Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is making $5.6 million in grants to 220 producers across the nation to support the production of advanced biofuels, and is awarding more than $4 million in additional grants that will advance the bioeconomy and reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil.
"Producing advanced biofuel is a major component of the drive to take control of America's energy future by developing domestic, renewable energy sources," Vilsack said. "These resources represent the Obama Administration's commitment to support an 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy that seeks to build a robust bio-based economy. Investments in biofuels will also help create jobs and further diversify the economy in our rural communities."
The funding for producers announced today is being provided through USDA's Advanced Biofuel Payment Program, which was established in the 2008 Farm Bill. Under this program, payments are made to eligible producers based on the amount of advanced biofuel produced from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. Examples of eligible feedstocks include but are not limited to: crop residue; animal, food and yard waste; vegetable oil; and animal fat.
Through the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program, USDA supports the research, investment and infrastructure necessary to build a strong biofuel industry that creates jobs and broadens the range of feedstocks used to produce renewable fuel.
USDA has made more than $280 million in payments to more than 350 producers (more than 3,100 total payments) in 47 states and territories since the program's inception. These payments have supported the production of more than 5.8 billion gallons of advanced biofuel and the equivalent of more than 58 billion kilowatt hours of electric energy.
Also, USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the award of fiscal year 2014 grants through three other programs supporting bioenergy initiatives.
The National Biodiesel Board and Regents of the University of Idaho received $768,000 and $192,000 respectively, through the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program. The program was established to stimulate biodiesel consumption and the development of a biodiesel infrastructure.
The funded education and outreach activities will raise awareness of biodiesel fuel use among governmental and private entities that operate vehicle fleets and the public. Funded projects also focus on educational programs supporting advances in infrastructure, technology transfer, fuel quality, fuel safety and increasing feedstock production.
South Dakota State University (SDSU) received $2.3 million through the Sun Grant Program. This program encourages bioenergy and biomass research collaboration between government agencies, land-grant colleges and universities, and the private sector.
SDSU will lead a consortium of five regional grant centers and one subcenter that makes competitive grants to projects that contribute to research, education and outreach for the regional production and sustainability of possible biobased feedstocks. The project period will not exceed five years.
Through the Critical Agricultural Materials program, Iowa State University of Science and Technology received $1 million for the development of new paint, coating, and adhesive products that are derived from acrylated glycerol, which is a co-product of the biodiesel industry.
The Critical Agricultural Materials program supports the development of products that are manufactured from domestically-produced agricultural materials and are of strategic and industrial importance to benefit the economy, defense, and general well-being of the nation. Many such products replace petroleum-based products and offer opportunities to create new businesses and new markets for agricultural materials.
Examples of producers receiving USDA Advanced Biofuel payments today are Appling County Pellets, in Baxley, Ga. It received $22,475 for its production of more than 358,000 metric tons of wood pellets. Appling sells premium-grade wood pellets for sustainable wood fuel use to markets in the northeastern United States and Europe.
AgPower Jerome of Shoshone, Idaho, is receiving $3,027 for the conversion of nearly 137 million gallons of dairy cattle manure into 25.5 million kWh of electricity that is sold to a local utility.
White Mountain Biodiesel, LLC of North Haverhill, N.H., a producer of biodiesel from waste vegetable oil, received $8,655. The company produced almost 1.8 million gallons of biodiesel from almost 2 million gallons of waste vegetable oil. The biodiesel is distributed throughout Vermont and New Hampshire.
Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy, LLC of Phillipsburg, Kan., produced 6.9 million gallons of ethanol from almost 2.6 million bushels of sorghum and received $18,128.
President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way - strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.