USDA to invest $124mn in renewable energy and fertilizer production

Farmer Spraying Pesticides on Agricultural Field. Tractor Spraying Young Corn with Fertilizer.

The US Department of Agriculture’s Tom Vilsack said on Thursday that the USDA will invest $124mn in renewable energy and fertilizer production projects in 44 states in order to lower energy costs, generate new income, and create jobs for American farmers, ranchers, agricultural producers, and rural small businesses.

Secretary Vilsack made the announcement during a visit to the University of Nebraska Omaha, where he discussed the USDA’s efforts to invest in rural communities nationwide. The department said in a press release that most of the new projects are being by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act through the Rural Energy for America program, while the Fertilizer Production Expansion Program (FPEP) is funding a further project.

“Under the Biden-Harris Administration, the USDA is committed to ensuring farmers, ranchers and small businesses are directly benefitting from both a clean energy economy and a strong US supply chain,” Secretary Vilsack said. “The investments announced today will expand access to renewable energy systems and domestic fertilizer, all while creating good-paying [sic] jobs and saving people money that they can then invest back into their businesses and communities.”

The USDA noted in the press release that under the Biden administration it has invested more than $174mn in 42 projects through the FPEP. The department said that the latest tranche of financial support will provide nearly $4mn to Bluestem Systems to build facilities and purchase equipment at three locations in Iowa and Nebraska. The project is expected to yield 3,800 tons of dry fertilizer per year and 11,400 tons annually across all three facilities, which will be made available to 1,500 producers.

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