USDA Offers Biomass and Bioenergy Funding

Cindy Zimmerman

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that Fiscal Year 2009 funding is once again available again for three USDA Farm Bill programs to promote increased production of biomass and bioenergy.

Applications for the Biorefinery Assistance Program, which uses loan guarantees to develop, construct, and retrofit commercial-scale biorefineries, must be received by June 1, 2010. Applications are also being accepted for remaining FY 2009 funding under the Repowering Assistance Program, which provides for payments to biorefineries in existence when the Farm Bill was passed to replace the use of fossil fuels in their operations with renewable energy from biomass. Biorefineries interested in obtaining funding must apply by June 15, 2010.

Tom VilsackFinally, those biomass producers eligible under the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels may also apply to receive payment from remaining FY 2009 funds. Applications must be received by May 30, 2010. Under this program, payments are made to eligible producers in rural areas to support and ensure an expanding production of advanced biofuels. Payments are based on the amount of biofuels a recipient produces from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. Eligible examples include biofuels derived from cellulose, crop residue, animal, food and yard waste material, biogas (landfill and sewage waste treatment gas), vegetable oil and animal fat.

At the recent Commodity Classic, Secretary Vilsack noted that the administration is focused on expanding the biofuels industry. “We’re going to make sure that it is a national industry, not just focused in one particular area, one particular region, or one particular feed stock. There are enormous opportunities here in all parts of the country. Enormous opportunities for farmers and ranchers, enormous opportunities for rural America. And, there needs to be a concerted effort in growing and expanding this industry,” Vilsack told the crowd of more than 4,000 meeting in Anaheim, Calif. “That’s part of the strategy of USDA. So, we’re putting resources behind this, and we’re using our rural development resources to help build these refineries. We’re using our energy title of the farm bill to promote payments to farmers for feed stocks, to help build refineries, to retrofit existing refineries, to put people to work in rural communities.”

Listen to or download Vilsack’s speech from Commodity Classic here:

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