Members of the Iowa Soybean Association are at the statehouse today (Tuesday), lobbying for a bill that would establish a tax credit for soybean-based biodiesel. Two of Iowa’s most successful athletes today lent their support to the campaign to boost the use of biodiesel. Fred Hoiberg, a former basketball star at Iowa State who has gone on to play in the N-B-A, spoke at a statehouse news conference.

“My roots are in Iowa — and growing up in Ames — and you know my teammates actually get sick of me from talking about Iowa so much, talking about how the pork and the beef on their plate come from my great state,” Hoiberg said. “It’s a pleasure for me to be here to support this great cause and I think Iowa’s got a great opportunity to be a national leader in soybiodiesel production and I’m proud to be part of this.”

Dan Gable, a Waterloo native who wrestled at Iowa State, won a gold medal in the 1972 Olympics and then coached at the University of Iowa, said biodiesel will help Iowa farmers make a profit. Gable said farming is like the sport of wrestling, because in wrestling, Gable said you have to “invent some things associated” with the sport, like camps and consulting work, to make a living. “In farming right now, they’ve had to kind of look at their situation and they had to do some thing that made ’em grow and be able to stay in their profession,” Gable says.

The tax credit for biodiesel is included in a wide-ranging bill that deals with a wide-range of renewable fuel proposals, many directed at corn-based ethanol. However, the legislation does not include state grants for gas stations that install tanks that would dispense E-85, the highest-blend of ethanol.