Grant Kimberley

The Overlap Of Two Hats - Grant Kimberley #292

Feb 25, 2020  | Ep292 | Podcast

Podcast

Grant Kimberley is the Iowa Soybean Association's Market Development Director and the Executive Director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. Both hats have to be worn on trips around the world telling the story of soybeans. As Kimberly describes much of what he does is about building relationships and telling the story of his industry. If you've heard this name before, just search Xi Jing Ping and Kimberley Farms to see how the two paths have intersected. Click here as Paul Yeager also asks about new trade markets and the challenges of the job in the current world of agriculture. 

 

Here is the full transcript: 

 

Paul Yeager  
Welcome aboard this edition of the M to M podcast. I'm Paul Yeager. This is a production of Iowa PBS and the Market to Market TV show. Thank you so very much for joining us. On the minds of us each and every week on the TV side of things is trade. We look at several aspects of trade. And one of the areas that has been getting a lot of attention has been soybeans, especially soybeans in China and China's desire to buy both soybeans and us pork. But what is happening How long before we see phase one implementation? Then we know that has already happened, but when will we see by that's a discussion we had with our guest today. Grant Kimberley of the Iowa Soybean Association. He wears two hats. He's in market development for the Iowa Soybean Association but he's also the executive director of the Iowa bio diesel board. biodiesel and renewable fuels has been a major topic in the United States when it comes to small refinery exemptions, the RFS and the EPA. We will get into both the topics of renewable fuels as well as market development and trade. When we talk with grant Kimberley will also discuss some of his trips. He does wear two hats, and he has a unique perspective of history when it comes to China. His family farm was the home of a visit by the Vice Premier of China when he was Vice Premier, he now is the premier. China will hear that story about how Xi Jing Ping came to the Kimberley family farm will also discuss how relationships translate when it comes to his current job and also how he is progressing in those areas of trying to find new markets for us. was the ladies as well as soybeans in general. So, sit back, hit play, enjoy this discussion with grant, Kimberley. And again, we always appreciate if you give us a five star review. share this with a friend like it, subscribe, do whatever you want with it. Just as long as you listen, enjoy.

When you answer the phone, how do you know which hat to answer the phone with? Because you've got so many that you were here?

Grant Kimberley  
Yeah, I don't know is the answer to that and usually I just, I'm ready to be flexible and I just a lot of times So the great thing is it does come through our receptionist first and so the usually they've already asked the question of who the person is and why they're calling so so when that happens that gives me a second or two before I pick up the phone and and to kind of know gather my thoughts to know you know which side of my brain I need to use. 

Paul Yeager  
Do you enjoy that part of the job?

Grant Kimberley  
Yeah, I do. I mean, I like that. I like the flexibility. I like the diversity doing different things, working as you know, working as part of the Iowa biodiesel industry and wearing that hat and then also working as part of the soybean industry and wearing the the farmer hat from our from our members. And of course, my family farms too. So that has pretty easy to wear. 

Paul Yeager  
All right. Well, since you open the door to the family, let's just get into that. Your farm your family farm, I believe I read your sixth generation to be involved with it. Is that right? When you think about all the visitors that have come to your farm, I know some people will write down take pictures log Have you ever has the family put together a book about all the visitors you've had?

Grant Kimberley  
We haven't put that together in that kind of capacity. But we have kept track of usually when we have delegations that come and give us gifts and so forth. We kept most of those kind of in a separate little file, so to speak, whether it's a delegation from a different country, maybe it's a business delegation. university or it's maybe government related. So we try to keep track of all those things. We haven't started the sign sign in book, I suppose we should. And that's probably a good idea. But we haven't done that yet. 

Paul Yeager  
We did that for my uncle, because he would get trade groups, and we'd have them put a pin, you've got a globe, a world map of your computer here. So you could do the pen and i and i think if you had that book, because you never know, someone who visits in the 70s, or 80s is going to be the premier of China.

