There is established within the Department of Agriculture an agricultural bioenergy feedstock and energy efficiency research and extension initiative (referred to in this section as the “Initiative”) for the purpose of enhancing the production of biomass energy crops and the energy efficiency of agricultural operations.
(b) Competitive research and extension grants authorized
In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall make competitive grants to support research and extension activities specified in subsections (c) and (d).
(c) Agricultural bioenergy feedstock research and extension areas
(1) In general
Agricultural bioenergy feedstock research and extension activities funded under the Initiative shall focus on improving agricultural biomass production, biomass conversion in biorefineries, and biomass use by—
(A)supporting on-farm research on crop species, nutrient requirements, management practices, environmental impacts, and economics;
(B)supporting the development and operation of on-farm, integrated biomass feedstock production systems;
(C)leveraging the broad scientific capabilities of the Department of Agriculture and other entities in—
(i)plant genetics and breeding;
(iii)soil and water science;
(iv)use of agricultural waste; and
(v)carbohydrate, lipid, protein, and lignin chemistry, enzyme development, and biochemistry; and
(D)supporting the dissemination of any of the research conducted under this subsection that will assist in achieving the goals of this section.
(2) Selection criteria
In selecting grant recipients for projects under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall consider—
(A)the capabilities and experiences of the applicant, including—
(i)research in actual field conditions; and
(ii)engineering and research knowledge relating to biofuels or the production of inputs for biofuel production;
(B)the range of species types and cropping practices proposed for study (including species types and practices studied using side-by-side comparisons of those types and practices);
(C)the need for regional diversity among feedstocks;
(D)the importance of developing multiyear data relevant to the production of biomass feedstock crops;
(E)the extent to which the project involves direct participation of agricultural producers;
(F)the extent to which the project proposal includes a plan or commitment to use the biomass produced as part of the project in commercial channels; and
(G)such other factors as the Secretary may determine.
(d) Energy-efficiency research and extension areas
On-farm energy-efficiency research and extension activities funded under the Initiative shall focus on developing and demonstrating technologies and production practices relating to—
(1)improving on-farm renewable energy production;
(2)encouraging efficient on-farm energy use;
(3)promoting on-farm energy conservation;
(4)making a farm or ranch energy-neutral; and
(5)enhancing on-farm usage of advanced technologies to promote energy efficiency.
(e) Best practices database
The Secretary shall develop a best-practices database that includes information, to be available to the public, on—
(1)the production potential of a variety of biomass crops; and
(2)best practices for production, collection, harvesting, storage, and transportation of biomass crops to be used as a source of bioenergy.
(1) In general
Paragraphs (4), (7), (8), and (11)(B) of subsection (b) ofsection
450i of this title shall apply with respect to making grants under this section.
(2) Consultation and coordination
The Secretary shall—
(A)make the grants in consultation with the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board; and
(B)coordinate projects and activities carried out under the Initiative with projects and activities under section 9008 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 to ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that—
(i)unnecessary duplication of effort is eliminated or minimized; and
(ii)the respective strengths of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy are appropriately used.
(3) Grant priority
The Secretary shall give priority to grant applications that integrate research and extension activities established under subsections (c) and (d), respectively.
(4) Matching funds required
As a condition of receiving a grant under this section, the Secretary shall require the recipient of the grant to provide funds or in-kind support from non-Federal sources in an amount that is at least equal to the amount provided by the Federal Government.
(5) Partnerships encouraged
Following the completion of a peer review process for grant proposals received under this section, the Secretary may provide a priority to those grant proposals found as a result of the peer review process—
(A)to be scientifically meritorious; and
(B)that involve cooperation—
(i)among multiple entities; and
(ii)with agricultural producers.
(g) Authorization of appropriations
There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $50,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2012.
Section 9008 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, referred to in subsec. (f)(2)(B), is section 9008 ofPub. L. 107–171, which amended title III of Pub. L. 106–224, formerly set out as a note under section
8101 of this title, which was transferred to chapter 112 (§ 8601 et seq.) of this title, and repealed by Pub. L. 110–246, title IX, § 9001(b),June 18, 2008, 122 Stat. 2095.
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