Soybean growers are pleased that Minnesota is the first state in the country to move to a 10 percent biodiesel blend (B10) in its diesel fuel supply.  Beginning July 1, diesel fuel sold in the state will contain a B10 blend during summer months.

The change will mean an additional demand of 20 million gallons of biodiesel each year on top of the current usage of 40 million gallons.  Minnesota required a 2 percent biodiesel blend beginning in 1995, and upped it to 5 percent year-round in 2009.

Biodiesel is made primarily from soybean oil, and it is blended with #2 diesel fuel.

The change to a 10 percent blend "sends a very important message that Minnesota remains a leader" in biodiesel, said Ed Hegland, an Appleton, Minn., farmer and member of the National Biodiesel Board.

The B10 blend will be available each year from April through September, after which supplies will revert to B5 for the winter months.

Biodiesel plants are operating in Isanti, Brewster and Albert Lea.  The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says the biodiesel industry supports more than 5,000 jobs in the state with an annual production worth $928 million.