Biobased and Renewable Products News: USDA

August 22, 2013
USDA Announces Funding For Renewable Energy Projects
On August 15, 2013, USDA announced funding under its Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) for 631 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects throughout the country. About $400,000 will go to 13 projects designed to install blender pumps in gas stations, which will allow for the greater distribution of higher blends of ethanol, including E85 fuel. The ethanol industry has been calling for greater federal help on blender pumps to allow for greater distribution of E85, which can help alleviate the impending "blend ... read more >
August 15, 2013
Biofuels Industry Bolstered By Latest USDA Corn Report
On August 12, 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its "World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates" report in which it projects the U.S. will produce a record 13.76 billion bushels of corn in 2013. The report is available online. Representatives from ethanol trade groups Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) praised the news and argued that it showed the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was not contributing to higher food prices and that it "should be the last nail in the coffin of the ridiculous 'food versus fuel' ... read more >
August 2, 2013
Selection Process for Farm Bill Conference Committee Continues
It was reported last week that Senate Committee on Agriculture Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) selected the following seven Democratic Senators for the upcoming conference committee to marry the House and Senate versions of the next five-year Farm Bill: Tom Harkin (IA); Patrick Leahy (VT); Max Baucus (MT); Sherrod Brown (OH); Amy Klobuchar (MN); and Michael Bennett (CO). Yesterday, Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) issued a statement announcing that he and four other Republican Senators have been selected for the upcoming conference committee: Pat Roberts (KS), Saxby Chambliss (GA), John Boozman ... read more >
July 11, 2013
USDA Makes Important Announcements To Further Biobased Products
On Thursday, July 11, 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made two important announcements that will help promote biobased products. First, USDA announced that it has designated the following eight new biobased product categories for preferred federal procurement under the BioPreferred Program: aircraft and boat cleaners; automotive care products; engine crankcase oil; gasoline fuel additives; metal cleaners and corrosion removers; microbial cleaning products; paint removers; and water turbine bearing oils. A full list was published in the June 11, 2013, Federal Register. ... read more >
July 11, 2013
Farm Bill
On Thursday, July 11, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by a slim vote of 216-208 H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013. H.R. 2642 is essentially the version of the five-year Farm Bill that the House defeated last month, H.R. 1947, including amendments that passed during debate on that bill and excluding the nutrition part (food stamp) of the bill. H.R. 1947 did not include mandatory funding for energy programs or expanded eligibility for renewable chemicals. Generally, Democrats voted against H.R. 1947 because they disagreed with the steep ... read more >
June 13, 2013
USDA Announcement Of Funds For Advanced Biofuel Projects
On June 11, 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a Federal Register notice regarding the availability of funds for eligible advanced biofuel projects. A total of $98.6 million is authorized to make payments to eligible advanced biofuels producers. Of the $98.6 million, $68.6 million will go to projects with Fiscal Year 2013 production, and the remaining $30 million is for payments for projects with production in prior fiscal years. According to the announcement, "Applications for participating in the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program for Fiscal Year 2013 were ... read more >
June 13, 2013
USDA Amends Guidelines For Designating Biobased Products For Federal Procurement
In a June 11, 2013, final rule, the USDA amended the Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement, adding eight sections to designate product categories within which biobased products will be afforded federal procurement preference: aircraft and boat cleaners; automotive care products; engine crankcase oil; gasoline fuel additives; metal cleaners and corrosion removers; microbial cleaning products; paint removers; and water turbine bearing oils. USDA also added a new countertops subcategory to the existing composite panels product category. The amendments also ... read more >
May 9, 2013
Ongoing Legislative Efforts To Pass A Farm Bill With A Strong Energy Title
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack is scheduled to testify today, May 9, 2013, on the Administration's Fiscal Year 2014 USDA budget request before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies. Secretary Vilsack's testimony comes as the Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled to mark up its version of the next five year Farm Bill on Tuesday, May 14, and the House Agriculture Committee is set to mark up its version of the legislation on Wednesday, May 15. On May 6, Senators Al ... read more >
May 9, 2013
USDA Awards Grants For Biobased Initiatives
On May 1, 2013, USDA announced that it was awarding 110 Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG), including eleven for renewable chemicals and biobased products. The USDA press release states that these eleven awards "include grants to convert: corn stover to anhydrous ammonia; miscanthus fiber, wood and goat manure into biochar and enhanced compost; and sorghum to electricity and fertilizer." The press release is available online and the complete list of the awardees is available ... read more >
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