SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI - In an effort to convey the urgent need for Congress to extend the biodiesel tax incentive, American Soybean Association (ASA) farmer-leaders are participating in a biodiesel fly-in to meet with Members of Congress in Washington, D.C.  The 111th Congress is rapidly drawing to a close and the decision whether or not to extend expired tax provisions in the lame duck session will be made in the coming weeks.

Participating from ASA are grower-leaders: Executive Committee member Joe Steiner from Mason, Ohio; Board member Bob Henry from Robinson, Kan.; and ASA representative to the National Biodiesel Board Darryl Brinkmann from Carlyle, Ill. These ASA leaders will join with farmers from state soybean associations, biodiesel producers and others in the biodiesel industry to push for passage of legislation to extend the biodiesel tax incentive during the lame duck session.

"Extension and renewal of the biodiesel tax credit are critical to the economic viability of the industry," Steiner said. "Expiration of the biodiesel tax incentive on Dec. 31, 2009, has resulted in lost production and jobs. This situation is likely to worsen if the credit is not reinstated."

In 2009, the U.S. biodiesel industry produced 545 million gallons of biodiesel. Based on August and September production levels, 2010 production is expected to be approximately 345 million gallons, a decline of over 35 percent from the previous year.

Many of the biodiesel plants in the U.S. are at various states of idle or are producing at a fraction of their overall capacity. The inability of Congress to reinstate the biodiesel tax credit has resulted in job losses and lost opportunity to increase our production of domestic, renewable biodiesel.

"Biodiesel has the best energy balance and the best greenhouse gas reduction of any fuel that is currently in the commercial marketplace, and is the only advanced biofuel that has reached commercialization in the U.S.," Henry said. "Biodiesel is a homegrown renewable fuel and an excellent way for America’s soybean growers to boost U.S. energy security, promote economic development and improve the environment."

To press the issue with Members of Congress, ASA has issued a nationwide Action Alert to its members and supporters asking them to contact their elected officials and let them know how important extension of the biodiesel tax credit is to farmers and rural communities.

ASA represents all U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international issues of importance to the soybean industry. ASA’s advocacy efforts are made possible through the voluntary membership in ASA by over 22,500 farmers in 31 states where soybeans are grown.

SOURCE: American Soybean Board