The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on June 3 that the Department is providing $700 million to biofuel producers across the US who have experienced setbacks and losses during the Coronavirus pandemic.

These funds are being made available through the Biofuel Producer Program, created as part of the national Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), and include more then $486 million to be given to 62 alternative fuel producers located in communities that have been deemed socially vulnerable.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to rebuilding the rural economy after the impacts of the pandemic,” Tom Vilsack, secretary of the USDA stated in a press release on June 3. “That’s why USDA is targeting resources and investments to improve the strength and resiliency of America’s sustainable fuel markets. The investments we’re announcing today will pave the way to economic recovery for America’s biofuel producers, stimulate a critical market for U.S. farmers and ranchers, and support our nation’s transition to a clean-energy economy.”

As a result of COVID-19, the biofuel industry faced a combined loss of 3.7 billion gallons of material. In order to help combat the catastrophic loss, the USDA will be offering funds to 195 facilities to support the burgeoning industry of alternative fuels, as well as agricultural products- such as corn and soybeans- that supply biofuel production companies.

These investments will go towards supporting producers in 25 states, including North Dakota, but they’re only one of many investments that the USDA is putting into rural development. Recent funding has been provided to home and business development, safety, health care, internet access and schooling in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to rebuilding the rural economy after the impacts of the pandemic,” said Vilsack. “That’s why USDA is targeting resources and investments to improve the strength and resiliency of America’s sustainable fuel markets. The investments we’re announcing today will pave the way to economic recovery for America’s biofuel producers, stimulate a critical market for U.S. farmers and ranchers, and support our nation’s transition to a clean-energy economy.”

For more information about the USDA’s rural development projects, visit their official Rural Development page.