Environmental Protection

Sustainable Bioenergy Production Supported by USDA

The USDA will be providing $10 million in research grants as an effort to expand the production of bioenergy and bio-based products.

Tom Vilsack, agriculture secretary, has announced today that $10 million grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been issued in order to help increase the production of bioenergy and bio-based products that can be used in the development of sustainable regional systems, which can also help create more jobs. Vilsack also spoke about a recent study, which has been performed by Iowa State University (ISU) found that the use of bio-based products in the manufacturing of vehicles has increased over the past few years in the U.S. Funding for the ISU research was provided by the USDA.

"USDA and President Obama are committed to producing clean energy right here at home, to not only break our dependence on foreign oil, but also boost rural economies," said Vilsack. "These projects will give us the scientific information needed to support biofuel production and create co-products that will enhance the overall value of a bio-based economy. Today, with a strong and diversified U.S. agricultural sector, the American automobile industry has a greater incentive for expanding use of bio-based products while supporting good-paying jobs here in the United States," stated Vilsack.

The grants have been awarded through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). The main purpose of the AFRI grants is to reduce the U.S. dependence on foreign oil and find more ways to produce bioenergy and bio-based products that are compatible with existing agricultural systems. A long-term goal for the research projects is to implement sustainable regional systems that will deliver liquid transportation biofuels that meet the Energy Independence and Security Act goal of 36 billion gallons per year of biofuels by 2022.

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