Iowa Projects Awarded New Obama Administration Investments to Drive Innovations in Biofuels and Biobased Products PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 13:30

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2012 – As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to enhance U.S. energy security, reduce America's reliance on imported oil and leverage our domestic energy supply, while also supporting rural economies, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Energy today announced a $6 million investment in two Iowa projects that will drive more efficient biofuels production and feedstock improvements.

“If we want to develop affordable alternatives for oil and gasoline that will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we need investments like these projects to spur innovation in bioenergy,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “By producing energy more efficiently and sustainably, we can create rural jobs, boost rural economies and help U.S. farmers, ranchers and foresters prosper.”

“As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above strategy to deploy every available source of American energy, we continue to strive for more efficient, cost-competitive technologies to produce U.S. energy,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The investments announced today are helping to accelerate innovation across America’s growing biofuels industry, which will help to reduce our dependence on imported oil and support job creation across rural America.”

New Biomass Research and Development Initiative Investments


Through the joint Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI), USDA and the Energy Department are working to develop economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass and increase the availability of renewable fuels and biobased products. The five projects announced today will help to diversify the nation’s energy portfolio and replace the need for gasoline and diesel in vehicles.

The cost-shared projects include:

  • Quad County Corn Cooperative ($4.25 million – Galva, Iowa). This project will retrofit an existing corn starch ethanol plant to add value to its byproducts, which will be marketed to the non-ruminant feed markets and to the biodiesel industry. This project enables creation of diverse product streams from this facility, opening new markets for the cooperative and contributing to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s goals for cellulosic ethanol production and use.

Additional information on the Biomass Development and Research Initiative is available HERE.

Leveraging Genomics for More Efficient, Cost-Effective Bioenergy


Today, the Energy Department and USDA are also announcing $10 million for eight research projects aimed at applying biomass genomics to improve promising biofuel feedstocks and drive more efficient, cost-effective energy production. These projects will use genetic mapping to advance sustainable biofuels production by analyzing and seeking to maximize genetic traits like feedstock durability, how tolerant feedstocks are to various environmental stresses, and the potential for feedstocks to be used in energy production.

A full list of the projects selected today is available HERE. The projects selected today include:

  • Iowa State University ($1.4 million - Ames, Iowa). Research will explore the genetic architecture of sorghum biomass yield component traits identified using field-based analysis of the feedstock’s physical and genetic traits.

Since 2006, the Plant Feedstocks Genomics for Bioenergy research program has invested nearly $70 million helping to identify key genes affecting biomass yield and quality in feedstocks and to accelerate breeding efforts to improve bioenergy-relevant traits.

More information is available HERE.

The Energy Department also released today a new video, Biofuels 101, highlighting how technological advances are increasing biofuel efficiency and reducing production costs.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Tell Congress "Pass the Farm Bill now" PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Bruce Braley   
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 13:22
The drought in Iowa is bad. And it's just getting worse every day without rain. In fact, some farmers might even be looking at total losses this year if things don't change soon.

While we can only pray for wet weather, we can do something right now to help farmers -- and consumers -- in desperate need of our assistance.

The 2012 Farm Bill is the single most important piece of legislation affecting Iowa and Iowa's economy, but Republican leaders in the House are fighting amongst themselves in a petty tug of war. Iowa farmers don't have time for a family squabble.

What's worse is that much of the assistance to help farmers during drought has expired from the last Farm Bill and many farmers have been left without a safety net. This will be devastating for Iowa's economy if Congress doesn't act now.

Join me in urging Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor to bring the Farm Bill to the Floor of the House before they leave for vacation in August.

It's not often every single member of the Iowa Congressional delegation -- Republicans and Democrats -- agree on something. And passing the Farm Bill immediately makes real Iowa common sense for farmers, consumers, and Iowa's economy.

There's no excuse - Republican leaders in the House must bring up this bill for a vote. Providing relief to our family farmers now will have a big impact on Iowa's economy and assist farmers trying to make ends meet during this horrible disaster.

Tell Republican leaders in Congress: Bring up the Farm Bill for an up or down vote now! Iowans deserve your immediate action.

Thanks for all you do.


