USDA's Forest Service selected 26 small businesses and community groups to receive $6.2 million in grants from the USDA for development of innovative uses for woody biomass, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced Tuesday.
The projects aim to create markets for small-diameter material and low-valued trees removed from forest restoration activities. Some possible uses of the biomass would be for renewable energy and new products.
"These grants help communities, entrepreneurs and others turn residues from forest restoration activities into marketable forest and energy products," says Johanns. "Not only will these projects reduce the risk of wildfire, they will help us to achieve the President's energy goals. Our farm bill proposals would take this effort to the next level by providing funding for research and new woody biomass projects."
The Administration's farm bill proposals would accelerate the development of new technologies to better use low-value woody biomass by authorizing $150 million in 10 year mandatory funding for Forest Service research.