Commentary: John R. Block Reports from Washington

January 24, 2022

“Soybeans and Pigs”

Hello, everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

And now today’s commentary-

There is a powerful push all around the world to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas is driving climate change. That’s what they tell us. Soybean growers are positioned to cash in on this new opportunity. The American Soybean Association had this to say: “Renewable diesel is a cousin of biodiesel, but the two fuels are not the same. Renewable diesel is produced by processing fats and vegetable oils. Renewable diesel will dramatically reduce airplane emissions.”

President Biden has a goal to produce and use billions of gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to drop aviation emissions 20% by 2030. We are planting about 80 million acres of soybeans per year now. I am looking at a Farm Journal chart predicting 130 million acres of soybeans by 2024 to satisfy growing demand for vegetable oil. The Bioenergy Tech Office tells us – “Aviation is the cheapest opportunity for biofuels to have an impact.” Southwest Airlines, Delta, Jet Blue, United and more airlines are making long term commitments to bio-based fuels. Other oilseeds including sunflower and canola oil will see more demand also. According to James Fry, founder of LMC International “soybean oil is in the driver’s seat as the key feedstock to fuel renewable diesel.” As a corn and soybean farmer, this is very exciting.

I’m also a pig farmer, and now there is talk about how the heart of a pig could save a dying human being. Doctors transplanted a pig heart into a patient. Patient, David Bennett, 57, said: “It was either die or do this.” He did not qualify for a human heart transplant. Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center say the transplant showed that a heart from a genetically modified pig can function in the human body. So far so good. We shall see how it works. There are not enough human organs donated for transplant. So here come the pigs.

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