the number of farmers who are asking for soy biodiesel fuel,” says Fenner. “This is one of the main reasons we invested in the pre-blended fuel distribution technology.”

Anderson, who farms near Newman Grove, Neb., has used soy biodiesel on his farm for several years. “Soy biodiesel use among farmers is growing, but still, only slightly more than a third of all soybean farmers nationwide indicate they use the fuel on their farms,” he says. “The commitment by CHS demonstrates that fuel suppliers will respond when farmers ask for and use soy biodiesel.”