At the USB Biobased Stakeholders Dialogue last week in Washington D.C. we heard from a number of USDA officials about what they are doing to expand biobased opportunities. One panel featured Rural Business Cooperative Service administrator Lilian Salerno, Dr. Daniel Cassidy with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and Special Assistant to the Secretary Tara Rice.
Salerno discussed how her department offers grants and loan guarantees to help fund companies with new product ideas. “We’re devoted to the agricultural sector and to those rural communities that offer so much,” she said. “This mission area is devoted to making sure there’s capitol out there for those businesses trying to create jobs and create value.” The farm bill provided funds for the Value Added Producer Grants, as well as small loan and grant programs. Interview with Lilian Salerno, USDA Rural Business Cooperative Service
Tara Rice talked about the brand new Made in Rural America initiative. “Which is a White House Rural Council partnership of folks across the federal government working together to support rural businesses that have potential to engage in international exports,” said Rice, who adds that there’s big opportunities for value added businesses in the export market. Interview with Tara Rice, Special Assistant to Secretary Vilsack