This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 09, 2005

USDA Offers Up to $14.3 Million for Biomass Energy Projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on March 4th the availability of $14.3 million in grants for value-added agriculture business ventures. In keeping with a trend started in 2003, the USDA is giving priority consideration to grant applications that dedicate at least 51 percent of the project costs to biomass energy. To date, the USDA has provided more than $100 million in value-added grants, including grants to more than 80 energy projects that related to producing biomass energy, generating wind power, or producing biodiesel or ethanol fuel. Grant applications are due by May 6th. See the USDA press release.

The Value-Added Producer Grant program was authorized by the Agriculture Risk Protection Act of 2000 and the 2002 Farm Bill. Grants are available to independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer or rancher cooperatives, and producer-based business ventures. The grants are available for the planning activities needed to establish a viable marketing opportunity for an agricultural product (such as a biobased fuel or co-product) or to acquire working capital to operate a business venture (such as a biomass energy facility) that will allow producers to better compete in domestic and international markets. See the USDA's Value-Added Producer Grants Web page.