Missouri biofuel entities now eligible for $200,000 grant

By Missouri Department of Agriculture | June 08, 2020

On June 4, the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority announced the creation of the Biofuel Infrastructure Program to increase the availability of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel in the Show-Me State. MASBDA partnered with the Biodiesel Coalition of Missouri and the Missouri Corn Growers Association to stand up the grant program, which will support biofuel producers as they apply for federal infrastructure funding through USDA Rural Development’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program.

The MASDBA board of directors has allocated up to $2 million statewide in grant funds that may be used to fulfill up to 25 percent of the cash match obligation required for the HBIIP. The maximum grant award is $200,000 for each business entity, regardless of the number of Missouri locations operated by that entity, selected for funding by the by HBIIP.

“Biofuels are a win-win for Missouri agriculture,” said MASBDA Executive Director Jill Wood. “By creating additional demand for two of Missouri’s top commodities, corn and soybeans, we have the opportunity to reduce the cost of livestock feed for cattle, hogs and poultry. Our team at MASBDA is excited to stand in the financial gap that may help some agribusinesses from applying for these federal funds.”

A thriving biofuel industry is vital for Missouri agriculture. According to the Missouri Division of Energy, a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the biofuel industry supports more than 6,600 jobs, generates nearly $15 million in net general revenue annually and creates $542 million in new economic activity annually. 

Missouri is a national leader, ranking third in biodiesel production capacity and second in production. Five Missouri biodiesel plants currently produce more than 200 million gallons of the fuel per year.

“Expanding our biofuels infrastructure in Missouri, from fuel terminals and distribution facilities to retail locations, is an opportunity to grow the economic engine of our state,” said Biodiesel Coalition of Missouri Executive Director Tony Stafford. “Missouri is a leading state for biodiesel production, yet we use only one-third of the fuel we produce. Investing in our storage and distribution capabilities through participation in this grant program allows our dollars to stretch further and sets Missouri up to capture more of the benefits from using clean, local renewable fuels.”

Six ethanol plants across the state produce approximately 300 million gallons of ethanol and 825,000 tons of distillers grains, which is an important livestock feed additive rich in protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.

“Increasing access to biofuels, like corn-based ethanol, will help improve air quality in our communities, as well as support local ethanol plants and corn farmers,” said Missouri Corn Growers Association President Mike Moreland of Harrisonville, Mo. “Ethanol has higher octane, burns cooler and cleaner than conventional gasoline, and reduces tailpipe emissions. Investing in our state’s biofuels framework will help set the stage for the future and allow more drivers to utilize these benefits from a fuel made here in Missouri.”

Eligible entities for the state BIP mirror those eligible for the federal HBIIP and include:

    •Transportation fueling facilities – fueling stations, convenience stores, hypermarket retailer fueling stations, fleet facilities and similar entities with capital investments

    •Fuel distribution facilities – fuel and biodiesel terminals, midstream partners and similarly equivalent operations.

 

MASBDA’s application for the BIP will be available soon. Applications will be considered at the July meeting of the MASBDA board of directors to allow agribusinesses to include the award documentation in their federal HBIIP application, which is due Aug. 13, 2020. The final amount awarded by MASBDA to each agribusiness will be contingent upon notice of funding from the USDA HBIIP, as well as a contract copy between the approved agribusiness and USDA.

For more information on the Biofuel Infrastructure Program or the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority, please visit Agriculture.Mo.Gov. To contact a member of the MASBDA team, email masbda@mda.mo.gov or call (573) 751-2129.