The Missouri state legislature has given final approval to House Bill 741, which was amended to include portions of Senate Bill 571, dealing with biodiesel tax credits, and Senate Bill 387, the Missouri Rice Certification Act.

“I’m pleased this legislature has been able to send to the governor two measures that are vital to the economic interests of southeast Missouri,” said Sen. Rob Mayer, R-Dexter. “Our longtime rice industry and our burgeoning biodiesel industry need this helping hand.”

Under the biodiesel tax credit provisions, refiners will get state tax credits even if they use raw materials from out of state. Currently, they have to get the vegetable oil from sources as far away as St. Joseph — 490 miles to the northwest. The change will allow them to acquire inputs from across state lines, making biodiesel more economically viable.

Provisions of the Missouri Rice Certification Act included in HB 741 will create an advisory council. The committee will consist of nine members, including the director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, two members appointed by the director representing rice handlers and end users, and six members recommended by the Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council including producers, university scientists, and representatives of rice mills and seed dealers.

“Rice has long been a staple of the people and economy of my district,” said Mayer. “And biodiesel is poised to relieve us of the pressure of dependency on foreign oil. I’m proud my region will be working to provide the food and fuel to keep our nation going.”