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Biodiesel Works for Illinois Animal Agriculture

Biodiesel is known for powering vehicles across the country—but it also works for poultry and livestock farmers by powering their profitability.

That was the message today at the REG Seneca, LLC biodiesel plant, where soybean groups hosted a tour and gave an economic presentation to members of the state livestock industry. The United Soybean Board and Illinois Soybean Association shared how biodiesel impacts the profitability of the livestock industry.

“Animal agriculture is the soybean farmer’s No. 1 customer with 97 percent of soybean meal going to feed poultry and livestock,” says Doug Winter, a soybean farmer from Mills Shoals, Ill. and United Soybean Board director. “Biodiesel helps animal agriculture by creating demand for soybean oil, which helps lower the cost of animal feed and creates an additional market for animal fats.”

Increased demand for biodiesel increases the demand for domestic soybeans to crush, growing the supply of soybean meal and keeping its price competitive as global demand for soybeans rises.

“In the last five years, biodiesel has lowered soybean meal prices by at least $21 per ton,” says Alan Weber, a National Biodiesel Board consultant and farmer.

For Illinois farmers, these soybean meal savings and increased fat and tallow values from being used to make biodiesel add up. Weber notes that in 2013 alone, pork farmers saved $13,413,800 and dairy and beef farmers saved $5,103,940. Those savings help strengthen animal agriculture in Illinois. Glycerin, a by-product of biodiesel manufacturing, goes back into farmers’ feed troughs as an additional energy source, creating a full circle.

Soybeans link the biodiesel and animal ag industries to fuel profitability.

“It’s important for pork, poultry and other livestock farmers to understand the connection between biodiesel and increased profitability,” says Winter. “Soybean and animal farmers may wear different hats, but we all benefit from biodiesel.”

Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) is a membership organization serving more than 43,000 Illinois soybean growers.  ISG provides advocacy in Springfield and Washington, D.C., to promote the interests of Illinois soybean farmers and programs that enhance soybean production and demand. Voice for Soy, the online action center supported by ISG, allows growers to easily connect with legislators and regulators to advocate for Illinois agriculture. For more information about ISG, visit the website www.ilsoygrowers.com.

For more information, contact:
Amy Roady

Laura Temple