The United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean checkoff will have the help of seven U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) affiliated Clean Cities chapters to communicate the benefits of soy biodiesel this summer.

Through a reimbursement program sponsored by USB, these coalitions will carry out several activities to help increase the use and availability of soy biodiesel.

The Clean Cities program is a government-industry partnership sponsored by the USDOE. This unique partnership has over 90 local chapters across the United States working in their local areas to reduce petroleum consumption.

As part of a competitive application process, these seven chapters were selected by checkoff farmer-leaders to participate in 2009. Participating Clean Cities chapters include: Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition (Birmingham), Central Texas Clean Cities (Austin), Clean Fuels Ohio (Columbus), Kansas City Regional Clean Cities, Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities, St. Louis Regional Clean Cities, and Virginia Clean Cities (Virginia Beach) and East Tennessee Clean Fuel Coalition (Knoxville).

Examples of projects range from a promotional and educational campaign in Pittsburgh to help the state adopt its new biodiesel blend requirement to a series of roundtable workshops in Ohio to educate fleet managers and diesel truck dealers about soy biodiesel.

“We hope these projects help to increase the use of biodiesel,” says Geno Lowe, a soybean farmer from Hebron, Md., and soybean checkoff farmer-leader who uses biodiesel on his farm. “Communicating the benefits of soy biodiesel helps soybean farmers move more of our product, and it benefits the environment.”

The soybean checkoff has been instrumental in developing the biodiesel industry and continuing research to prove the benefits of the domestically produced fuel. Based on the most recent USDOE figures, if every truck driver used a B2 blend of biodiesel, the U.S. trucking industry would consume over 796 million gallons of biodiesel, or the equivalent of over 530 million bushels of soybeans annually.

For updates on the progress of these Clean Cities projects, visit the soybean checkoff’s Web site at http://www.unitedsoybean.org.

USB is made up of 68 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.