Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development recently issued a $75 million loan guarantee to support construction of a waste-to-energy bioprocessing facility in Vero Beach, Fla., that will produce up to 8 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol and create an estimated 380 new jobs.

Vilsack toured the facility in August, meeting construction workers and company and community officials to highlight the importance of helping our nation develop the next generation of biofuels.

The facility, estimated to be completed by the summer of 2012 and being constructed by INEOS New Plant Energy, LLC, will use a gas fermentation process to produce an estimated 8 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol from citrus fruit, vegetable and yard wastes.

The plant will consume an estimated 300 dry tons per day of organic material and, in addition to ethanol, produce enough electricity to run the plant and provide for the power needs of 1,400 homes.

It is estimated the facility will create 380 jobs, including 175 construction jobs and 50 full-time jobs in Indian River County, Fla. Compared to gasoline, the ethanol produced by the plant will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 90 percent.

The loan guarantee was issued through USDA Rural Development's Biorefinery Assistance Program, authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill.

USDA Rural Development's mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure.

Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/bprogs.htm.