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Biodiesel powers Husker athleticsBiodiesel powers Husker athletics

A new partnership promotes the use of biodiesel to move University of Nebraska student-athletes down the road.

Curt Arens

October 23, 2023

3 Min Read
Nebraska team buses
POWERING THE HUSKERS: Three big red Husker athletic team buses, such as this one parked in front of UNL’s Memorial Stadium, are powered this fall by biodiesel, transporting student-athletes to venues across the country. Photo courtesy of Arrow Stage Lines

At a Glance

  • A new partnership brings biodiesel-powered team buses to Husker athletics.
  • Three Husker team buses promote biodiesel.
  • Promoting biodiesel boosts the bottom line for soybean producers.

A unique partnership between University of Nebraska Husker athletics, Arrow Stage Lines and the Nebraska Soybean Board is promoting the benefits of biodiesel.

If you’ve recently attended a Husker football game or another UNL athletic event, you may have noticed the big red team buses emblazoned with the motto, “Team Bus Powered by Biodiesel.” The idea is to bring exposure to sustainable biodiesel by powering the Husker transportation fleet, including three team Arrow Stage Line buses.

Unique partnership

“Every once in a while, a unique partnership develops between two very different entities that meet both their interests while showcasing the core of who we are in Nebraska,” says Anne Meis, who raises soybeans, corn, alfalfa and beef cattle with her husband, Jim, with his family near Elgin, Neb. “Such is the case when Nebraska soybean farmers through their checkoff captured the opportunity to transport Nebraska athletes with biodiesel made with soy oil.”

Meis, who has served on the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) for eight years and currently serves as secretary, notes that Husker athletics is a key place where the message of soybean farmers about the environmental and economic benefits of biodiesel can reach many Nebraskans and raise the profile of biodiesel as a clean energy source.

“This partnership showcases Husker athletics, clean air and agriculture,” she says. “I would say you can’t get much more ‘Nebraska’ than that.”

The partnership promotion helps UNL work toward sustainability goals and Nebraska farmers gain economically by adding $1.78 per bushel in the marketplace by the demand for soy oil feedstocks into biodiesel, Meis says.

“Agriculture is the No. 1 industry in our state,” she adds. “This is a win-win for all of us in Nebraska.”

Locally grown

Andy Chvatal, executive director of NSB agrees. “Biodiesel not only promotes the use of locally grown feedstocks, but it also aligns perfectly with the sustainability goals of our university,” he says. “Utilizing biodiesel for Husker athletics will be a significant step in reducing emissions and highlights a great value-added product for soybean farmers to folks across the state.”

B20 and lower-level blends can be used in many diesel vehicles without any engine modifications, so beyond reducing emissions and fostering job growth, Chvatal notes that the transformation of soybean oil feedstocks into biodiesel plays a crucial role in Nebraska’s resilient ag sector.

And, according to Arrow Stage Lines, not only Husker athletics team buses, but also every Arrow Stage Lines bus operating in Nebraska will now be powered by biodiesel. The company cites performance in fuel economy, eco-friendliness of the fuel, lowered reliance on foreign oil sources, sustainability in reducing particulate matter and finally, and an economic boost to soybean farmers as reasons for the move.

“Nebraska agriculture has so much potential to meet the demands for green energy sources by producing renewable fuels from the crops grown here in our state,” Meis says. “There are two new soy crush facilities being built in our state in Norfolk and David City to help meet the demands for feedstocks for biodiesel and renewable diesel. Not only will soybean farmers benefit, but these new crush plants also have the potential to lower the price of soybean meal for livestock producers.”

“We are thankful for the long-standing partnership with NSB,” says Brandon Meier, senior associate athletic director of marketing and multimedia at the Nebraska Athletic Department. “Agriculture is the foundation of our state, and we are proud to have Nebraska soybeans powering our new team buses. The new bus wraps look great, and this wouldn’t have been possible without the ongoing support from NSB.”

Learn more at nebraskasoybeans.org and biodieselne.com.

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About the Author(s)

Curt Arens

Editor, Nebraska Farmer

Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.

His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.

Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.

Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.

He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.

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