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Benefits of biofuels touted

A biofuels forum is shown at the recent Farm Progress Show in Decatur / CIFN photo.

MINONK – While questions linger over electric vehicles, many recognize that ethanol and biodiesel are a big part of liquid fuels.

“There are questions about the life cycle analysis and having a level playing field,” said Bill Leigh, past president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, following a biofuel forum at the Farm Progress Show.

More people are becoming aware of what ethanol can bring to the consumer and the importance of it. A big issue now is the Next Generation Fuels Act which has been introduced in Congress. This would bring a new generation of auto engines that would utilize the higher octane ethanol provides. It would also help with greenhouse gas emissions and help consumers too.

“If it works right and we know these engines exist and what they can do, we could see a large increase in the amount of ethanol required – as much as 6 or 7 billion more gallons,” Leigh explained.

As our corn yields keep going up, Leigh feels we need to find a home for all of that corn.

The recent biofuels forum featured six members of Congress: two from Iowa, three from Illinois and one from Indiana. They are all involved with the biofuels caucus in Washington D.C.

“They were covering the ‘I’ states I guess you could say,” noted Leigh.

Leigh currently serves on the ICGA board but was president when COVID came along. There were good things happening when COVID hit such as USMCA then everyone had to learn about Zoom calls while contact with Springfield and Washington D.C. dropped off.

The Illinois Corn staff is credited with getting things connected again and markets have picked up in the past year.

“It was a fun experience,” Leigh said of his time as ICGA president.

Leigh raises corn and soybeans in Marshall County with his brother and nephew. He considers farming a great occupation which he enjoys. Leigh’s crops look good as he missed some of the really big rain events this year.

Rainfall amounts dropped off considerably late in the summer but he is still mowing the grass.

“If you can mow the yard in August, things are probably pretty good,” Leigh said.

Some of Leigh’s corn has been pushed over but he thinks he will be able to get it up with the combine. He is looking to begin harvest in late September.

“I’m sure by the first of October, we’ll be running hard.”


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