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Secretary’s Column: Biofuels Hold Unlimited Opportunity to Grow the Rural Economy

At USDA, we’ve made record efforts in the past four years to support homegrown energy.  This year, we’re looking ahead to a promising future for biofuels.

Biofuels have already contributed a great deal to our economy, to our energy security and to the bottom line on our farms and ranches.  Today we’re taking steps to strengthen the biofuels industry and helping innovate the next generation of advanced biofuels.

For example, we’ve invested more than $320 million into biofuels research to help accelerate the development of technology needed to take the next big steps.

USDA has complemented those investments with the creation of six new research centers across America to develop new strategies for biofuels creation, while ensuring that each region of the nation can contribute to homegrown energy.

We are also working to strengthen the whole supply chain for advanced biofuels, from the farmers who grow energy crops to the end users of advanced biofuels.

Since 2009, USDA has helped provide an incentive for hundreds of growers to raise nearly 60,000 acres of advanced biofuel crops.

We’ve supported more than 200 biorefineries in their efforts to produce advanced biofuels, while making loan guarantee commitments to support construction of nine new advanced refineries across the country.

We have also taken steps to identify and expand new markets for these advanced biofuels. For example, USDA is working with the Department of Energy and the Department of the Navy to expand advanced biofuels for military aviation and maritime use.

Last summer, the Navy’s “Great Green Fleet” conducted groundbreaking exercises off the coast of Hawaii, with ships and aircraft powered by advanced biofuels. We’re also working with the Federal Aviation Administration to promote the production of advanced biofuel for commercial aircraft.

This year, we’re focused on helping advanced biofuel producers reach a goal of 14 million gallons of production. We’ll continue working to identify barriers to the production of these new fuels. We’ll also work with all of our partners to help develop solutions, such as new opportunities for multi-cropping production.

In the months ahead, USDA will continue to provide support for research and infrastructure. At the same time, we’ll explore new efforts to provide flexibility for folks all along the supply chain.  The production and use of advanced biofuels has already had a very positive impact for our nation, and biofuels hold even more opportunity to create jobs and economic prosperity for rural America in the years ahead.

For an audio version of this column, click here.

3 Responses to “Secretary’s Column: Biofuels Hold Unlimited Opportunity to Grow the Rural Economy”

  1. Douglas DeConnick says:

    This is all fine and good but please fire Samuel Betances who is preaching hate America propaganda on my dime!

  2. Ian Collins says:

    With reference to ethanol fuel and blenders. The move to 15% will create more havoc and expense for user.
    Ethanol fuels are damaging motorcycles, ATV’s and all engine powered landscaping tools, hence the arrival of non-ethanol fuel provide by the small engine manufacturers at approx. $36 per gallon. (saving who money?). Controlled tests have already shown that like vehicles with measured amounts of fuel get poorer fuel mileage with ethanol based fuel.

    In parts of Europe they have found it necessary to provide alternate non-ethanol fuels at the station, required to run many performance and older cars without damage.

    Is it clean air or subsidies pushing this issue?

  3. Royal Rife says:

    I read that for every gallon of alcohol fuel produced about 1/2 gallon or more worth of energy is needed to produce and process it. Plus it is harmful to engines!
    No, I would rather see renewable electricity charging the batteries of all electric cars. They’ll just need to figure out how to charge for sunlight….

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