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Kimberley represents soybean growers at CARB sustainability workshop

Jun 01, 2012
For the first time, an Iowa farmer was invited recently to make a presentation to the California Air Resources Board


Date: May 31, 2012
Contact: Aaron Putze
Communications Director
1 800-383-1423

ANKENY, Iowa – For the first time, an Iowa farmer was invited recently to make a presentation to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the group working on enforcement of that state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). Grant Kimberley, who farms with his father, Rick, at Maxwell, Iowa, in addition to being the Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA’s) director of market development, talked to the board about modern soybean production and the conservation techniques that make it ever more sustainable.

Ultimately, that information and continued dialogue may impact how CARB rules on whether soy-based biodiesel meets sustainability criteria related to LCFS.

The LCFS program, implemented in 2010, requires producers and importers of motor fuel to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their products by 10 percent by the year 2020. The program phases in slowly over a decade with the 2011 mandatory carbon intensity reduction being .5 percent.

CARB’s May 17 meeting to discuss the development of sustainability criteria followed a recent court decision overturning an earlier injunction that had blocked CARB’s enforcement of the LCFS.

Accompanying Kimberley at the LCFS Sustainability Workgroup meeting in Sacramento were National Biodiesel Board (NBB) staff members Shelby Neal, Don Scott and Tom Verry.

Kimberley says his goal was to educate CARB staff and workgroup members about soybean production practices and supply chain logistics.

He reports that his presentation was followed by good discussion as CARB staff members sought information to better understand the scope, scale and narrow margin environment of Midwestern commodity agriculture.

“They want to know farmers are growing feedstocks sustainably and that land is managed in a way that promotes and protects ‘biodiversity,’” Kimberley says. “CARB is considering a mandatory certification scheme for soy production, but hopefully we were able to help them understand that going all the way back to soy farmers would not be feasible – or necessary in the United States.”

Kimberley says proposed criteria include not only biodiversity, but protection for clean water, clean air, and social aspects including labor rights and safety.

“These also appear to be concerns of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a national environmental action group which has influence in California,” Kimberley says. “Presenting information about soybean production practices to San Francisco-based NRDC staff was a great opportunity for us. They were very interested in what we had to say, and I hope we can continue the dialogue with them and demonstrate that soybean farmers already meet the model of sustainability they envision.”

Kimberley notes that California is a very large potential market and other states are watching.

“Our work with NBB is very important for the future demand of soybean oil-based biodiesel,” he says.

Shelby Neal, NBB director of state governmental affairs says, “The CARB staff has been great to work with over the past few years. CARB continues to take a solutions-oriented approach to things and continues to demonstrate an interest in learning more about agriculture. Inviting Grant to come to Sacramento for a lengthy presentation and Q-and-A session was another example of this.”

Ultimately, Neal adds, “I believe CARB will come to understand that U.S. soybean production sets the standard for environmental and social sustainability, paving the way for a workable sustainability regulation and more soy biodiesel in California.”

The Iowa Soybean Association develops policies and programs that help farmers expand profit opportunities while promoting environmentally sensitive production using the soybean checkoff and other resources. The Association is made up of 10,000 farmer members and is governed by an elected volunteer board of 21 farmers.

Funded by the soybean checkoff.