REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. – Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration announced Thursday that it will raise biodiesel standards to a 20 percent blend by next summer.
The Pioneer Press reports that Minnesota has long been a leader in biodiesel standards, dating back to 2005 when the state mandated that all diesel fuel contain at least two percent biodiesel.
Dayton was expected to make the announcement himself at Farmfest, but his scheduled appearance was canceled due to a reported illness, reports the Post Bulletin. A number of state commissioners appearing at Farmfest made the announcement in his place.
The biodiesel industry currently adds roughly 63 cents to the market rate of a bushel of soybeans, reports the Post Bulletin. Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson is hopeful that the doubling of the biodiesel blend mandates will result in a similar doubling of the industry’s addition to the cost of soybeans.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to give farmers an opportunity to see more income in their pocket, which they definitely need today,” Frederickson said, according to the Post Bulletin.
The biodiesel industry in Minnesota contributes roughly $1.7 billion to the state’s economy currently, reports the Star Tribune. Albert Lea, Brewster, and Isanti house the three biodiesel plants in the state, with a total output of about 74 million gallons of biodiesel each year.
While the farmers may be happy, diesel producers and truckers might not be so willing, or even able, to adapt to the change. The Pioneer Press reports that production companies have told state officials they do not have the infrastructure in place to support to switch over to a 20 percent biodiesel blend.
The 20 percent biodiesel blend is too unreliable in cold weather, as is the state’s current standard of a 10 percent blend, reports the Post Bulletin. As such, the five percent blend will remain as the only available option in Minnesota from October through March, while starting in 2019, the 20 percent blend will replace the 10 percent blend as available from April through September.