May 18, 2004 (ENS): The brains and spinal cords
of cattle that must be removed from the food chain for
fear of mad cow disease will be turned into fuel under
a new $50 million loan guarantee pilot program announced
by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday.
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said the project is
aimed at developing renewable energy systems from the
use of livestock as a raw material.
“This program will provide guaranteed loans for
rural small businesses to develop the means to effectively
destroy these specified risk materials from cattle while
providing a bio-based source of energy,” Veneman
In January, the USDA expanded the list of specified risk
materials prohibited in the food supply as an additional
firewall to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or
mad cow disease. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration
announced that it intends to prohibit specified risk materials
in food regulation by the agency.
Faced with mountains of unwanted cattle brains and spinal
cords, the USDA has crafted this plan to turn a liability
into an asset.
The USDA anticipates that up to three awards will be made.
There is no dollar restriction associated with any one
award provided the amount requested is within the $50
million allotted. The amount of the loan guarantee cannot
exceed 50 percent of the total project cost.
Applicants must submit their application and one copy
to the USDA State Rural Development Office where the proposed
project is located or where the borrower is headquartered.
The notice of funding availability appears in today's
Federal Register. All applications must be received by