Omaha, Nebraska, Sep 12, 2013 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making payments to support the production of advanced biofuel. USDA is making nearly $15.5 million in payments to 188 producers through the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program. USDA Rural Development Acting Under Secretary Doug O'Brien made the announcement on Vilsack's behalf in Omaha, Neb., at the National Advanced Biofuels Conference. USDA remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today's announcement is one part of the Department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
"Producing advanced biofuels is a major component of the drive to take control of America's energy future by developing domestic, renewable energy sources," O'Brien said. "These payments represent the Obama Administration's commitment to support an 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy."
The funding is being provided through USDA's Advanced Biofuel Payment Program, which was established in the 2008 Farm Bill. Under this program, payments are made to eligible producers based on the amount of advanced biofuels produced 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; vegetable oil; and animal fat.
O'Brien noted that today's announcement serves as another reminder of the importance of USDA programs for rural America and a reminder of the need for Congress to get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done as soon as possible.
"Job seekers in rural America need new and expanded investments in renewable energy, biofuel and bio-based product manufacturing – all of which can help create jobs in rural areas," said O'Brien.
Through the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program and other USDA programs, the department is working to support the research, investment and infrastructure necessary to build a strong biofuels industry that creates jobs and broadens the range of feedstocks used to produce renewable fuel. More than 290 producers in 47 states and territories have received $211 million in payments since the program's inception. It has supported the production of more than 3 billion gallons of advanced biofuel and the equivalent of more than 36 billion kilowatt hours of electric energy.
“Kentucky is firmly committed to advancing renewable energy,” said Thomas G. Fern, State Director for USDA Rural Development in Kentucky. “I am pleased that six of our renewable energy producers have been selected to receive advanced biofuel producer payments.” According to Fern, those six producers are:
Bluegrass Biodiesel, LLC of Falmouth, Ky. (Pendleton County)
Anderson Hardwood Pellets, LLC of Louisville, Ky. (Jefferson County)
Southern Kentucky Pellet Mill, Inc. of Gamaliel, Ky. (Monroe County)
Griffin Industries, Inc. of Cold Springs, Ky. (Campbell County)
Somerset Hardwood Flooring of Somerset, Ky. (Pulaski County)
Owensboro Grain Company, LLC of Owensboro, Ky. (Daviess County)
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way - strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as the department implements sequestration - the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act.
USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.