A project to grow switchgrass in Kansas and Oklahoma is among four announced Tuesday by the Agriculture Department.
The project under the Biomass Crop Assistance Program is sponsored by Abengoa Biofuels, which has been designated to grow up to 20,000 acres of switchgrass. The project area will surround an Abengoa biomass conversion plant in Hugoton.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also announced projects in California, Montana, Oregon and Washington for the production of renewable energy crops to make ethanol or other liquid biofuels. A release from the Agriculture Department estimated that the projects would create more than 3,400 jobs in agriculture, biofuels and related sectors and provide the crops to produce more than 2 million gallons of biofuels annually when full production was achieved.
"The Obama Administration is committed to providing financial opportunities to rural communities, farmers and ranchers to produce biomass which will be converted to renewable fuels and increase America's energy independence," Vilsack in the release. "The selection of these project areas is another step in the effort to assist the nation's advanced biofuel industry produce energy in commercial quantities from sustainable rural resources. This effort will create jobs stimulate rural economies across the nation."
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The biofuels program was created in the 2008 Farm Bill.
Earlier this year, USDA announced five other project areas, including ones in Kansas and Missouri.