Biodiesel Benefits Animal Agriculture, Too

American Soybean Association farmer-leader Rob Shaffer and the National Biodiesel Board’s senior feedstock advisor Alan Weber were featured on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s program Cattlemen to Cattlemen recently.
By The National Biodiesel Board | December 29, 2018

Biodiesel is good for livestock, too. American Soybean Association farmer-leader Rob Shaffer and the National Biodiesel Board’s senior feedstock advisor Alan Weber were featured on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s program Cattlemen to Cattlemen recently. The two discussed biodiesel’s positive effect on livestock by increasing the value of animal fat and decreasing soymeal costs for livestock producers. As both a soybean farmer and beef producer, Shaffer provided his perspective on how a growing biodiesel market positively impacts the beef industry.

“Everybody is trying to increase their profits, lower their risks, and also lower their costs, and one way to do that is through biodiesel,” Shaffer said.

Biodiesel is made from a diverse mix of feedstocks including recycled cooking oil, soybean oil, and one that is commonly forgotten—animal fats. It is estimated that 13 percent of biodiesel in the U.S. is made from animal fats.

“Animal fats and livestock producers are really important to the biodiesel industry,” Weber said. “Last year about 1.8 billion pounds of animal fats were used to produce biomass-based diesel in the U.S.”

By creating a new market for soybean oil, biodiesel has increased availability of protein-rich meal more cost-effectively. Demand for biodiesel increases the demand for soybean oil, boosting the value of soybeans and reducing the price of soybean meal fed to poultry and livestock. As more soybean oil is processed for biodiesel production, more soybean meal is available for animal feed.

“The question is, who gets the benefits?” Weber asked. “We found price impacts were spread throughout the supply chain. For example, in my home state of Missouri, a commercial cow-calf operator could see a value of $20 every time he took a steer or heifer to the sale barn.”

Biodiesel decreases soy protein meal prices by $21 per ton. “The beef industry alone probably paid $40 million less for feed last year because of biodiesel,” Weber said.

When asked for final thoughts to share with his fellow producers, Shaffer stated, “Biodiesel helps their bottom line, creates U.S. jobs, helps taxes … it’s a win-win for the cattle industry and soybean producers.”

To have NBB representatives on Cattlemen to Cattlemen provided an excellent opportunity to share biodiesel’s benefits to a large agriculture and livestock audience and highlight NBB’s successful efforts to strengthen relationships with key stakeholder groups in the animal agriculture industry.

To see the interview with Shaffer and Weber, please visit NBB’s YouTube channel.

 
 
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