Earlier this month, I joined colleagues from several USDA agencies in Knoxville, Tennessee to discuss biomass production and renewable energy opportunities with producers. The event was sponsored by the Farm Foundation.
Production of renewable, farm-based energy is a crucial component in the effort to increase the amount of renewable fuel produced and used in the U.S. It will be necessary for rural landowners to greatly expand production of non-food biomass in future years if we are to meet the goal of increasing the volume of renewable fuel to be blended into transportation fuel to 36 billion gallons by 2022.
There was significant interest demonstrated in our meeting in Knoxville that America’s producers are ready to do their part to meet the challenge, and I felt privileged to provide them with the information they needed to incorporate biomass-based energy production into their operations.
Thanks to the provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill, USDA has a number of programs available to encourage the production of biomass, generate new biorefinery capacity, retrofit existing refineries to use biomass in the production process, or install proven technology such as biodigesters to help improve environmental quality while generating significant amounts of power.
We hope to hold additional meetings in the future, but to find out more about USDA’s commitment to renewable energy click here. To find out how you can help produce biomass or biofuel on your farm or at your rural business click here. At USDA, we are a willing partner in the effort to produce energy and additional farm revenue from new, sustainable sources.