Biodiesel and Soybeans: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Biodiesel’s history with soybean oil goes back to the very beginning of the biodiesel industry. Today, biodiesel is the second largest user of soybean oil in the United States and its demand for soybean oil grew 300 percent in the last decade. Yet,
biodiesel is still using “what’s left” when it comes to soybean oil.
A glut of soybean oil in the 90’s led soybean farmers to look for alternative uses for soybean oil, which makes up close to 20% of the crop. Soybeans, consisting of both meal and oil, are primarily grown for the meal’s use in livestock feed.
Excess oil created a drag on soybean prices for farmers and cause meal customers to carry more than their share of the value.
Biodiesel’s demand positively impacted the price of soybeans. In fact, today it accounts for an extra 13% in soybean farmers’ pockets. In addition, biodiesel has positively impacted the price of soybean meal for U.S. soy’s biggest customers:
the poultry and livestock industries.
Today, carbon policies at the state level continue to drive biodiesel demand. In fact, the industry will see demand for biodiesel grow by the billions of gallons. With soybean oil still leading the way for biodiesel feedstocks, soybean farmers will benefit
from this growth, as well.