The USDA Thursday announced a nearly $15.5 million payment program to 188 advanced biofuels producers in an effort to satisfy President Obama's energy plan and expand the rural economy, the agency said.
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.
"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 payments are made even during times of financial uncertainty to provide for rural jobs and broaden the range of feedstocks that can be used to producer renewable fuel. They are a part of a larger program, the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program, which has already divvied out $211 million in payments to 290 producers in 47 states.
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.
"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," O'Brien said.
Examples of the work of two of the program's recipients were highlighted Thursday.
Minnesota-based company Riverview, LLP, will be receiving an $8,040 payment to help offset the cost of producing electricity from two anaerobic digesters. The digesters use manure from two of the company's dairy operations, and have the capacity to power 400 homes a year.
American Biodiesel, Inc. (dba Community Fuels) in Encinitas, Calif., also received a payment Thursday. It uses canola and soybean oil to produce advanced biofuel. In the past, the company has used funds from USDA's payment program to install equipment to increase production at its refinery in Stockton, Calif.