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Renewable energy at USDA

USDA is “working hard to unleash the power of America’s innovators and entrepreneurs to build a green energy economy,” blogged Sec. Tom Vilsack yesterday evening.

“By producing renewable energy — especially biofuels — America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities have incredible potential to help ensure our nation’s energy security, environmental security, and economic security,” wrote Vilsack.

In the blog he listed ways USDA is helping create green energy jobs, including:

• USDA support to help private companies create hundreds of jobs building three new refineries producing advanced biofuels.

• Establishing five regional research centers working to produce profitable biofuels a range of feedstocks.

• Funding feasibility studies into bioenergy projects across the country.

• A Biofuels Roadmap to determine the next steps in growing the biofuels economy.

• USDA invested over $1 billion in 2010 to improve the supply chain of biofuels and bioenergy, from research and development, to production and commercialization.

• Incentives to help encourage producers to grow new feed stocks — finalizing the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, which has already provided $240 million to help producers defray the cost of production, storage and transportation.

• Working to expand the number of convenient locations where consumers can obtain higher blends of biofuels.

• Working with the Department of the Navy to help build a green fleet, and with the Federal Aviation Administration to help the commercial airline industry move towards using biofuels to power jets.

For more, read Vilsack’s blog on USDA’s web site.

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