Temple, Texas, Jul 31, 2012 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced payments for 125 advanced Biofuel producers across the country, four of which are located in Texas, to support the production and expansion of advanced biofuels from a wide variety of sources, including waste products.
"Advanced biofuels are a key component of President Obama's 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy to reduce the Nation’s reliance on foreign oil and take control of America’s energy future," said Vilsack. "These payments represent the hard work the private sector is doing to help spur an alternative fuels industry using renewable feedstocks, and help create an economy built to last."
“The Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels is building the foundation for a clean energy economy and protecting our environment while making America less dependent on foreign and fossil fuels and increasing rural economic growth,” said Paco Valentin, USDA Rural Development Texas State Director.
The funding is being provided through USDA's Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels. Under this program, payments are made to eligible producers based on the amount of biofuels a recipient produces from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. Examples of eligible feedstocks include but are not limited to: crop residue; animal, food and yard waste material; vegetable oil; and animal fat. Through this and other programs, USDA is working to support the research, investment and infrastructure necessary to build a biofuels industry that creates jobs and conserves America’s natural resources.
It is important to note that increased biofuel production plays a relatively minor role in retail food price changes. The diversity of feedstock used to produce biodiesel allows for flexibility and helps relieve market pressures. Biodiesel is made from an increasingly diverse mix of feedstocks, including recycled cooking oil, agricultural oils such as soybean and canola oil, and animal fats, allowing most biodiesel producers to select from a choice of feedstocks if prices rise or supplies are short. Therefore, the industry’s impact in commodity markets is significantly reduced. As the market expands for home-grown renewable energy, farmers and producers will create even more good-paying American jobs that can’t be exported. The biofuels industry in the U.S. currently employs about 400,000 people and is expected to employ around a million people in the U.S. by 2022.
The Obama administration, with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack's leadership, has worked tirelessly to strengthen rural America, maintain a strong farm safety net, and create opportunities for America's farmers and ranchers. U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing one of its most productive periods in American history thanks to the productivity, resiliency, and resourcefulness of our producers. For additional information and updates about USDA's efforts, please visit www.usda.gov/drought.
Funding in Texas includes awards to Agribiofuels, LLC and Green Earth Fuels of Houston, LLC to process animal fats, soy oil or used vegetable oil for biodiesel transesterification. Element Markets, LLC will take manure and fats, oil or grease and convert it into methane gas through the process of anaerobic digestion. The project with White Energy, Inc. will consist of three processing plants that use wheat starch and grain sorghum for 200 proof ethanol production.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $170 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.