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Missouri funds to support biofuel infrastructure

Missouri funds to support biofuel infrastructure

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The state of Missouri has launched a new program to increase biofuel distribution and use.

In September, the Missouri Agriculture and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) announced the Biofuel Infrastructure Incentive Program, which will award funds to fuel retailers, fuel distributors, terminal companies or fleet operations that dispense or store ethanol blends that are E15 or higher, or biodiesel blends that are B6 or higher.

MASBDA approved up to $2 million for the program, split half and half for biodiesel and ethanol projects. The money is for businesses that are constructing new or improving existing infrastructure for handling biofuels in Missouri. MASBDA is accepting applications until Oct. 29, and the projects receiving funds will be notified by Nov. 30.

The maximum amount given to any single entity is 50% of eligible costs of improvements, or $250,000, whichever is less.

Jill Wood, MASBDA executive director, says it is an investment in agriculture.

“An investment in expanding Missouri’s biofuel infrastructure is an investment in Missouri agriculture,” she says. “Biofuel production increases the demand for two of Missouri’s top commodities, corn and soybeans, and also benefits livestock producers in the form of soybean meal and dried distiller grains.”

Commodity groups spoke in support of the program. Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council chairman Kyle Durham, who farms near Norborne, says the biofuel industry is good for both farmers and consumers.

“Biodiesel is a Missouri-made, renewable fuel that supports Missouri soybean farmers and provides more options for fuel suppliers and fleets,” he says. “This program is an important step in our efforts to build new demand and access for biodiesel and growth for our economy here in the state.”

Missouri Corn Merchandising Council chairman Jay Schutte, who farms near Benton City, says biofuel has a number of benefits.

“Ethanol is a high octane, performance fuel that provides cleaner air, better fuel economy, cost savings at the pump and is ready and available today,” he says. “This program provides another great opportunity to increase options for drivers across the state while supporting Missouri farmers and rural communities.”

The funds can be used to help with the costs of fuel pumps and equipment, storage tanks and tank system components, among other biofuel infrastructure.

Earlier this year, MASBDA awarded almost $700,000 in funding to improve and expand biofuel infrastructure in the state.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Missouri’s six ethanol plants have a production capacity of 297 million gallons per year, and in 2019 the state ranked in the top third for ethanol consumption. Missouri has the third-largest biodiesel capacity in the nation, at 253 million gallons at the state’s eight biodiesel plants. Missouri also ranks in the top third nationally in biodiesel consumption.

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Ben Herrold is Missouri field editor, writing for Missouri Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.

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