"Farm to Fly" initiative includes recommendations to increase biofuels

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2012 - Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for several U.S. airlines, and Boeing released several recommendations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) yesterday for accelerating the commercial viability of aviation biofuels. The recommendations include maintaining several 2008 Farm Bill programs.  

“In the near term, accelerating the commercial production of aviation biofuels will strengthen those elements of the agricultural sector involved in the growth of biomass, the “green” technologies that process the biomass, and those who build the logistical infrastructure needed in select areas,” according to the recommendations. “Over time, the investments we make today will lessen our reliance on liquid petroleum fuels.”

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The recommendations were announced in conjunction with the publication of the working-draft “Farm to Fly” report issued by the USDA, A4A and Boeing. The Farm to Fly partnership, established in July 2010​, has a goal to advance an aviation biofuels rural-development plan. It includes a resolution to increase biomass production in the United States, specifically for commercially viable aviation fuel.

“While there has been a great deal of progress made toward the deployment of aviation biofuels, additional steps are needed to support the commercial viability of this new industry,” said A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich. “Strong support across the supply chain will help scale up production of sustainable alternative aviation fuels.”

As the lead agency responsible for feedstock development and production systems, USDA joined with A4A and the Boeing Company in the resolution. Goals include accelerating the availability of sustainable aviation biofuels in the United States, increasing domestic energy security, establishing regional supply chains and supporting rural development.

The “Farm to Fly” initiative builds on the work of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative® (CAAFI), of which A4A is a co-founding and co-leading member.

The recommended steps issued yesterday include:

-Ensure Would-Be Aviation Biofuel Suppliers and Aviation Biofuel Users have Meaningful Access to Existing Programs

-Implement, Maintain and Augment Programs in the 2008 Farm Bill and Employ them to Support Aviation Biofuel. These programs include Biomass Research and Development Initiative, Biorefinery Assistance Program, The Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, Marketing Assistance Loans and Loan Deficiency Payment Programs, Biomass Crop Assistance Program, Crop Insurance Coverage for Energy Crops, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

-Leverage U.S. Government Resources to Support Promising Aviation Biofuel Deployment Projects

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