Grant Kimberley  
Yeah, that's a good point. Yeah. Who would have thought? How did you know? I mean, so how does that that you go the, you know, the president Xi had visited, and then do you track some of these people and know they're progressing through government and before you know what they're going to be in? No, you don't and I think, you know, everybody's just busy with taking care of things one day at a time. And so yeah, most of the time, you don't track that kind of thing. And, you know, even I think Governor Branstad didn't track that either until, you know, all of a sudden the story goes, he was Uh, I think an international Governor's conference and president vice president, she at the time was there and walked up to him and handed him his, his his agenda, I think from that 1985 trip that he kept. And I think even at that at that moment, Governor Branstad, I think had to stop and think for a second when it went in where this all happened, but then I think it quickly came back to him of course, and then the rest is history and, and he got invited to come back to Iowa and one he did in 2012. And we were one of the fortunate people got a chance to be a part of that pretty cool visit as well.

Paul Yeager  
There's a picture of you sitting in I assume it's the living room of the house of the homeplace there. The governor's there your father's there. She is there and some other Chinese delegation is that the most famous, Secretary Vilsack was it Yeah, that's right. He was there too. Was that is that the most famous photo to come out of the Kimberley fire?

Grant Kimberley  
I suppose it is. Yeah. to the living room. Yeah. Besides that, of course. Our family photos are always important.

Paul Yeager  
That's what you're supposed to say about those.

Grant Kimberley  
They are always important. Those are always important. But yeah, as far as a publicly famous thing, I guess that one. I don't know how you top it because it got published in a lot of Chinese news, news outlets, and you know, they've got 1.3 or 4 billion people over there. So even if the entire US population saw something, it wouldn't, it wouldn't come close.

Paul Yeager  
How active Are you in the operation? What's the I mean, do you get to get out of here in October? Oh,

Grant Kimberley  
yeah, we we spent my dad and I are in contact, you know, usually on a daily basis and, and I'm out there a lot of times on weekends and evenings, maybe not so much this time of the year, the slower time of the year, but you know, we don't have livestock anymore. We did have livestock growing up and all through college, but we've kind of phased out of that part of it. But yeah, I'm out there weekends, evenings most of the time and then yeah, when it comes spring, the crunch time in the springtime in the in the fall time. I'll take a lot of my vacation days and use a lot of them out on the farm and we're the busiest and my wife always jokes and and says make sure you save a few vacation days for real vacation.

Paul Yeager  
What are you talking about isn't driving them vacation when you and your window here that looks where the weather usually comes from? That's how you know Oh great, I better take a vacation day because I don't see any rain system on the horizon.

Grant Kimberley  
Yeah, I'm always checking the weather Of course and trying to plan my schedule is that time of the year and and and yeah, where I sit here in my office I can see the the western sky coming a little bit and our farms about you know, 20 or so miles northeast of here and so usually my dad's calling me first and saying what's it doing in a county because it because it usually hits about a half hour before it hits over there. So you know, I'm always the the first the first line of defense, I guess

Paul Yeager  
you tell him it's raining now so he's got 30 minutes before he better finish that field of spray. He just better shut it off that Yeah, what's coming?

Grant Kimberley  
Yeah, here it's coming and I know look at the radar of course is diving South it'll miss you or scars moving north it's gonna hit you moving moving north it's gonna hit you so

Paul Yeager  
the relationship there and and the visitors that come to the farm that probably set you up for what your job is I mean we we think about agriculture about relationship. I'm not saying it's a sales job but market expansion is about developing relationships. Where did you pick up that part of the skill set? Oh,

Grant Kimberley  
excuse me, I think a lot of it just has to do with you just learn as you go and you know, growing up on a farm, all this comes second nature to me it's very personal to me as well and went to college. You know, sports is always a big part of our lives. So you're involved in sports and you get used to dealing with people and working as a team when you're doing that and then you know, I went to the account my agriculture business great Northwest Missouri. State and came back home and worked for Monsanto for a little bit but then just decided I wanted to be a little bit closer to the farm and you know how that goes when you work for big company, you're going to be moved around a lot. And then opportunity came up here and Iowa Soybean Association I've always been interested in the political side of, of agriculture and, and the International side of it as well. So it's just a perfect fit. And I've had a lot of great experiences here. Kirk Leeds our CEO has been great mentor and a great person to, to learn from and work work for and, and he's given me lots of opportunities. So I've gotten to see different parts of the industry. Here it is a and then you just learn to deal with. It's about relationships and about people. That's what every business is really about. And agriculture is no different than international agriculture is no different than that. You know, it's about customer relationships and building that level of trust, especially for buyers. In the Asian market. They really value having those personal relationships

Paul Yeager  
is the opening line. Always Tell me about your operation.