Braley Moves to Force House Vote on Farm Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 13:08

Initiates process that would require vote if majority of House members sign on to so-called “discharge petition”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today announced an effort that could effectively force the House of Representatives to vote on the 2012 Farm Bill before House members leave Washington for the August Recess.

If Congress fails to act by September 30th, the Farm Bill will expire and revert to the outdated 1949 version of the law.  Congressional inaction on the Farm Bill is contributing to a sense of anxiety among Iowa’s farmers and agriculture producers, compounded by worsening drought conditions that are threatening crops across the state.  Already, much of the disaster assistance funding in the 2008 Farm Bill has expired, leaving many farmers without a safety net this year.

House leaders have blocked the chamber from voting on the Farm Bill prior to a month-long August recess.  Braley’s bill would force leadership to take up the Farm Bill, ensuring a vote that would give farmers much-needed economic certainty and security.

“Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on much these days, but I believe they can come together to get the Farm Bill passed,” said Braley.  “Passing the Farm Bill now makes real Iowa common sense for farmers, consumers, and Iowa's economy.  House leaders should not delay this vote any longer, and I’m taking action today to force a vote on this important issue.  Iowans are depending on the Farm Bill for their future and cannot wait another five weeks to know the path forward.”

House rules provide that a bill must receive an up or down vote if more than 218 members sign a document known as a ‘discharge petition.’  Braley’s has taken the first steps to initiate the discharge petition process, creating a path forward that would circumvent House leaders’ hold on the Farm Bill.

The Farm Bill is critically important for Iowa farmers and Iowa’s economy, and would bolster the safety net for those struggling from this summer’s drought. The hot weather and lack of rain have left farmers vulnerable to weak crops and struggling livestock.

Last week, Braley authored a letter, co-signed by the entire Iowa delegation, encouraging the House leaders to take up the Farm Bill.  On Friday, Braley toured the farm of Gary and Vicki Owens near Palo to see firsthand what Iowa farmers are facing in this summer’s drought.

A version of the Farm Bill has already passed through the Senate, and a committee in the House endorsed a version of the Farm Bill that was supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

# # #

Braley to Announce New Steps to Force Farm Bill Vote in Weekly Conference Call PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 08:39

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) will hold his weekly press conference call with Iowa reporters this morning at 10:30am CDT.

Braley will announce new steps he’s taking to get the US House to hold an up-or-down vote on the Farm Bill.  House leaders have refused to schedule a vote on the Farm Bill, despite a number of disaster assistance programs from the 2008 Farm Bill expiring and Iowa farmers suffering through a worsening drought this summer.

WHAT: Bruce Braley’s weekly press call with Iowa reporters

WHEN:  TODAY, Wednesday July 25, 2012

11:30am EDT // 10:30am CDT

Lt. Gov. Simon to talk drought, rural issues in the Quad Cities PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Justin Stofferahn   
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 14:58

MOLINE – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will visit the Quad Cities on Wednesday and Thursday to chair meetings of the Mississippi River Coordinating Council and the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council.


Before the river council meeting Wednesday afternoon, Simon will discuss the state’s response to recent drought conditions, the status of Governor Quinn’s request for a nearly statewide disaster declaration that includes Rock Island County, and the impact the drought is having on navigation along the Mississippi River. To date, 26 counties have been declared federal disaster areas due to drought and Quinn has requested 76 more be added to the list.


At the rural affairs council meeting Thursday morning, Simon will release the findings of her rural listening posts, which collected quality of life data from Illinois residents in six rural communities earlier this year (Carbondale, Freeport, Gibson City, Mattoon, Peoria and Quincy).


More than half of participants in the rural listening posts predicted their quality of life will improve in the next five years and cited job creation, education funding and affordable healthcare as top priorities.


EVENT: Mississippi River Coordinating Council meeting

DATE: Wednesday, July 25

TIME: 1:15 p.m. media availability, 1:30 meeting start

LOCATION: WIU Quad Cities Riverfront Campus, Rock Island County Board of Supervisors Room, 3300 River Drive, Moline


EVENT: Governor’s Rural Affairs Council meeting

DATE: Thursday, July 26

TIME: 9:45 a.m. media availability, 10 a.m. meeting start

LOCATION: WIU Quad Cities Riverfront Campus, Rock Island County Board of Supervisors Room, 3300 River Drive, Moline



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