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IOWA LAWMAKERS APPROVE BIODIESEL BILL
Source: Iowa Soybean Association news release

A bill that will benefit the state's biodiesel industry, farmers and economy is on its way to the governor.

The Iowa Legislature overwhelmingly passed the Biodiesel Production Credit Bill. Gov. Terry Branstad, a strong supporter of renewable fuels, is expected to sign it.

The Senate unanimously approved the bill, 48-0, on Thursday. The House passed it by a 95-2 vote a day earlier. The session is expected to end Saturday.

Lawmakers extended the state's biodiesel tax credit of 2 cents per gallon on the first 25 million gallons of biodiesel produced in any single plant. The incentive was set to expire at the end of the year, but now goes through 2017.

Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) Executive Director Grant Kimberley said the strong support shows how important biofuels are to the state and the economy. A recent study shows biodiesel production supported more than 7,000 full-time jobs in the state last year and contributed $520 million to Iowa's gross domestic product.

"Legislators have demonstrated foresight in supporting one of the most powerful economic drivers Iowa has --- biofuels," Kimberley said. "Not only does this biodiesel policy benefit Iowa's economy and a rural renaissance, it also props up our nation's energy security."

Iowa leads the nation in biodiesel production. The state's 12 plants are capable of producing 315 million gallons. The most widely used feedstock is soybean oil.

IBB Board member Ron Heck, who farms near Perry and is also on the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) Board, said passage was crucial given uncertainty over the national Renewable Fuel Standard and other federal policies. And, competition from neighboring states.

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed reducing the amount of renewable fuel that must be blended into the nation's fuel supply. Minnesota has a B5 requirement, Illinois exempts sales tax on biodiesel and Missouri has a lucrative biodiesel production incentive.

"I want to thank Gov. Branstad and legislators for recognizing the importance of biodiesel," Heck said. "Our state has to be competitive with incentives. We want to keep the benefits: jobs, income, lower feed costs, soybean oil demand, (etc.)."

A strong biodiesel industry is good for crop and livestock farmers. Kimberley, who also farms in central Iowa and serves as ISA's director of market development, said if Iowa's ag economy is healthy, so is the state.

A soybean checkoff-funded study by the United Soybean Board shows biodiesel added 74 cents per bushel to soybean prices and reduced soybean meal costs by $25 per ton from 2006-2012.

"Even with grain prices down a bit now, this will help prices rebound again," said John Heisdorffer, a board member of the Iowa Renewable Energy biodiesel plant in Washington. The Keota farmer is also an ISA Board member.

Ethanol also received support in the bill. State retailer ethanol tax credits were extended through 2017. The E15-plus retailer tax credit was increased to 10 cents per gallon from June 1 to Sept. 15, which is designed to offset the increased cost required to blend and sell E15 as a registered fuel during the summer.

To learn more about ISA, go to www.iasoybeans.com.


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