The European Union’s renewable energy policy would lower U.S. soybean prices, according to a checkoff study, funded by the United Soybean Board. The study shows the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive, which currently excludes biodiesel made from U.S. soybean oil in renewable energy quotas, could decrease U.S. soybean prices by as much as 35 cents per bushel. If left unresolved the regulation could cost U.S. soybean farmers more than $1.1 billion a year.
The checkoff maintains that the EU’s policy unfairly singles out biodiesel made from U.S. soy. It requires all transportation fuels used there to include 10 percent renewable energy. To qualify as a renewable fuel – it must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 35 percent. While soy checkoff-funded research shows biodiesel made from U.S. soy reduces greenhouse gas emissions by between 39 percent for U.S. soybeans shipped to and crushed in Europe, and 49 percent for processed U.S. soy biodiesel shipped to Europe, the Europeans claim biodiesel made from U.S. soy only reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 31 percent.
The American Soybean Association is working with the U.S. government to reach an agreement with the EU to include biodiesel made from U.S. soy in the policy. The government is also issuing certificates for all soybean shipments verifying that they comply with U.S. conservation and laws and regulations.
“The EU is the second-largest market for U.S. soybeans, and that market is at risk due to this regulation,” says USB Immediate Past Chair Marc Curtis, a soybean farmer from Leland, Miss. “We can use this study to show allied organizations and the U.S. government how much of an impact this regulation would have on U.S. soybean farmers. It will also give the U.S. government facts to demonstrate to the European Commission that the regulation needs to be based on sound science.”