Driven in part by a soybean checkoff initiative to increase demand, soy biodiesel represents the fastest growing renewable fuel in America. In response to more farmer and rancher requests for soy biodiesel, Cenex Harvest States (CHS), a diversified energy, grains and foods company, became the first U.S. company to offer preblended soy biodiesel at petroleum loading racks. Farmer-leaders from the United Soybean Board (USB), Kansas Soybean Commission (KSC) and National Biodiesel Board (NBB) joined CHS representatives in McPherson, Kan. to announce the advancement in infrastructure and view a demonstration of the new soy biodiesel blending and loading system. Offering preblended soy biodiesel at petroleum loading racks significantly streamlines the distribution process, making soy biodiesel more readily available.

"Soybean checkoff surveys show biodiesel use among soybean farmers has nearly reached or has exceeded 50 percent in some states," says USB Vice Chairman Greg Anderson. "This fact, along with the introduction of CHS' new preblended biodiesel distribution system, shows soybean checkoff-funded efforts to increase use of soy biodiesel continue to yield positive results."

According to a recent soybean checkoff-funded survey of soybean producers, eight in 10 farmers who do not use soy biodiesel cited availability as the problem. In the coming weeks, CHS plans to open additional preblended biodiesel fuel systems in Council Bluffs, Iowa and McFarland, Wis.

"In the past, fuel distributors had to obtain biodiesel components - pure biodiesel (B100) and petroleum diesel fuel - from separate terminals, and then blend the fuel themselves," explains Mark Fenner, CHS Region Sales Manager. "This new innovative system further integrates biodiesel into the existing petroleum infrastructure that distributors have relied on for years. Now a distributor can pull up to this terminal and fill up with pre-blended fuel."

CHS will market the biodiesel products under the Cenex brand as an extension of their Ruby Fieldmaster Premium Diesel Fuel. The new system will provide a B2 blend (2 percent soy biodiesel and 98% petroleum diesel) of biodiesel to Cenex brand fuel distributors. "It offers a greater level of quality assurance and makes it much more efficient for fuel distributors to purchase the fuel," says Fenner. CHS encourages farmers to visit www.cenex.com to find a nearby Cenex brand fuel distributor.

The soybean checkoff's Biobased Products Initiative encourages U.S. soybean farmers and ranchers to ask fuel suppliers for B2, and to purchase and use B2 in their operations. The initiative also aims to increase demand of other soy-based products, many also developed through soybean checkoff investments.

"Thanks to soybean checkoff efforts to promote soy biodiesel, we've noticed a dramatic increase in the number of farmers who are asking for soy biodiesel fuel," says Fenner. "This is one of the main reasons we invested in the preblended fuel distribution technology."

Anderson, who farms near Newman Grove, Neb., has used soy biodiesel on his farm for several years. "Soy biodiesel use among farmers is growing, but still, only slightly more than a third of all soybean farmers nationwide indicate they use the fuel on their farms," he says. "The commitment by CHS demonstrates that fuel suppliers will respond when farmers ask for and use soy biodiesel."

Harold Kraus, who represents the KSC on the biodiesel board, uses soy biodiesel too. Kraus farms near Hays, Kan. "If every farmer and rancher in the United States used at least B2 soy biodiesel on their farm, it could use the soybean oil from over 50 million bushels of soybeans each year."

The soybean checkoff funds most of the biodiesel research and promotion activities implemented by NBB. To learn more about biodiesel, visit the NBB Web site at www.biodiesel.org.