Press Releases

Delaware Delegation & USDA Rural Development Announce $5.5 Million For Delaware's First Biodiesel Manufacturing Facility

Helped secure federal dollars for cutting edge, renewable energy plant

Sep 17 2004

WILMINGTON, DE September 17, 2004 - Delaware's Congressional Delegation today joined USDA Rural Development to announce a federal funding package totaling $5.5 million that will support the construction of Delaware's first biodiesel manufacturing facility. In fact, according to the National Biodiesel Board, this will be the first biodiesel facility in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The plant is scheduled for groundbreaking next week. The financing for the construction of the manufacturing facility will be provided by Farmers & Merchants Bank and Trust in Hagerstown, MD and guaranteed by USDA Rural Development's Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan program. The $5 million loan will be made by Farmers & Merchants Bank and a 90% guarantee by USDA will provide the protection of the U.S. government for the financing of the project. A $500,000 federal energy efficient improvement grant will also be used to help with the construction. "I am pleased to see the 2002 Farm Bill paying big dividends for Delaware and our farmers. Rarely do you see the kind of synergy and positive results this legislation is producing," said Senator Joe Biden. "The Biodiesel plant in Delaware will be good for our farmers, good for our environment and good for our efforts to approach energy independence. This is just win, win, win. I commend all the hard work by Delaware's agricultural community and the staff of USDA which have brought us to this milestone." "The United States imports almost 60 percent of oil we use, some of it from nations hostile to our own. As such, we should be doing everything we can to develop alternative fuel sources here at home. Right now, we have the technology to take oil from Delmarva soybeans, mix it with traditional diesel fuel, and create a new, cleaner-burning fuel for more environmentally friendly vehicles. A biodiesel plant here in Delaware would help pave the way toward a more energy-independent United States, a cleaner environment and a healthier economy for Delaware. The plant would help out the local economy by supplying new jobs for the region and creating a new source of income for our soybean farmers," said Senator Tom Carper. "Committing federal dollars to help increase the use of a domestically-grown renewable energy resource is a smart investment by the federal government. Not only will the Mid-Atlantic Biodisel Company move this nation towards more environmentally friendly sources of energy, it will also reduce our reliance on foreign oil. This plant will hopefully stimulate economic growth in Delaware and grow the region into the nation's foremost producer of soy and soy-biodiesel products," said Congressman Mike Castle. Biden voted for the 2002 Farm Bill which created the program responsible for the funding today. Carper and Castle both wrote letters of support to Secretary Veneman in July urging her swift approval of the funding request. In 2003, the project was launched with a Rural Business Enterprise Grant from USDA Rural Development for $60,000 to fund a feasibility study for the project. The total USDA Rural Development investment in the biodiesel facility is $5,560,000. The facility will be constructed on an approximate 6-acre abandoned railroad yard in Clayton, Delaware. The estimated total project cost is $8,300,000. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman this week announced the selection of Mid-Atlantic Biodiesel as one of 167 projects selected nationwide for funding in support of President Bush's renewable energy efforts. The renewable energy program was created as part of the 2002 Farm Bill to assist farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses develop renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. The $500,000 grant to Mid-Atlantic is the first ever Delaware project to receive funding through this program. Although USDA Rural Development has very few farm programs, they have many different programs that are designed to improve the quality of life and increase economic opportunity in rural America. The mission of the agency is probably best described in their new tagline - Committed to the future of rural communities. "Agriculture is Delaware's number one industry," said Marlene Elliott. "Rural Development is delighted to support this project that will help preserve and promote agriculture for years to come." USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improving the quality of life of rural residents. Rural Development provides equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available by calling the Rural Development State Office at (302) 697-4300 or by visiting their website at www.rurdeve.usda.gov.