The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a target for biofuels to make up 30% of transportation fuels in the US by 2050.
Announced by secretary of agriculture Sonny Perdue as part of the new Agriculture Innovation Agenda, the agency stated: “We can increase the production of renewable energy feedstocks and set a goal to increase biofuel production efficiency and competitiveness to achieve market-driven blend rates of 15% of transportation fuels in 2030 and 30% of transportation fuels by 2050.”
The agenda is being touted as a department-wide initiative to align resources, programmes and research to position American agriculture to better meet future global demands. The USDA will stimulate innovation to help agriculture achieve a 40% increase in production by 2050, while reducing its environmental impact by half.
“We know we have a challenge facing us: to meet future food, fibre, fuel, and feed demands with finite resources,” commented Perdue. “USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda is our opportunity define American agriculture’s role to feed everyone and do right as a key player in the solution to this challenge.
“This agenda is a strategic, department-wide effort to better align USDA’s resources, programmes, and research to provide farmers with the tools they need to be successful. We are also continually mindful of the need for America’s agriculture industry to be environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable to maintain our position as a leader in the global effort to meet demand. We are committed as ever to the environmental sustainability and continued success, of America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers.”
In addition to the 30% biofuels target, the USDA has set benchmarks by which to measure progress. These include: reduce food loss and waste by 50% in the US by 2030; achieve net reduction of the agricultural sector’s current carbon footprint by 2050; and reduce nutrient loss in water by 30% nationally by 2050.
Welcoming the news, which is likely to have a positive impact on demand for higher blend ethanol fuels, Growth Energy's CEO Emily Skor said: “We applaud USDA for setting these clear goals for E15 and E30, and Growth Energy’s members are ready to deliver ahead of their timetable. Biofuels are a critical piece of meeting the demands of our future transportation needs while lowering our carbon footprint. Today’s recognition by USDA and Secretary Purdue’s unwavering support will help drive biofuel innovation in the coming years and decades. We look forward to continuing our longstanding working relationship with USDA to ensure that Americans across the country have expanded access to cleaner fuels like E15 and E30 at the pump.”
The full Agricultural Innovation Agenda can be accessed here.
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