Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on December 2 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making $5.6 million in grants to 220 producers across the nation to support the production of advanced biofuels, and is awarding more than $4 million in additional grants that will advance the bioeconomy and reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

"Producing advanced biofuel is a major component of the drive to take control of America's energy future by developing domestic, renewable energy sources," Vilsack said. "These resources represent the Obama administration's commitment to support an 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy that seeks to build a robust bio-based economy. Investments in biofuels will also help create jobs and further diversify the economy in our rural communities."

The funding for producers is being provided through USDA's Advanced Biofuel Payment Program, which was established in the 2008 Farm Bill. Under this program, payments are made to eligible producers based on the amount of advanced biofuel produced from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. Examples of eligible feedstocks include crop residue; animal, food and yard waste; vegetable oil; and animal fat.

Through the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program, USDA supports the research, investment and infrastructure necessary to build a strong biofuel industry that creates jobs and broadens the range of feedstocks used to produce renewable fuel. USDA has made more than $280 million in payments to more than 350 producers (more than 3,100 total payments) in 47 states and territories since the program's inception. These payments have supported the production of more than 5.8 billion gallons of advanced biofuel and the equivalent of more than 58 billion kilowatt hours of electric energy.