Grant Kimberley  
You know a lot of times we talk about the the agriculture here in the state every all the foreign buyers that come through are always interested in, you know what's going on in Iowa because I was well known around the world as being the the center of the heartland of the United States and the bread bread basket area. So a lot of them want to know what's going on here at the state level, and then it does end up coming back down to a local level. We take our board members or former leaders with us and they usually always give a presentation on their farm the history of it, we talked about the generational aspect of it. We talked about, you know, some of the long term pieces of our farms and our families, but then we talk about the, you know, what's going on today, and what what's important to us today and how we grow our crops and how we transport them and storm, really basic things in some regards, we would take for granted but, you know, we got to keep in mind a lot of other people live in a much different kind of culture and different environment than what we do so they're not used to the same things that we do in the technology. We

Paul Yeager  
Well, trying to get time to talk to you as hard because you are gone a couple weeks ago trying to set this up, I believe was at Pakistan is where you're at Bangladesh. What's the infrastructure like there?

Grant Kimberley  
Yeah, we went to Bangladesh and Pakistan last year or last month, or actually is seems like it was a while ago now, but actually knows couple weeks ago, earlier this Monday is part of last month and part of this Yeah, I should say. So. Yeah, we were over there. And it's a new market for us. As far as from an i o perspective, we haven't visited that market before. Our national international organization called the US soybean Export Council has consultants working on behalf of us soybean farmers in those markets. And we've been working there for several years, but those markets were were really buying virtually zero, US soybeans, maybe five to seven years ago, and now they're significant buyers up Bangladesh has over a million ton a year market of U.S. soybeans and Pakistan's over million tons and both those markets are growing. And so we went there and and that was on a trade mission on behalf of our farmer members in conjunction with usek. And we went to meet with those feed companies or soy processors, those livestock producers, and also the government officials, everybody that's involved through the value chain, in the in the trade process, and also the the Foreign Agricultural service folks that represent the US industry, over there in the embassies, as well. So all those people are part of that value chain in order to do business, you have to understand the culture and what's important to those people. And that's why we went there.

Paul Yeager  
Is it harder to get that first million sold or is it to go from one to 2 million metric tons?

Grant Kimberley  
You know, it depends on the market. They're all different. You know, some markets are a lot more advanced. You know, we that's how we break down our marketing strategy to as an industry we have our, what we call mature markets, we have emerging markets we have market center are that are mature but still growing, you know, so Some fairly early stage markets. So those those are the kinds of ways we look at it. And it just depends on the market. You know, this part of the Asian subcontinent, which these two countries border both sides of India, basically, that's still a pretty young market, and it's growing market. So I think getting, you know, getting from zero to a million or 2 million tons, you know, took took some effort, but I think we're there now, it will be more challenging to grow beyond that. But the great thing is there is a preference for us soybeans there, those buyers are willing to pay premium, we discovered as we were over there talking to them, because they recognize the value that you swimming's provide when it comes to better digestible amino acid profile, better energy content. And we have a lot of research to back that up. And that's the other thing we talked to our buyers about is, is we we we are selling, you know, the research that we've done to demonstrate that we do have superior quality, we're not just saying it and that's going to take our word for it. You know, we're actually backing it up with real data, we're

Paul Yeager  
able to slide something across the table and say, Look at this, what we've done

Grant Kimberley  
So the next stage of it, there's going to be just growing their poultry industry, growing their aquaculture industry, industry. And we talked to the agriculture sector, and they're very early stage and then the development there. And so we have technology as a US industry that we can help transfer over there. This is technology we want to get out there that can really help improve the agriculture productivity of certain countries like this, which ultimately will mean that they'll need more feed formulation technology, and they'll need more soybean meal

Paul Yeager  
and the quality side of things. We had this discussion just a few minutes ago in a video piece that will be for Market to Market. You did talk about the premium and what I was going to follow up with, but I knew that I'd rather have that discussion right here is where's that line between a premium product and a premium price? versus this is way too expensive? Because it's always the who's the cheapest at the Golf is the comment if you read the market analysts and what they they're about. on price, they don't care about the products or the quality. How do you make somebody care about the quality,

Grant Kimberley  
exactly what we're talking about here, where we talk about the, the the, you're going to get you might pay a little bit more is how we have to demonstrate and show them, but you're going to get a quicker rate of gain on your animals, you're going to get a faster turnaround. And that is going to make the feed company and the livestock producer more money. So certain buyers that message resonates with and they understand it, they're sophisticated enough, they get that other buyers, it is completely price, you know and the cheapest and, and they don't really care about the other part of it because they're not maybe connected through the value chains as much. So it just depends on that. But there's certain markets definitely in the world, like the Philippines is a great example of this. And when as we discovered the Pakistan, Bangladesh is also another market. other markets that are like this, they're willing to pay, maybe five to $15, a metric ton premium for us soybeans or soybean meal. So it just depends on The market and you just have to wait and see, yeah, price is ultimately still the big the big issue. But if we can be a little bit, you know, demonstrate that we're just a little bit better, there's certain markets that are going to recognize that and they're going to be willing to pay the premium because they know, from start to finish, they're going to still net out more dollars because their rate of gains going to be better their their return on their investment will be better. And, and, you know, because because, you know, we do have the better, you know, we've demonstrated we've got the better amino acid profile and we have to talk about the difference between amino acid profile and crude protein and crude protein is something that, you know, Brazil tends to have a little higher quantity of but crude protein, remember just to measure nitrogen in the in the seed so it's not telling you necessarily what that you know, you have a digestible amino acids and indigestible amino acids, things that just get extruded out the back into the animals. So, you know, things that are kind of a waste, so, you know, by just going off a crude protein which Some of the unsophisticated buyers of the world will tend to just look at that, you know, that's not going to make them any more money. And so we we demonstrate that with the, with the buyers that that will get that.

Paul Yeager  
How long did it take you to understand to explain aminos and all of that was that all from the degree at Northwest Missouri or no I'm not on the job training

Grant Kimberley  
that was on the job training there definitely. I'm not a I'm not a feat formulation expert by any means.

Paul Yeager  
But it's extremely important for what you're doing though now,

Grant Kimberley  
it is it is we have to understand it to the point and, and we always will, will keep the the technical experts who are will introduce the subject and then let the technical experts kind of come in and, and bring it home and get into the science and the weeds and we'll be working with the sales and the marketing folks a lot of times and the executives of the companies and then we got to get the nutritionists and the scientists and the in the people that are more on the technical side, then we put them in contact with one another and they can hash out and look through the science of it and and confirm it and so forth.

Paul Yeager  
Well it's like sales and marketing. Sales says one thing. But or production has to I don't know if we can do that. Yes, we can. No we can't we, you know, people over deliver on promises. All right, I want to talk about the the map again, when you look at this map to your left above your computer screen, how many of those countries have you been to?

Grant Kimberley  
Boy, I should have counted that one out. But I think over 30, I think I've been around 30, probably 30 countries or so that's pretty close. China has been the one that we've been at the most over the last 10 years because it's by far and away the biggest market, a third of the US soybeans before this current trade skirmish that we've had over the last few years used to go to China. So we've been there the most but I've been to lots of areas now Middle East, the Middle East, part of the EU, Latin America, Central America. Those are important and all throughout Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is a big growing area for us as well.

Paul Yeager  
So even if you have One to 2 million and all those little countries, it's still not going to add up to what China has been able to do. Why is it the China? it? I'm guessing it took a long time to develop that market and get to a point where they trusted you, and would pick up the phone when when you called or read the email when it was sent to even open up that channel of discussion. It couldn't have been an easy thing.

Grant Kimberley  
Well, that process really even started long before I was even sure working in this area. So well, let's go back to 1985. 1985 is when American Soybean Association offered, opened up their first office in China and at that time, China was a net exporter of soybeans people don't realize but China, soybeans kind of originated in northeast China. So that's where they're from originally, and China's probably about the fourth or fifth largest producer of soybeans in the world. Behind Of course, the US, Brazil, Argentina, India and and then there's probably China so you're right in that category, so they're big producer and they were a net export or at the time, but the soybean growers at that time saw the vision saw the population. And they knew that China was starting to develop a little bit remember as a very early stage in their development, they just started to open up a lot of people what we learned when we been over there over the time as people point to the Dung Dung Xiaoping era, you know, that was a little bit after Mao finally was out of the picture and, and he was more of a open minded kind of person who wanted to bring capitalistic tendencies back to their, their their economy, so they start opening up so so our industry I think recognize that are growers didn't open the office and so we worked with the feed industry, because they are in the very elementary stage of understanding feed formulation. They were using slopping their hogs, and what was left in the garbage you know, and a lot of these small backyard producers have chickens and pigs and so forth. So when we introduce new production techniques and methods and show So the value of sophisticated commercialized feed, and vitamins and nutrients and all that, that goes with it, that then starts opening up more demand for things like corn and soybeans. And the production systems get more efficient. So they're not just a couple, you know, every farmer has two or three hogs. Now you have some hard confinement facilities and other things, they're there. They've taken care of disease issues a little bit better, although they still tend to fight that problem just because the, the way they they're so close together, you know, the population is so big and But anyway, they continue to grow. And over time you look at they entered the WTO and one 2000, 2001. And then they start buying some soybeans, all of a sudden, and then they just keep growing growing from there and we continue to develop their work with their sectors and kind of be that trade servicing help over there and the aquaculture industry, the more recent example of success because they were very, they had water pollution issues. They weren't, you know, again, it was it was garbage and manure base feeds that they would be using for their their fish feed. So you introduce things like soybean meal into the, into the rash, and all of a sudden the rate again starts getting a lot better and more efficient. You help them clean up their water and, and they grow their industry. And then they use more suevi mail, there's 500 million bushels of soybeans, that goes into aquaculture feed worldwide now, and 20 years ago, that was zero. So, you know, that's just it's a slow process marketing. I've always I've had people that have been in the business long longer than I have that always says marketing is a process and it takes time, it doesn't have immediate results usually. But you have to build those relationships, build that trust, and then you provide, you see what kind of service and holes or gaps there are. And then you go in and try to fill those and provide that opportunity in a way that's going to ultimately benefit our US soybean farmers. We always have to ask ourselves a question when we do promotion or research activity. Well, it's sell more bushels of soybeans eventually, right? Yeah. And well, it's all US soybeans too. That's the second piece of it.

Paul Yeager  
While I was waiting for you to come down for our TV interview, I was looking at the shelves of things in the summer caught my eye, and it was the pen that had the for soybeans and the top. And that's what I remember from the 80s and 90s have been delivered as a reminder of we're finding new ways and places and uses for this soybean and it was since 85. That's when that had come along. Did you have to sell farmers? Now I they get it's a agriculture is a global game. There's no way around it. Whether you're in Iowa or Indiana or North Dakota, it is a global game. Is it again, it's at zero to one one to two. Which one's harder is is it make it harder when people can email you and say grant you went to China but what's happened? Why do we Why are we in a spat with that? Why can't we get this convinced? Why can't because they know more about what you're doing? Does that make your job harder or easier?

Grant Kimberley  
You know, some of these, we get all those kinds of questions. And it was a challenging process. We always warned everybody going into this process that this was going to be a challenging time for us soybean farmers, because we'd already had pretty good access to the Chinese market that we recognize there's bigger picture issues at play and and, you know, other challenges in the in the Chinese markets, not always, you know, been a transparent marketplace, that's for sure. And certainly the biotech approval process has been a challenge over the years irregular, they already have that. Sometimes shipments will get rejected for really not a very good reason. And so our tariffs will go in place because maybe they had a big corn crop so they just don't want to have as much corn come in. So those are the issues that do need to be addressed. But because us swimming industry already had a pretty good relationship. We knew we are Going to be the tip of the retaliation the tip of the spear. And we were right. As it turned out, we got clobbered. You know, in this process we got hammered. So we, we at 1.2 years ago, selling 36 million metric tons of soybeans to China. When the tariffs started in the counter, tariffs and retaliatory tariffs back and forth started happening. Then mid year, our exports went down to about 27 or so million metric tons. And then the next year or last year, they were down to 13 million metric tons. That's a major drop, we were able to rebalance some of those to other markets. That's what we have a program we call what it takes. We had what it takes initiative to try to offset all the last Chinese exports to other markets around the world. We were pretty good at getting a fair amount of those offset at other parts of the world, but still couldn't do enough of it. And so that's where we're at. And so we got, you know, the retaliation. We were the brunt of that. Now long term if we can, you know, the phase one deal is real it'd be it's implemented. And if they can come up with I think a face to deal, they're going to have to do that probably the next phase and, and we can have stability interjected back into the marketplace, and maybe we can grow and gain some of that back. But but it's going to take quite a bit of time, I think it's going to take more time than people realize. I mean, just like this phase one deal. People thought we are, you know, the traders and other people think we might start seeing purchases within, you know, a few weeks of the deal being implemented. And I don't think that's going to be the case, especially not for soybeans, because we have to compete globally. And because of the trade skirmish that happened, our global competition increased production, the last two years, they really ramped up production probably faster than they otherwise would have. So that's new production that's now permanently online, that we have to compete against. And that's going to take time to to claw that back some of that demand back and overall we think the world domain will continue to grow and it will but It's going to take a while for it to catch back up to the amount of production that's now been brought online. And we're seeing the results of that with a record crop out of South America this year.

