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USDA Undersecretary Saddles up for Clean Energy, Business and Economic Development in Nevada

With Nevada USDA Rural Development State Director Sarah Adler as his side-kick, Agriculture Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager hit the trail earlier this month in Nevada, kicking off a major job-creating clean energy announcement, meeting with business owners and talking to ranchers severely challenged by the drought.

Tonsager kicked off his trip with a news conference to announce a loan guarantee to Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels to build an advanced biofuels refinery in northern Nevada. The refinery will convert 147,000 tons of municipal solid waste into more than 10 million gallons of advanced biofuels each year, creating 430 jobs during construction and over 50 permanent jobs.

He met with state agency representatives interested in capitalizing Nevada small business projects, and met with a USDA Business and Industry loan guarantee recipient – a manufacturer who recently attended a White House conference on manufacturing.

Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager and Sarah Adler, Rural Development State Director, announce USDA funding for a biofuels project during a press conference in Reno.

Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager and Sarah Adler, Rural Development State Director, announce USDA funding for a biofuels project during a press conference in Reno.

The second day, Tonsager met with representatives from a major grocery store chain and USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to try and resolve a problem in central Nevada where residents of five communities and two reservations are without a grocery store.

On Wednesday, the undersecretary announced the Sierra Fulcrum BioFuels project to northern Nevada.  Later that afternoon he met with members of Stronger Economies Together, a collaborative team that is working under the guidance of USDA, the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, and several partner agencies to create a regional economic development plan. He reminded them how vitally important they are:  “You are the leadership capital; your commitment makes a difference –you are the reason your small communities will succeed.”

From left to right, Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager; James Macias, CEO and president of Sierra Fulcrum BioFuels;  State Director Sarah Adler, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. They announced USDA loan guarantee support for a new facility in Nevada to convert trash into biofuel.

From left to right, Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager; James Macias, CEO and president of Sierra Fulcrum BioFuels; State Director Sarah Adler, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. They announced USDA loan guarantee support for a new facility in Nevada to convert trash into biofuel.

At an impromptu meeting with about 30 ranchers and farmers in Winnemucca, Tonsager heard about problems of the drought. Tonsager promised to carry the word back to Washington, D.C.

Earlier today, Undersecretary Tonsager announced funding support for a North Carolina project that will convert energy grasses to biofuel.  To find out more, click here.

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