Biofuels Center of NC Looks Back at the First Four Years

On Thursday, the Biofuels Center of North Carolina held an open house and tour at the former Oxford Tobacco Research Station outside of Oxford. The event was to show the accomplishments the center has made in just four short years the Center has made great strides in second, and beyond generation biofuel production. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack was on hand of the event:

“Let me start by suggesting that what you are doing here is not just important for North Carolina, but it is extremely important for the entire country.”

Of course, the purpose of ethanol and biofuel production is to reduce the US dependence on foreign oil. Vilsack points out that has happened in just three years:

“It is about reducing our reliance on foreign oil. Just three years ago in 2009 we were importing 62% of our oil from foreign nations, some of which were not particularly friendly to the US. Today we are at 45%”

The livestock industry has railed against biofuels…corn-based ethanol in particular because government tax incentives have been blamed for driving up the cost of corn, both for feed and ethanol. Vilsack defended corn used for ethanol:

“When ethanol is produced, a third of the production ends up being livestock feed. Its helping the livestock industry with greater and more efficient gains.”

But, that doesn’t help the poultry industry…for which Vilsack had no clear answer:

“We are looking for ways we can find new and creative ideas for the poultry industry. Bottom line is that we need all forms of agriculture and the diversification of markets. We want to encourage young people to get into this business.”

NCDA Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr. Richard Reich explained that the research into the next generation of biofuels is just beginning in Oxford:

“Research has been going on at this location for a long time, in September we will celebrate our 100th anniversary of this research station. We have been growing crops and ideas and sharing knowledge for a long time.”

To learn more about the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, visit their website biofuelscenter.org.


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