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. Read more »
Late last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack went to Omaha, Nebraska to discuss the President’s “All of the above” energy strategy, and meet with wind energy and rural development officials. Speaking to members of the American Coalition for Ethanol, he said that while the drought is severe and the Obama Administration is moving to help affected farmers and ranchers, we won’t know the impact of this drought until harvest time – but we do know that working together, we will get through this challenge.
The Secretary noted that Nebraska has been hit hard by drought. Today, USDA declared an additional 172 additional counties across the United States as primary natural disaster areas due to drought – and as of today, all of the State of Nebraska is covered by primary or contiguous disaster designations for drought.
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Diane Ley, State Executive Director, Hawaii Farm Service Agency, prepares to depart Hickam Air Force Base for the Great Green Fleet demonstration. USDA Photo.
WOW! The word “wow” only moderately conveys the historic events that unfolded this summer during the Department of Navy’s Rim of the Pacific Exercises (RIMPAC) Great Green Fleet (GGF) demonstration. The might and power of the United States Navy coupled with that of scores of other Pacific Rim counties was impressive, but moreover a number of the great ships and aircraft were fueled by a mix of algae and animal fats. Read more »
Agricultural Research Service chemist Tsung Min Kuo and technician Karen Ray convert vegetable oil into antifungal agents and other value-added bioproducts.
This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research profile.
Emerging bioenergy systems hold the promise of helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, increase economic prosperity, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The National Renewable Fuel Standard mandates the production of 36 billion gallons of biofuels be produced annually by 2022; of which 16 billion gallons must come from fuels that are not corn-based ethanol. These fuels, produced from the conversion of grasses, wood, and oilseeds and other biomass, must be produced in a sustainably and economically efficient manner. To meet this goal, USDA has developed a Bioenergy strategy, focused on research, development, education, and extension. As part of USDA’s Office of the Chief Scientist series of white papers on the Department’s research portfolio, this plan aligns USDA’s biofuels research with the goals of President Obama’s Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future. Read more »
As drought continues across America, President Obama and I continue doing all we can to help farmers and ranchers. Last week, at the President’s direction, I convened a meeting of the White House Rural Council to ensure we’re doing all we can – and we’ll meet again to discuss drought in the coming days.
We’ll also continue to call on Congress to pass a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible, to give USDA more tools to help and to give more certainty to producers in this difficult time.
Meanwhile, at USDA we continue our work to help grow the economy and create jobs. This includes our support for innovative producers and rural businesses who are already working hard to boost the emerging bio-economy.
From household products made of homegrown crops, to remarkable advanced biofuels that are powering America’s ships and aircraft, the bio-based economy is strengthening our nation while bringing more jobs and economic security to rural America.
Today, more than 3,000 companies are producing more than 25,000 biobased products made from renewable sources grown here at home, and supporting 100,000 American jobs. These companies are developing a wide variety of products – from cleaners and paints to construction materials – for use at home, at work, and by industry. Read more »
A truck is filled with wood chips as part of the process of turning wood into energy
Cross posted from the White House CEQ blog:
Across rural America, biomass like wood pellets and wood chips is helping communities diversify their energy sources, create jobs, and save money on utility bills. At the Forest Service, we are working to support biomass projects that help us manage wildfire threats, and also serve as economic engines for rural communities. Last week, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced grants of $4 million for renewable wood energy projects that will provide 20 small businesses, tribes and community groups with the technical engineering and design services they need to explore installing wood heat and electricity projects. Read more »