U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack made a visit to St. Louis earlier this week where he was the keynote speaker at the St. Louis Agribusiness Club meeting. As part of his address, he noted the importance of biofuels production for rural economies.
Vilsack noted that there are about 600,000 people in rural America who would describe themselves as farmers or ranchers, but who rely on off-farm income to make ends meet. “What do we do for those folks? What we do for those folks is to create more diverse income opportunities. It’s one of the reasons why I’m a big proponent of biofuels and renewable energy,” he said. Vilsack said biofuels create new market opportunities for those farmers. “I know and they know that when we reach 36 billion gallons of renewable energy and fuel in this country we’re going to create a million new jobs in rural communities.’
Vilsack believes that next generation biofuels from agricultural waste will help rural America even more. “That’s why we are focused on making sure we have an expanded biofuels industry. It only makes sense with the instability in the Middle East. Why not try to create opportunities here at home?”
Listen to or download Vilsack’s biofuels comments here: Secy Vilsack in St. Louis