USDA seeks public input on climate-smart practices for biofuel feedstocks Sarah Gonzalez June 27, 2024

USDA seeks public input on climate-smart practices for biofuel feedstocks

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has initiated a Request for Information (RFI) to gather insights from the public regarding the quantification, reporting, and verification of the impact of climate-smart farming practices on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with U.S.-grown biofuel feedstock crops.

The input is being collected to establish “voluntary standards for biofuel feedstocks grown with practices that mitigate GHG emissions and/or sequester soil carbon,” USDA said. These standards, authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, would be available for consideration in clean transportation fuel policies to incentivize climate-smart biofuel feedstock crops.

While the RFI is not specific to the 45Z clean fuel production tax credit under development at the Treasury Department, findings could be incorporated into the credit and other clean aviation fuel programs, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

USDA is seeking feedback on topics including:

  1. Biofuel feedstock crops and practices for consideration in USDA’s analysis.
  2. Scientific data, information, and analysis for consideration in quantifying the greenhouse gas emissions outcomes of climate-smart agricultural practices and conventional farming practices.
  3. Records, documentation, and data necessary to provide sufficient evidence to verify practice adoption and maintenance.
  4. Systems used to trace feedstocks throughout the biofuel supply chain.
  5. Third-party verification of practice adoption and maintenance.

“Currently, clean fuel transportation policies do not distinguish between how crops are grown – whether with all conventional practices or one or more climate-smart practices,” USDA stated. “Accurate quantification and verification are important to ensure that net GHG emissions reductions are real. Improving the ability to accurately quantify and verify the GHG outcomes of climate-smart farming practices can also provide additional benefits, including improved credibility and confidence in a variety of climate-smart markets.”

The 30-day public comment period will end on July 26.