Margaret McCormick: Farm Bill’s Implications on Algae

April, 2 / 2014

ABO’s board chair Margaret McCormick has authored a feature in Biomass Magazine, A Biomass Farm Bill, that details implications that the new Farm Bill has on algae and other biomass technologies.

McCormick outlines some beneficial details in the bill for the algae industry:

  • Algae farmers remain eligible to apply for USDA funding to establish their algae crops and maintain them on an annual basis.
  • Mandatory funding for the energy title.
  • The Biorefinery Assistance Program is extended beyond biofuel refining to renewable chemicals and other biobased products.
  • Producers of biofuels can apply for insurance coverage of their crops in the case of a natural disaster.

Bipartisan support for the algae industry stems from algae’s ability to produce a diverse range of products that include feed, food, fuels and chemicals. As our nation grows, there will be a high demand for these products as well as the environmental upsides of algae: processes like carbon dioxide sequestration, and biomass growth in salt water or wastewater as droughts become more prevalent.

McCormick recognizes that the Farm Bill is not perfect. Yet she is optimistic that the growing support for the algae industry reflects a realization in Congress that these new technologies will generate jobs, renewable products, and environmental benefits for the U.S.