Paul Yeager  
China is also trying to sort through and they figure out that they have an appetite for renewable fuels. ethanol is one of those they're kicking the tires on of their understanding the DDG side of it on the biodiesel side. Are you on a global scale yet in that industry, are you still mostly a lot of domestic fights? 

Grant Kimberley  
It was mainly a domestic market for us right now, because there's other major biodiesel producers and exporters and other parts of the world. Argentina has a differential export tax scheme scheme that they have. And that basically subsidizes their exports of biodiesel to other parts of the world. And so some of that could be filled by them. Indonesia produces and Malaysia produces a lot of biodiesel because the palm oil production in Southeast Asia and Europe produces a lot of biodiesel from through their rapeseed production and all these markets are very protected markets. It's interesting how everybody puts on trade barriers and they and they do different things to try to protect their own domestic markets. So we have to do that to biodiesel in China probably has a ways to go because they're, they have oil deficit, you know, they need to import, you know, that's why they import whole soybeans because they need the meal and the oil, but they're importing as also palm oil, they're importing other kinds of oil. So until the day they become surplus of oil, I don't think you're going to see biodiesel move into that market very quickly because because the food side of it, they need it for their their population. Now ethanol is a different story because they have excess production of corn there. And they have a growing livestock industry. So they do need DDGs and they've got air quality issues by this will be helpful for them, but I don't think they're there yet. But sounds like they're getting closer to using more ethanol for the gasoline. I know they have a goal of I think 10% Ethanol and their their gasoline supply. It was supposed to be this year, but I think they delayed that a little bit.

Paul Yeager  
So it helps when you do have two hats. When you walk into a room, I know that the one organization pays for that trip and then therefore, but you can also be in the room and see an opportunity to have a biodiesel discussion at another time.

Grant Kimberley  
Oh, yeah. And I and I can't tell you how much we have discussions about corn and DDGs are on our trade missions to it actually drives my CEO nuts correctly. He's like, we need to be going to talk to our friends at Iowa Corn Growers or National Corn Growers and ask them to pay for part of it. 

Because we're selling corn and DDGs as well soybeans and soybean meal. But it's all you know, a lot of times the exporters are the same people in our farmers in a lot of cases are the same people. So it goes together. And they're all part of the same feed formulation and a lot of lot of cases and they they complement one another. So yeah, we do end up talking about other things really beyond soybeans, other parts of the trade, whether it's corn Or ethanol or biodiesel or other things and, and you have to be a student of government policy, foreign government policy and understanding what foreign governments are trying to do and, and how they manipulate the market a little bit to protect their own domestic industries. And that's what I always tell people about agriculture, agriculture is probably the most there's a probably the most government influence in agriculture that every country does this around the world. And I think any other industry, maybe energy would be the other one. Because their national security issues for every state and domestic security issues for every single country around the world. So when people say, well, agriculture just needs to be a completely free market and work together and not have any kind of you can't have any government intervention. Well, you know, in a perfect world, that would be great. It would be

Paul Yeager  
great, but I don't know how it doesn't

Grant Kimberley  
work that way. Because the way every other country around the world behaves and operates. And so if we could ever level that playing field, and then that would be great, but we're not there yet. I don't think

Paul Yeager  
all right. When we wrap up here, I want to I can't leave without discussing the challenges you've had to face in the biodiesel industry when it comes to the Renewable Fuel Standard. And the waivers that have been happening how, which one's been more frustrating for you under I mean, the trade side, or trying to figure out? No, we need the waivers because it's just what's the headache medicine that you use?

