Settling The ‘Food Vs Fuel’ Debate

One of the marvels of modern agriculture is that certain crops can be used for both food and fuel. But using a crop as a fuel source doesn’t mean we’re necessarily taking it out of the food supply. Mac Marshall, vice president of market intelligence at the United Soybean Board, says their industry has found value in using every part of the soybean, both for fuel and food. 

Marshall… “More oil being used in the energy space. But what do you need to do to produce more of that oil? Well, you need to crush more beans. When you crush more beans, you have more soybean meal. What is soybean meal used for? Well, in the U. S., 97 percent of it goes into animal agriculture. So, like, the average acre of soybeans in the United States, you can call it 50 bushels an acre. That was close to our yield last year. Um, that’s basically what the average has been over the last couple of years. 50 bushels, that’s 60 pounds a bushel. That’s 3, 000 pounds of soybeans. And, you know, once you crush that… You can produce enough soybean oil to create 50 gallons of renewable diesel fuel. You can still have oil left over to meet two people’s annual vegetable oil consumption in the United States. And you can produce enough meal to feed chickens, you know, literally hundreds of pounds of chicken meat. Which is, you know, again, multiple people’s annual consumption of chicken. That’s the power of that whole being coming together, using both major components of it, you know, the meal side and the oil side.”

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Originally shared by Ag Information Network, November 7, 2023.

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