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.