Grant Kimberley  
A lot of Advil? Yeah. And then alternate with Tylenol. There you go. Exactly. No, it's I would have to say the last three years has been a more challenging time in my career working in Iowa Soybean Association than than the first 15 years were. So it's been a challenging time. And it's been all those things together. It's almost unbelievable to think about how all these different headwinds have hit our industry all at the same time almost. And so on the biodiesel side, yes, it's been you know, since administrator Pruitt has was first appointed as EPA administrator. But even before that, and under the Obama administration, we've had some challenges with EPA, who has the jurisdiction to administer the Renewable Fuel Standard. A lot of us have felt that that they certainly have taken huge liberties and and not follow the congressional intent of the law and how they've manipulated and come up with some of their programs. When it comes to the small refinery exemption waiver program. Remember, they also tried to do a reduce the actual volume targets a few years before that, and what we call them. A nota thing that happened, I think, in 2018. So it was a supplemental rule that EPA proposed Luckily, that didn't go forward but they were going to reduce biodiesel as target in the RFS in that as well. But, you know, there's that issue. There's the tat lapse of the tax credit that we've had the last two years that was a major challenge. We had a huge imports of foreign, subsidized subsidized foreign produced biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia. That Coming in the country, we finally have have some more certainty on all those issues. So far, we have some anti dumping and countervailing duties in place to keep the subsidized biodiesel at bay. And Mitch may mainly make it so it's an equal price footing. They can import that stuff into the US, but it can't be subsidized at it under the market value. Our producers in the in the US just want to be able to compete as a fair market. So we have some certainty there. We finally got the tax credit passed. So we have some certainty there. We have a little bit of certainty on the small refinery exemption issue, you know, they came up with a process that they'll reallocate a portion of those looks like based off of the department energy estimates is not what we thought the president agreed to with our congressional delegation, but it's it's a step in the right direction. And then now you have this 10th Circuit Court ruling that said that the EPA mishandled certain small refinery exemption waivers in the past which then now might have EP made, made needed to go step back and reevaluate all the waivers that they've done. And maybe go back to where we always thought it should have been is that there's probably only about, you know, five to nine legitimate waivers that should be granted rather than the 50 to 90%. That Yeah, let 30 to 40 waivers that they have been granting. So maybe that's a step in the right direction. But I can tell you the last three years have been crazy between the biofuels industry and then the trade sector.

Paul Yeager  
Never a dull moment with Grant Kimberley.

Grant Kimberley  
Now, especially in soybeans, I it's been interesting the people, people say I see you more on TV the last couple years are on the radio because of all these issues. And I was like, you know, I don't really want to be doing all this. I would be glad if things were calm. But that's not been the case here recently. But maybe, maybe we're turning a corner maybe things to start looking better down the road. We have a few things now working in the right direction. But again, like most things I tell people, I think it's going to take more time than people realize because Because you can't have some of these challenges that we faced and just have it automatically be fixed overnight, whether it's the trade stuff or the biofield stuff, there's there's damage that has been done on some of these things. And now we have to build these markets back up and hopefully make our industry and our farmers Whole Again, and it's going to take a little time

Paul Yeager  
And make more trips, whether in foreign countries or states in the United States to to help on that mission.

Grant Kimberley  
Yeah, we're going to continue to fund our efforts to grow demand for soybean soybean products, and customer preference for us soybeans. We're going to continue to put our legislative efforts into growing the biodiesel industry in Washington DC and making sure we protect the RFS. Make sure the smart revite refinery exemptions aren't abused like they have been and make sure we have the stability and the tax policy. So all those things we're going to continue to, to work on and make sure we get these trade deals signed and implemented, not just signed, but also implemented.

Paul Yeager  
So what are you gonna do on Tuesday, cuz that sounds like a Monday. 

Grant Kimberley  
Well, next week we're heading down at commodity classic. Yeah, that's that's, you know, that's where the policies are made for the industry, all the major grower groups are getting together for all the commodities in the United States and, and that's where the leadership and the boards come together from all the states. And we set the policies and priorities for the coming year and years after that. So it's always a very interesting, interesting time to be there. And every year is different.

Paul Yeager  
Well, and we appreciate you squeezing us in and we'll let you get back to the planning of everything that you're going to have to do here in the next few days and weeks years moving at Grand Kimberley, thank you so much.

Grant Kimberley  
Sounds good. And thank you.

Paul Yeager  
My thanks to grant Kimberly from the Iowa Soybean Association on the Iowa Biodiesel Board for being a guest on this podcast which is a production of Markets to Market and Iowa PBS. I'm Paul Yeager. Thanks for listening

 

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