Bangor, ME, Jul 27, 2012 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced payments for 125 advanced Biofuel producers across the country 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 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.
USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel said, “I am pleased that USDA Rural Development can continue to provide support to Maine’s wood pellet manufacturers, which provides our residents with a renewable source of fuel and ultimately lessens our dependence on foreign fuel sources while supporting local businesses.”
In Maine, three wood pellet manufacturing companies have been selected to receive payments.
• Geneva Wood Fuels, LLC will receive $2,236 for wood pellet production
• Maine Woods Pellets Company, LLC will receive $6,277 for wood pellet production
• Northeast Pellets LLC will receive $624 for wood pellet production
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.
USDA Rural Development has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor. There are 69 employees working to deliver the agency’s Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/me.