Biotech Updates

USDA Funds $10M Research Grant for Biofuel-based Economic Dev't

October 24, 2012

The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, a program under the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the United States Department of Agriculture has announced its $10 million grant for renewable-energy-based economy in the Northeast part of the country by utilizing marginal and abandoned land to grow energy crops such as perennial grasses and fast-growing woody plants.

The program, dubbed as the Northeast Woody/Warm-season Biomass Consortium (NEWBio) will develop perennial feedstock production systems and supply chains for shrub willow, a short-rotation woody crop and the warm-season grasses switchgrass and miscanthus. The project will promote the use of marginal farmland and abandoned lands, such as reclaimed mine sites, so that these crops will not compete for resources with food production.

NEWBio will address technical issues in three areas: human systems; plant production and genetics; and harvest, preprocessing and logistics. Integrated with these technical thrusts will be teams looking at sustainability systems, safety and health, extension and educational programs, and leadership and evaluation.

View PSU's news release at For more information about NEWBio, visit