Enviva, the largest industrial wood-pellet manufacturer in the world, launched what it calls an “enhanced and expanded global sourcing policy” last week in partnership with Earthworm Foundation, a non-profit that helps businesses reform their supply chains. The announcement came a few weeks after the publication of a report by FERN, in collaboration with The Weather Channel, spotlighting the company’s environmental practices.
Wood-processing plants around the South are turning trees into pellets and then exporting them to be burned in electricity plants in the EU. It's part of the EU's initiative to generate "green" electricity, but scientists question whether burning trees is really carbon neutral, according to FERN's latest story with The Weather Channel.(No paywall)
"More than trees have withered in California's sun. The state's biomass energy plants are folding in rapid succession, unable to compete with heavily subsidized solar farms, many of which have sprouted up amid the fields and orchards of the San Joaquin Valley," reports the Los Angeles Times.
"Incentives will resume this summer for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners interested in growing and harvesting biomass for renewable energy," said the USDA in announcing a "restart" of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP).
More than 200,000 tons of dead or diseased trees were removed from national forests this summer through a program that offsets the harvest and transport cost for delivering plant materials to biomass refineries, said USDA.
Congress included $625 million in guaranteed funding for bio-energy programs in the 2014 farm policy law, says Jonathan Coppess of U-Illinois at farmdoc daily.
Energy crops may be best suited for planting on marginal land or in Southeastern states when compared to likely earnings from corn and soybeans, the two most widely grown U.S. crops, say two researchers from the University of Illinois.
The Agriculture Department said it will release the full results of the Census of Agriculture on May 2, after more than a year of work.
The government could issue an updated target for biofuel use by late spring or early summer, said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy at the North American Agricultural journalists meeting.