Print

USDA grants support sustainable bioenergy production

By USDA | December 17, 2012

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced $10 million in research grants to spur production of bioenergy and biobased products that will lead to the development of sustainable regional systems and help create jobs. Vilsack highlighted the announcement today with a visit to Michigan State University, a grant awardee. The Secretary also pointed to a recent study released by Iowa State University, and funded by the USDA, which finds that while the use of biobased products in automobile manufacturing is increasing, there are still many parts in the top-selling automobiles manufactured in the United States that may be replaced with biobased materials.

"USDA and President Obama are committed to producing clean energy right here at home, to not only break our dependence on foreign oil, but also boost rural economies," said Vilsack. "These projects will give us the scientific information needed to support biofuel production and create co-products that will enhance the overall value of a biobased economy. Today, with a strong and diversified U.S. agricultural sector, the American automobile industry has a greater incentive for expanding use of biobased products while supporting good-paying jobs here in the United States."

USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded the grants through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. AFRI's sustainable bioenergy challenge area targets the development of regional systems for the sustainable production of bioenergy and biobased products that: contribute significantly to reducing dependence on foreign oil; have net positive social, environmental, and rural economic impacts; and are compatible with existing agricultural systems.

The long-term goal for the research projects, which were selected through a highly competitive process, is to implement sustainable regional systems that materially deliver liquid transportation biofuels to help meet the Energy Independence and Security Act goal of 36 billion gallons per year of biofuels by 2022. The programs focus on the many environmental, social and economic benefits and trade-offs associated with decisions and policies regarding the where, when, and how of national and regional biofuels development. Projects were awarded in four areas: 1) policy options for and impacts on regional biofuels production systems, 2) impacts of regional bioenergy feedstock production systems on wildlife and pollinators, 3) socioeconomic impacts of biofuels on rural communities, and 4) environmental implications of direct and indirect land use change.

Fiscal year 2012 awards include:

University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz., $36,000

Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz., $350,000

University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., $345,689

University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., $496,996

University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., $497,851

Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, $493,210

University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, $499,009

University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, $350,000

Michigan State University, Lansing, Mich., $349,695

University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn., $498,786

University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn., $349,996

Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Miss., $273,120

University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo., $499,447

Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Mo., $94,258

Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, N.J., $349,963

Duke University, Durham, N.C., $349,084

University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla., $466,534

Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore., $349,624

Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa., $149,977

Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa., $348,959

Clemson University, Clemson, S.C., $50,000

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn., $350,000

Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $255,972

Texas AgriLife Extension, College Station, Texas, $499,619

Washington State University, Pullman, Wash., $349,993

West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.V., $349,952

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis., $496,109

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis., $345,327

USDA Agricultural Research Service, Peoria, Ill., $500,000

AFRI is NIFA's flagship competitive grant program and was established under the 2008 Farm Bill. AFRI supports work in six priority areas: plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition and health; renewable energy, natural resources and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities.

Each award was made through a competitive selection process. An external peer review panel reviewed all proposals and made award decisions based on scientific merit to the best and brightest scientists across the nation.

The ISU report, Biobased Automobile Parts Investigation, shows that "the history of biobased automobile parts begins early in the development of automobiles themselves. During the 1930s, automobile pioneer Henry Ford began developing soy-based automobile parts." The report goes on to highlight how a variety of U.S. automobile manufacturers are showing a greater commitment to exploring biobased options, and provides a variety of resources for policymakers and other decision-makers interested in exploring the issue.

Creating new markets for the nation's agricultural products through biobased manufacturing is one of the many steps the Obama Administration has taken over the past four years to strengthen the rural economy. Since August 2011, the White House Rural Council has supported a broad spectrum of rural initiatives including a Presidential Memorandum to create jobs in rural America through biobased and sustainable product procurement; a $350 million commitment in SBA funding to rural small businesses over the next 5 years; launching a series of conferences to connect investors with rural start-ups; creating capital marketing teams to pitch federal funding opportunities to private investors interested in making rural connections; and making job search information available at 2,800 local USDA offices nationwide.

 

 

1 Responses

  1. Nayu

    2013-01-07

    1

    great work. of prinicple itncrmapoe is reform (FDA) to affect the bloodflow to the industry in the current decade ahead. As you know, the world has been rapidly globalized in our industry all within the last decade and pharma is responsible for almost a quarter of the US GDP. The regulatory environment within the FDA is based upon the last decade. In the current decade, innovation is supported but VC money is better spent overseas or on other less risky ventures in technology (internet, cell based etc.). Pair this with the well organized efforts in China to become the worlds leading Pharma market and product holder. Our current legislative and regulatory/policy track supports innovation but attention to the rest of the product dev life cycle is almost completely neglected. The current state of affairs is that if innovative therapies are developed, they lack support for funding and are subject to the same hurdles as the exclusive multibillion dollar cap pharma who are really left to pick what they would like to parter/aquire to develop. For america to keep its industry and at least compete with China in the next decade, serious and radical change/attention must be paid to this later phase of the development cycle to make approvals cheaper and faster. FDA should have risk in ordering redesign of studies in late phases as many people die for lack of access to a drug. Thus, FDA reform is at the seat of brining back VC dollars, allowing innovation to be translated into actual products and jobs will be created as well as many lives saved. The money would be well spent. Small changes to 24% of the US GDP can have massive impacts in nearly all aspects of american life.Andrew

  2.  

    Leave a Reply

    Comments are closed