The U.S. Department of Agriculture will be providing loan guarantees to help the ethanol industry, according to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
At last week’s USDA Outlook Conference, Vilsack said the USDA “has a responsibility for keeping an eye on that industry” to maintain an infrastructure to produce the next generation of biofuels.
Vilsack also says USDA is working with the Department of Energy to support research efforts to identify new feedstocks for biofuels to take some of the pressure off the food versus fuel discussion. “My view is that we have the capacity and the ability to do both and need to do both. If we’re to meet the President’s instruction that he wants more energy production out of our farm fields and ranches, and if we are going to turn this economy around and become less reliant on fossil fuels, we’ve got to create more biofuel.”
In addition to biofuels, Vilsack stressed USDA support for all forms of renewable energy, including wind and solar, “to continue the momentum of building and sustaining an energy industry within USDA and within farming and ranching.”