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World Biofuels Symposium
November 13-15, 2005
Beijing, China

2nd Annual Canadian Renewable Fuels Summit
December 13-15, 2005
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Hosted by:
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February 5-8, 200
San Diego, California
National Biodiesel Board

11th Annual National Ethanol Conference: "Policy & Marketing"
February 20-22, 200
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Sponsored by:
Renewable Fuels Association

22nd Annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo
June 20-23, 200
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

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Posted on  

February 26, 2001

Corn, soy growers say time is right for biofuels

Soaring energy costs could hold a hidden opportunity for U.S. farmers by building support for alternative fuel sources such as corn-based ethanol or soy-based "bio-diesel," farm industry leaders said Sunday.

Given the combination of high oil prices and large U.S. grain surpluses, the timing is right for U.S. farmers to make energy issues their top priority, leaders of both the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the American Soybean Association (ASA) said at a joint news conference.

"The current energy crisis and plans for action this year by the (Bush) administration and Congress make it crucial that bio-diesel be included as a key component as part of a long-range national energy plan," said ASA President Tony Anderson, who listed bio-diesel promotion as his organization's top agenda item this year.

"The urgency of the current energy situation is enhanced in the agricultural sector by depressed commodity prices and farm income," he said.

While bio-diesel is already used in some government and mass transit fleets, the ASA would like to greatly expand its market.

Anderson said the association is working on a legislative proposal that would provide fuel excise tax exemptions for diesel fuel containing up to 2 percent soyoil content.

ASA leaders said that even a 1 percent inclusion rate in diesel fuel would eliminate a U.S. soyoil supply that currently weighs in at about 2 billion pounds, roughly three times the normal quantity.

"We're not finding a home for vegetable oil. We're swimming in this stuff," said Doug Magnus, chairman of the United Soybean Board. "That's what has led to the collapse of the soybean price... We've got to make a push for bio-diesel here in the United States, now."

Corn Growers President Lee Klein said he was confident that enlarging the role of alternative fuels such as ethanol would fit in well with U.S. President Bush's goal of reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Klein said he met with Bush a few weeks before his inauguration and asked him whether ethanol would be a part of the U.S. energy policy.

"He assured me that it would be," Klein said, "and we are not going to let him forget that. As we see some type of renewable bill go through Congress this year, we are going to make sure ethanol is a strong part of that."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said U.S. farmers produced 9.97 billion bushels of corn in 2000 - close to 1994's record output of 10.05 billion bushels - and at its annual outlook forum last week, the USDA projected a 9.68 billion-bushel harvest for this fall.

But Klein said his organization is anticipating a three-fold increase in ethanol demand in the next 10 years. And if realized, he said, "We don't think it's going to be very long (before) we could be looking at a 14-billion-bushel crop, instead of 10."


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