Acting Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien today announced payments to producers in 38 states to support the production of advanced biofuels. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
“These payments represent the Obama administration’s commitment to support an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy,” O’Brien said. “Producing advanced biofuels is a major component of the drive to take control of America’s energy future by developing domestic, renewable energy sources.”
The funding is being provided through USDA’s Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, which was established in the 2008 Farm Bill. Under this program, payments are made to eligible producers based on the amount of advanced biofuels 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 material; vegetable oil; and animal fat. Biofuel can be from a variety of non-food sources, including waste products.
Through this and other programs, USDA is working to support the research, investment and infrastructure necessary to build a strong biofuels industry that creates jobs and broadens the range of feedstocks used to produce renewable fuel. More than 280 producers in 45 states and territories have received $192.5 million in payments since the program’s inception. It has supported the production of more than 3 billion gallons of advanced biofuel and the equivalent of more than 36 billion kilowatt hours of electric energy.
For example, AgPower Jerome, LLC, in Lincoln County, Idaho, produces electricity from manure with a 4.5 megawatt generator that runs on biogas from an anaerobic digester. Almost 16 million kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power nearly16,000 homes, were produced in 2012.
Somerset Hardwood Flooring, in Somerset, Ky., produces fuel pellets from wood waste. Somerset has participated in the advanced biofuels program since 2010. The payments it receives help offset the costs associated with producing 131,700 metric tons of fuel pellets.
Iowa Renewable Energy, LLC, in Washington, Iowa, produces biodiesel from feedstock such as animal fats. It has participated in the program since 2009. The payments help offset the costs associated with producing more than 38 million gallons of biodiesel.
Biodiesel is made from an increasingly diverse mix of feedstocks, including used cooking oil, agricultural oils and animal fats.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture today is announcing almost $14 million in payments to 162 advanced biofuel producers.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s 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. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.