Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of up to $98.6 million to support the production of advanced biofuels, and an opportunity for eligible producers to submit applications. 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.
"The United States is on the path to a cleaner, more secure energy future," Vilsack said. "By helping producers to support and expand the production of advanced biofuels, USDA is ensuring that Rural America is a key component of President Obama's 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy to reduce the Nation's reliance on foreign oil."
The payments are provided through USDA Rural Development's Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, commonly referred to as the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program. It was established in the 2008 Farm Bill to support the expansion of advanced biofuel production. Payments are made to eligible producers based on the amount of biofuel produced from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. Examples of eligible feedstocks include crop residue; animal, food and yard waste; vegetable oils; and animal fat.
Through the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels and other programs, USDA is working to support the research, investment and infrastructure necessary to build a biofuels industry that creates jobs and produces renewable fuel. Since 2009, more than 275 eligible producers in 44 states have received payments.
Producers use the payments to offset production costs and in some instances expand their operations. For example, in 2012, Sequential-Pacific Biodiesel, a biodiesel facility based in Salem, Ore., increased its annual production by approximately 1 million gallons, or about 20 percent. Sequential-Pacific primarily uses locally sourced waste vegetable oils in its production of biodiesel. The support USDA Rural Development provided through its Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels helped the company buy equipment that increased the speed of production and pre-treatment of feedstock.
Producers who did not apply for payments during the October 2012 application window may now apply for payments for third and fourth quarter fiscal year 2013 production as well as for any applicable incremental production. Applications received by July 11, 2013 will be considered for Fiscal Year 2013 funds. Complete details on how to apply and on available funding are found on Page 34975 of the June 11 Federal Register, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-06-11/pdf/2013-13778.pdf.
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 USDA 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.