Ag Groups Oppose USDA Loan Guarantees for Troubled Ethanol Plants

In Washington, the American Meat Institute, National Chicken Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and five other groups wrote Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer to oppose federally guaranteed loans to ethanol makers facing losses because of the crash in corn and ethanol prices

In Washington, American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Poultry Council and five other ag groups wrote a letter to oppose federally guaranteed loans to ethanol makers facing losses because of the crash in corn and ethanol prices. The USDA denied that the proposed assistance is a bailout for ethanol, saying that any rural businesses that meet certain requirements are eligible for up to $25 million in loan guarantees.

  • The U.S. Agriculture Department awarded $97 million in loan guarantees to four biofuel projects. Clean Burn Fuels received $35 million for an ethanol plant in Hoke County, N.C.; Blackhawk Biofuels received $27.5 million for a biodiesel plant near Freeport, Ill.; Appling County Pellets LLC received $19.5 million for a wood pellet fuel plant in Appling County, Ga.; and National Trail Biodiesel received $15 million for a biodiesel plant in Jasper County, Ill. The list is notable for the continuing concentration of grants in the Midwest and Southeast. The wood pellet project is part of a continuing effort to provide more funding for adding renewable energy to electricity generation. The awards are also notable for the support of biodiesel.
  • In North Dakota, Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer gave $35 million to 43 states for renewable energy systems and ag-related energy efficiency improvements. 639 individuals and businesses in 43 states received support.