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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Support for a New Bio-Based Chemical Production Facility in Louisiana

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA has approved a loan guarantee of $25 million to Myriant Corporation to help construct a bio-based production facility in Lake Providence, La.

"This project will support the President's "all-of-the-above" energy strategy and create job opportunities for American workers," said Vilsack. "The facility will bring opportunity to an area of Louisiana that has been battered by hurricanes, and has lacked new development. It will also expand a market for farmers."

The facility will make succinic acid, which is used primarily as a sweetener within the food and beverage industry. Currently it is made from butane, using petrochemicals, but the new plant will convert grain sorghum, an actual food source and a sustainable resource source, into succinic acid and ammonium sulfate. It is expected to produce 15,000 tons per year of succinic acid and 18,000 tons per year of ammonium sulfate.

Myriant is the first bio-based chemical company to receive funding under USDA Rural Development's Business and Industry Guarantee program, which supports local rural businesses and helps create or retain jobs. This funding is an example of the many ways that USDA is helping revitalize rural economies to create opportunities for growth and prosperity, support innovative technologies, identify new markets for agricultural producers, and better utilize our nation's natural resources.

The Obama Administration is working to promote domestic production of renewable energy to create jobs, reduce dependence on foreign oil, combat global warming, and build stronger rural economy. USDA is working to develop the national bio-based products industry producing energy and goods from non-food sources in every region of the country.

The Myriant facility also received $44 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and an additional $10 million from the Louisiana State Department of Transportation for infrastructure improvements.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development 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.

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