USDA Announces Biofuel Program

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced projects that will pay farmers to grow energy crops. States that are a part of this biofuel program include Missouri, Ohio, and Arkansas. The announcement of the Biomass Crop Assistance Project (BCAP) is part of a larger goal of the USDA to promote renewable, affordable energy. One of Tom Vilsack’s major goals since becoming head of the USDA has been to promote funding for ethanol research. This latest announcement furthers the commitment of the USDA to the production of ethanol.

In Missouri, for example, the BCAP is focused on the production of miscanthus, a warm season grass that can produce yields as high as 15 tons per acre. The ethanol project is receiving remarkable bipartisan support. In Missouri, Senators Claire McCaskill (Democrat) and Roy Blunt (Republican) have both announced their support for the project, citing its ability to wean the United States off of foreign oil.

Arkansas politicians have also expressed their support for the project, with Senator Mark Pryor (Democrat) praising Arkansas’ soil and climate as ideal for the production of ethanol producing crops.

The bipartisan support for the BCAP will be important in upcoming months. Given debate over the increasing federal deficits, Congress has recently been looking for ways to trim the budget, with agricultural funding often in their crosshairs. If Republican and Democratic politicians can come together to support ethanol production, then perhaps funding for these USDA projects can be continued.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer