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Published January 27, 2014, 10:45 AM

Minn. soy growers launch ad campaign promoting biodiesel

Showing now on TV and computer screens: a new effort by Minnesota soybean growers to promote the use of biodiesel. On Jan. 22, the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion council began an advertising campaign that illustrates how soy-based biodiesel improves air quality. The campaign, “Breathing Easier with Biodiesel,” includes local TV, cable TV, online and social media spots.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

Showing now on TV and computer screens: a new effort by Minnesota soybean growers to promote the use of biodiesel.

On Jan. 22, the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion council began an advertising campaign that illustrates how soy-based biodiesel improves air quality. The campaign, “Breathing Easier with Biodiesel,” includes local TV, cable TV, online and social media spots.

Biodiesel made from soybeans is good for the environment and should play an ever greater role in Minnesota and elsewhere, says Dan Brandt, a Rochester, Minn., soybean farmer involved in efforts to promote the fuel.

“It’s a great product, and we want people to know that,” he says.

Minnesota, the nation’s third-leading soybean producer, is a leader in biodiesel use. It will be the first state to have a B10 mandate, which goes into effect July 1. The higher mandate will be in place only from April to October; it reverts to B5 the rest of the year.

In B5, a gallon of diesel contains a blend of 5 percent biodiesel. In B10, the blend is 10 percent biodiesel.

About 40 million gallons of biodiesel are used annually in Minnesota under B5. An additional 20 million gallons will be used under B10, according to the soybean industry.

Soybeans account for almost all of the biodiesel used in the state.

Under 2007 state legislation, Minnesota is scheduled to go to a B20 mandate by 2015.

“I’m hopeful we can prove the value of our product, so we don’t need a mandate,” Brandt says.

On his own farm

Biodiesel can range from 2 percent (B2) to pure biodiesel (B100).

Brandt uses B100 in one of his own tractors. He started with B20, went to B50 and then to B100. He urges other farmers to use biodiesel, too.

“There’s a comfort level. Start with B20 and work your way up,” he says.

Farmers interested in using higher blends of biodiesel should contact their fuel and equipment dealers, he says.

Brandt spoke with Agweek from San Diego, where he was attending the National Biodiesel Conference.

The conference was upbeat, highlighting trends and new products that bode well for biodiesel’s future, he says.

For example, biodiesel use is rising in New York City, he says.

Biodiesel supporters are concerned, however, by the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to roll back requirements of the Renewable Fuels Standard.

The Minnesota biodiesel campaign is meant to remind consumers how beneficial biodiesel can be, Brandt says.

To see the ad, go to www.youtube.com /MinnesotaSoybean.

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