Bioenergy producers compete for $150 million in subsidies

WASHINGTON, DC, August 6, 2004 (ENS): The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make payments totaling up to $150 million to commercial bioenergy - ethanol and biodiesel - producers who increase their production between October 1, 2004, and September 30, 2005, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced Wednesday.

"Increased bioenergy production helps strengthen the income of soybean, corn and other producers and lessens U.S. dependence on traditional energy sources," Veneman said.

Payments will be based on bioenergy production increases from eligible commodities compared to the same time period a year earlier.

Eligible commodities are barley, corn, grain sorghum, oats, rice, wheat, soybeans, cotton seed, sunflower seed, canola, crambe, rapeseed, safflower, sesame seed, flaxseed, and mustard seed.

Also eligible under the program are cellulosic crops, such as switchgrass and hybrid poplars, as well as fats, oils, and greases - including recycled fats, oils and greases - derived from an agricultural product, and any other animal byproduct that may be used to produce bioenergy.

To be eligible under the program, ethanol producers must produce and sell ethanol commercially and have authority from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to produce ethanol for fuel or sell denatured ethanol rendered unfit for beverage use.

Biodiesel producers must produce and sell biodiesel commercially, be registered and in good standing with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and must also meet the biodiesel standard set by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

In FY 2003, ethanol producers expanded production by 607 million gallons, and biodiesel producers by 18.5 million gallons.

For the first two quarters of FY 2004, ethanol production increased 280.9 million gallons, while biodiesel production grew by 6.9 million gallons.

Signup for the fiscal year (FY) 2005 Bioenergy Program is underway and will continue until August 31. Apply online at:

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