URBANDALE, Iowa - Iowa legislators recently passed a bill that may help farmers statewide through the use of soy biodiesel by state vehicles.

The bill, signed into law by Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack on April 19, requires the establishment of a biodiesel purchase fund that can only be used to buy soy biodiesel for Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) vehicles.

"The Iowa Soybean Association is thrilled to have this bill approved and see support for this non-toxic, clean-burning renewable fuel derived from soybean oil," says John Askew of Glenwood, president of the Iowa Soybean Association. "Iowa is the leading soybean-producing state and it is appropriate that the state support a product grown by Iowa's soybean farmers."

Depending how the IDOT utilizes the fund, potential usage could be as high as 180,000 gallons, which could potentially equate to the use of approximately 120,000 bushels of soybeans.

In a bill passed last year, the IDOT successfully tested soy biodiesel at two of their fleet locations, "We are eager for the IDOT to increase the use of this product in their fleet," Askew says.

In addition to being the top state soybean producer, Iowa is also home to two major soy biodiesel plants, the Ag Processing Inc (AGP) facility in Sergeant Bluff and West Central Cooperative's plant in Ralston.

Besides Iowa, biodiesel legislative initiatives are being considered in Minnesota, North Dakota, Arizona and Delaware.

From left to right are: John Hoffman of Waterloo, ISA President Elect; John P. Askew, Jr. of Glenwood; John Askew of Glenwood, ISA President; Rep. Henry Rayhons; Governor Thomas Vilsack; Lieutenant Governor Sally J. Pederson and Sen. Mike Sexton.

For more information visit the Iowa Soybean Association's Web site at

www.iasoybeans.com/