MANKATO — A lot has changed in Washington, D.C., in the two years since Minnesota farmer Chris Hill visited the nation’s capital.
“It’s a different world out here, I’ll tell you that much,” Hill said.
Hill joined fellow National Biodiesel Board (NBB) leaders last week for its first board meeting in D.C. since 2019. The group also scheduled advocacy meetings with elected officials and legislative leaders. As a sign of the times, though, some legislators welcomed face-to-face visits, while others preferred a virtual chat.
“The good thing is, when the senators and representatives are back home, they’re receptive to reaching out and talking to us in person,” said Hill, who has represented Jackson County on the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Board since 2002.
Hill’s trip was highlighted by his election to NBB’s Governing Board. Worthington farmer Bill Gordon, chairman of the American Soybean Association, will serve as an alternate.
Hill, who leads the American Soybean Association's New Uses Action Team, said he was elated to be chosen by his peers after being selected as an alternate on the governing board in previous years. He will serve a two-year term and represents the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council on NBB.
“Just like anything you do in life, persistence paid off,” he said. “And that’s the message we’ve got to have as an industry, too.”
During visits with legislators, farmer-leaders advocated for extending the Biodiesel Tax Credit as part of the Build Back Better Act, growing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and opportunities for higher blends of biodiesel included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that President Biden signed into law earlier this month.
“There’s a lot of stuff on the table that we’ve got to get moving on,” Hill said. “Our industry is growing nicely, and we’d like to see the RFS reflect that.”
Mike Youngerberg, Minnesota Soybean’s senior director of product development and commercialization, also attended the board meeting.
In January, NBB will host its National Biodiesel Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, where it will celebrate its 30th anniversary and formally rebrand as Clean Fuels Alliance America.
Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel and renewable diesel are better, cleaner fuels that are available now for use in existing diesel engines without modification.
NBB is the U.S. trade association representing the entire biodiesel and renewable diesel value chain, including producers, feedstock suppliers and fuel distributors.