U.S. cattle brains to be burned as fuel

WASHINGTON, DC, 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 said.

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 August 16.


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