Six weeks remain until Minnesota’s new B20 mandate kicks-in on May 1.
House Representative Clark Johnson (D-North Mankato) says all evidence points to the state being ready to go ahead with the change.
“For farmers it means a higher price for soybeans and for all of us it means cleaner air. So, this is a win-win situation for Minnesota,” said Johnson. “There remain rumblings that they may attack and you can imagine again that the petroleum industry has some questions about biodiesel, because they’re competitors.”
Minnesota has three biodiesel plants with the combined production capacity of approximately 63-million gallons.
“Essentially a market is being created by the mandate. So, if there’s not capacity to meet that mandate, I think the market will respond well to that.”
Southern Minnesota is home to two of the Biodiesel plants, REG in Albert Lea and Minnesota Soybean Processors in Brewster. Both sites have the capacity to produce 30-million gallons of biodiesel.
Johnson said he had the opportunity to tour the plant in Brewster and said what struck him was the economic development side.
“The jobs there are really good jobs. They are kind of science type jobs. I’m not so sure those folks would stay in Brewster if they didn’t have access to those jobs. We’re always looking for good jobs in rural Minnesota and when they’re tied to agriculture like that, they’re especially valuable. I think it’s an excellent economic development tool for the communities where the processing plants are.”
The B20 mandate replaces the B10 mandate that went into effect in July of 2014. The implementation of B10 was originally delayed due to inadequate blending infrastructure in the southwestern portion of Minnesota and inadequate regulatory protocol.
B20 will only be effective during the summer months, April through September. The mandate reverts back to five percent during the winter.