Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA is accepting applications for up to $50 million in projects to promote the continued production and use of biofuels.
"Using homegrown energy to end our dependence on foreign oil is a key component of President Obama's vision for rebuilding and revitalizing rural America, and this funding will help advance that goal," said Vilsack. "USDA continues to work aggressively to provide our nation's rural communities, farmers, ranchers, and producers of biofuels with the financial tools they can use to help bring greater energy independence to America."
USDA is working with other Federal agencies to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and spur rural economic development. This $50 million in 2008 Farm Bill money will advance two USDA efforts: $20 million under to provide financial incentives to biorefineries to replace fossil fuels used to produce heat or power at their facilities with renewable biomass; and $30 million to provide payments to eligible advanced biofuel producers to encourage the increased production and use of biofuels.
Applications for the advanced biofuels program are due Aug. 11; applications for the biorefineries to replace fossil fuels are due Nov. 1. More information is available at www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs or in the June 12 Federal Register.
Biorefineries and advanced biofuel biorefineries must be located in a rural area and must have been in operation before the enactment of the 2008 Farm Bill (June 2008). The biorefineries will receive funding based on the amount of fossil fuel replaced, percentage of fossil fuel usage reduced, and the cost-effectiveness of the system. The advanced biorefineries will receive funding based on the amount of advanced biofuels production.
These projects are expected to help biorefineries reduce energy costs and consumption; necessary steps toward meeting our nation's critical energy needs. Advancing the biofuel industry can lead to cleaner and more sustainable energy production as well as creating jobs, generating government revenue, and stimulating rural economies across the nation.
USDA Rural Development's mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at www.rurdev.usda.gov.