Secretary Tom Vilsack announces $10M grant program to create “bio-products” out of agricultural waste

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 6:19 PM CDT
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ELY, Iowa (KCRG) - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was in Ely on Tuesday to share plans for farmers across the country.

After getting a tour of Dan and Debbie’s Creamery, Secretary Vilsack announced a $10 million program from the bipartisan infrastructure law. He says the administration wants to invest in “bio-based products” to increase the use of renewable agricultural materials.

“We’ve got to create a more resilient and stronger food system in this country. We have to have one that compliments the commodity-based system we have by allowing small and mid-sized producers to have the opportunity to stay in the farming business and pass it on to the next generation,” said Vilsack.

Vilsack says the funding will create a road map for how to create these products that then can become a consumer product and boost the economy and sustainability.

“We expect and anticipate a number of publicly financed institutions, land-grant universities will apply for these funds,” he said.

Dan and Debbie’s Director of Operations, Josie Rozum says this initiative is exciting for her family’s farm and other farms like it.

“It’s really important that we come up with practices that are not only going to build soil health and crop practices, but are also going to generate revenue for different businesses, different farmers to get creative and work with other partners,” said Rozum.

Overall, the program aims to secure the future of these farms and other communities across the country.

“Now the challenge is not only to make these programs work but to make sure we formulate and fashion a farm bill, we listen to what’s happening there in the country side, we identify the need that is out there, and then begin to figure out how to creatively meet that need,” said Vilsack.

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