Iowa native and farmer Chris Soules rose to fame as The Bachelor and his participation in Dancing With The Stars. He has since used his status to spread positive messages about biofuels including ethanol. I spoke with Chris recently to learn why biofuels are so important to him and why he has leveraged his notoriety in partnerships with several ag and biofuel organizations to be a national face and voice for agribusiness.
Q: Was one of the reasons you went on The Bachelor to create a platform to talk about agriculture to consumers?
A: I went on the show to hopefully meet someone. However, since then I’ve realized that I have interesting, positive experiences, in particular about being a farmer, that I want to share. I’m thankful that I have been able to work with organizations such as Growth Energy who have given me the opportunity to share my stories about how farmers work every day to provide food and fuel to consumers across the country.
Q: Of all of the issues you can champion, why biofuels?
A: Biofuels are an important way to help America diversify its fuel choices and move away from foreign oil. It’s also a clean burning fuel as compared to gas, so not only is it a good economic choice, but the consumer is also helping the environment at the same time.
Q: Do you use biofuels (biodiesel or ethanol) on your family farm? Do you grow crops for biofuels?
A: Yes, on our farm we use both ethanol and biodiesel. We also grow the crops, corn and soybeans, that are used to produce the biofuels.
Q: How will your farm be affected if the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) doesn’t continue to ramp up?
A: My family began to lose demand for our products resulting in lower prices. It would also end up costing jobs in rural areas. When biofuels were identified as a way to diversify our fuel supply and bring jobs back to rural America, demand for our product rose. So if the RFS doesn’t move forward, demand will drop again hurting not only our family’s livelihood and family farms across the country, but millions in the Midwest who rely on ag-based jobs and a thriving ag community.
*Note, while final volumes for renewable fuels under the RFS were increased for 2014, 2015 and 2016 at the end of last year, they are still not at mandated levels leaving the RFS in jeopardy.
Q: Do you plan on continuing your public awareness efforts around biofuels in 2016?
A: Yes. Biofuels are very important to me and my family, and the nation’s energy security. That is why I am proud to help raise awareness of the importance of biofuels and the RFS.