BioEnergy Research

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 379–383 | Cite as

The Origin of the USDA Regional Biomass Research Centers

  • J. J. SteinerEmail author
  • M. A. Buford


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Regional Biomass Research Centers (RBRC) were created to contribute to the planning, research, and development of entire long-term sustainable biofuel production supply chains based on agricultural and forest-based feedstocks. The intent of the centers is to provide a catalyst that links feedstock genetic development, sustainable production and management, logistics, conversion, co-product production, distribution, and market demand suited to the available economic, social, and natural resources within different regions. The centers provide a coordinated, region-based research focus designed with relatively short-term deliverables to help accelerate the commercial production of biomass and other biofuel feedstocks. The centers provide a leadership structure for coordinating biomass research across the country, providing a national perspective that complements other USDA agency efforts designed to help US rural communities participate in the emerging biofuels and biobased products economy. Through coordination with the RBRC, USDA research and service agency programs and resources have been leveraged with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other federal department, university, and private industry efforts to help accelerate commercial advancement of advanced biofuel production to promote rural economic opportunities and achieve transportation biofuel policy goals.


Biofuels Sustainability Policy Rural development Growing America’s Fuel 



U.S. Department of Agriculture


U.S. Department of Energy


Environmental Protection Agency


Agricultural Research Service


Forest Service Research and Development


Department of Defense


Regional Biomass Research Centers



The research referenced was funded in part by the Agricultural Research Service and Forest Service Research that are intramural research agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Funding was also provided by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Energy Biomass Technology Office and DOE Office of Science. The authors thank the guest editors of this issue for their help in arranging the wide spectrum of articles that are presented. Our gratitude to: Ronald Zalesny, USFS, Rhinelander, WI; Judy Libra, ATB, Potsdam, Germany; Douglas Karlen, USDA-ARS, Ames, IA; William Anderson, USDA-ARS, Tifton, GA; Tim Strickland, USDA-ARS, Tifton, GA; Michael Casler, USDA-ARS, Madison, WI; Kevin Smith, University of Melbourne, Australia; Sudhagar Mani, University of Georgia, Athens, GA; and Marilyn Buford, USFS, Washington, DC. Finally, special recognition is given to Dr. Maura O’Neill, former Chief of Staff to Undersecretary Rajiv Shah of the USDA Research, Education, and Economics mission area, who initially conceived the concept of the regional biomass research centers as a vehicle for advancing the development of advanced biofuels needed to help achieve the nation’s needs for renewable fuels and other biobased products.

Authors’ Contributions

JJS and MAB outlined, wrote, and edited the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Program Leader for Agronomy, Institute of Food Production and Sustainability, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)Waterfront CentreSW WashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Forest Service Research and DevelopmentU.S. Forest Service, USDAWashingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations