February 18, 2010 / 3:37 PM / 8 years ago

USDA's Vilsack backs revival of biodiesel credit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged Congress on Thursday to reinstate the $1 a gallon biodiesel tax credit, calling it “an important credit” and “a support mechanism” for renewable fuels.

The credit expired at the end of 2009.

Farm groups and allies in Congress are seeking a revival retroactive to January 1, but do not have a legislative vehicle for it.

At the Agriculture Department’s annual Outlook forum, USDA chief economist Joe Glauber said the future of soyoil as a feedstock for biodiesel is dependent on the future of the credit. Without it, other vegetable and animal oils will be more economical, he said.

USDA forecasts 2.2 billion lbs of soyoil will be used to make biodiesel this marketing year and 2.4 billion lbs in the 2010/11 marketing year, which opens Oct 1.

The United States produces about 19 billion lbs of soyoil annually.

Reporting by Charles Abbott; Editing by Carole Vaporean

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