Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today 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.”
USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel said, “Supporting the production of advanced biofuels is a key priority of USDA Rural Development. The payments announced today will help to ensure Maine producers can continue to manufacture wood pellets and biodiesel fuel that supply Maine’s homes, businesses, and vehicles while utilizing local renewable resources.”
In Maine, the following producers have received funding for the production of biofuels:
- Geneva Wood Fuels, LLC, of Strong, has been selected to receive a payment of $3,561 for the production of wood pellets.
- Maine Bio-Fuel, Inc., of Portland, has been selected to receive a payment of $1,346 for the production of biodiesel.
- Maine Woods Pellet Company, LLC, of Athens, has been selected to receive a payment of $6,089 for the production of wood pellets.
- Northeast Pellets, LLC, of Ashland, has been selected to receive a payment of $774 for the production of wood pellets.
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.
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.
USDA Rural Development invested $462.5 million in rural Maine communities last fiscal year in the areas of homeownership, business assistance, energy and renewable energy development, water and wastewater and community facilities. The agency has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor. There are 59 employees working to deliver the agency’s Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/me.