“Farm to Fly” renewal affirms importance of aviation biofuels industry
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood have extended an agreement for their agencies to work together toward generating one billion gallons of renewable aviation fuels by 2018.
By Paul Andersson
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood have extended an agreement for their agencies to work together toward generating one billion gallons of renewable aviation fuels by 2018. The “Farm to Fly” program, started in 2010, is intended to accelerate the availability of a commercially viable and sustainable aviation biofuel industry in the United States. The program is helping to establish regional supply chains and support rural development in order to increase domestic energy security, and will be extended for five more years.
In the midst of multiple attempts by oil companies to reduce advanced biofuel blend mandates, repeal the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS2) entirely, and kill any and all competition to the fossil fuel industry, the Obama administration’s move to extend the Farm to Fly initiative symbolizes a renewed investment in an industry that will benefit Americans with jobs, energy security, and environmental protections. In addition, it provides a market signal to investors who, without strong policy and public backing of this industry, have kept many investments sidelined due to the risk of the industry not taking off.
"We want to re-affirm the importance of this particular industry in this administration," Vilsack told reporters at the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference in Washington DC. “By continuing to work together to produce American made ‘drop-in’ aviation fuels from renewable feedstocks, we will create jobs and economic opportunity in rural America, lessen America’s reliance on foreign oil and develop a thriving biofuels industry that will benefit commercial and military enterprises.”
The 2012 Farm to Fly report, summarizing the state of the industry and providing recommendations for further development, references the work of Climate Solutions and many of our partners as the building blocks for industry success in regions across America. The Farm to Fly initiative has been a model for industry-building by sharing risks, responsibilities, and investments across both the public and private sectors. Boeing, US Department of Defense, and Airlines for America are three key groups whose support for this initiative represents the buy-in of hundreds of agencies and corporations around the world.
The renewed agreement between USDA and DOT will reportedly focus on deeper analysis of feedstock options, supply chains, partnership-building, communications, and continued report outs of industry progress. Climate Solutions’ Sustainable Aviation Fuels program is actively engaging with these priorities as well, specific to Northwest industry development and sustainable feedstock production. We look forward to continued engagement with Farm to Fly over the next five years.