Differentiation can be a powerful tool to survive economic downturn. Farmers planting high oleic soybeans have a new customer to which they can market their product.

Biosynthetic Technologies, a renewable chemical manufacturer of Irvine, Calif., will use soybean checkoff dollars combined with government funding to build a facility to make motor oil from high oleic soybean oil. The $100 million load pledge will help the manufacturer build their first facility capable of generating 20 million gallons of soy-based motor oil annually.

The U.S. Soybean Board estimated farmers could have up to one billion pounds of high oleic soybean oil used for industrial uses in the next five years. 

The soy-based motor oil is expected to be comparably priced and perform on par with petroleum motor oil. The soy-based product meets Environmental Protection Agency requirements for biodegradability, aquatic toxicity and buildup. You can anticipate purchasing the soy-based motor oil in about three years.

American Petroleum Institute (API) has to verify biosynthetic motor oil passes standards for motor oil use. Soybean checkoff worked with Biosynthetic Technologies to gain certification from API.

The first growers to benefit from this newly expanded market? Farmers in Nebraska, who will be able to sell these high oleic soybeans for a premium as early as this year. Ag Processing (AGP) will be accepting the soybeans at their Hastings, Neb., location this fall and will contract with farmers selling the product.