Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA will soon seek proposals to study the feasibility of providing crop insurance to producers of biofuel feedstocks, including corn stover, straw and woody biomass. These feasibility studies, funded by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) will join research efforts already underway for energy cane, switchgrass and camelina.

"Providing additional risk-management tools for American farmers to produce advanced biofuels crops is an important step toward developing a thriving biofuels industry and reducing our dependence on foreign oil," says Vilsack. "Renewable energy development contributes to the Obama Administration's effort to 'win the future' by supporting America's farmers as they grow and harvest materials that can be converted into renewable energy. This effort creates new jobs and opportunities for those who live in rural America."

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 established a mandate that the American economy use 36 billion gallons of renewable transportation fuel per year in its transportation fuel supply by 2022. Of that, 20 billion gallons are targeted to come from sources such as switchgrass, energy cane, woody biomass and other non-food feedstocks.

Two contracts will be funded by USDA. Those interested in applying should refer to the solicitations which will be available on FedBizOpps or on RMA's website.