USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack told attendees at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo Thursday that the industry is helping create "a new dynamic in America."
"The biodiesel industry is making us a more secure country, and the most exciting piece is that it's not just limited to fuel and energy," Vilsack said. "You've given birth to a biobased economy, and with that the possibility of a new American economy."
He said dependence on foreign oil is less than 50% and dropping in large part because of the advancements this industry has made, all while boosting farm income.
"It's helping to promote job growth, it provides greater consumer choice, and reduces our dependence on foreign oil," Vilsack said, reiterating his support for the Renewable Fuels Standard.
"The reason you're being challenged is because you're winning," Vilsack said of opponents' hurdles. "These challenges are a reflection of the good work you've done over last 20 years. But there's more work to do.
"You have the power to make us more energy secure, and still create enough food and fiber for the world. That's an amazing opportunity worth fighting for," Vilsack said.
The National Biodiesel Board praised Vilsack as one of the strongest advocates for renewable fuels in the nation, and presented him with the National Energy Leadership Award.
"You went to bat for us in the successful expansion of the RFS, and for an issue like ours to go all the way to the top is extraordinary," Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board said to Vilsack. "We can't thank you enough for your leadership."