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Before biodiesel was coolBefore biodiesel was cool

The Center for Soy Innovation in Jefferson City, Mo., will use the renewable fuel to heat a portion of its building.

Mindy Ward

March 18, 2020

1 Min Read
Gary Wheeler, Missouri Soybean Association CEO
SOY POWER: Gary Wheeler, Missouri Soybean Association CEO, is excited that biodiesel will heat a portion of the new Center for Soy Innovation in Jefferson City, Mo.Mindy Ward

It’s been almost 30 years since the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council became the first group to invest checkoff dollars into biodiesel research. Today, the state is a national leader, ranking fourth in biodiesel production capacity and second in overall production.

Biodiesel provides a 15% price support for commodity soybeans. A 2015 University of Missouri report shows the value of soybean oil increases about $75 per acre when it is processed into biodiesel. Missouri is home to eight biodiesel plants that produce about 200 million gallons of the renewable fuel per year. This fuel is not only used to power vehicles, but also heat homes and businesses.

This year, the new Center for Soy Innovation in Jefferson City, Mo., will put biodiesel to work by heating a portion of the building using a biofuel oil furnace. Missouri Soybean Association CEO Gary Wheeler takes us inside the center for a peek at the utility room to explain the process.


About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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