On Thursday at Farmfest, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) was pleased to hear Governor Pawlenty unveil a schedule for taking the state’s biodiesel requirement from B2 to B20 over the next eight years.

"Minnesota has led the nation in unleashing a renewable energy revolution," Governor Pawlenty said. "Other states are starting to catch on and it's time for us to continue to blaze the trail to a cleaner, more secure energy future. Increasing the level of biodiesel in diesel fuel means that more of our energy will come from farm fields rather than oil fields, and that's a good thing."

Biodiesel was originally added to Minnesota diesel fuel supplies at the 2 percent level in September 2005.

“MSGA worked with the legislature in 2002 to pass the B2 mandate,” says Lance Peterson, President of MSGA. “The governor’s initiative shows bold leadership in the areas of renewable fuels and we support his plan.”

Governor Pawlenty’s biodiesel initiative, which he will present to the legislature during the regular 2008 legislative session, will increase the state’s biodiesel requirement to 5%by 2008, 10% by 2011, 15% by 2013 and ultimately 20% by 2015.

At the strong urging of Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) leadership, MSGA will work vigorously to ensure that only the highest quality, BQ 9000-certified biodiesel is distributed and sold in Minnesota and MSGA will very hard work to ensure aggressive enforcement of biodiesel quality standards,” says Peterson. “Governor Pawlenty personally pledged to ensure quality control and careful implementation.”

Ensuring quality control and careful implementation, the governor has asked his Biodiesel Task Force to develop further details of the proposal and present their recommendations to the NextGen Energy Board. Partners in that process will include members from the trucking industry, petroleum marketers, farm groups, the American Lung Association and others. Peterson will serve on the governor’s Biodiesel Task Force and Kristin Weeks-Duncanson, past MN American Soybean Association Director, will continue to chair the governor’s Biodiesel Task Force.

Biodiesel and ethanol production supports nearly 16,000 jobs in Minnesota and generates close to $4 billion in total economic activity statewide each year. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture reports that renewable fuels production has led to a 13% increase in demand for the state's soybean crop and 31% expansion of in-state soybean processing.

More information on the Governor Pawlenty's "B20 by 2015" plan can be found on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website at www.mda.state.mn.us.