The Origin of the USDA Regional Biomass Research Centers
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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.
KeywordsBiofuels Sustainability Policy Rural development Growing America’s Fuel
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency
Agricultural Research Service
- FS R&D
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.
JJS and MAB outlined, wrote, and edited the manuscript.
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Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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