October 14, 2015

EPA Issues Draft GHG Analysis For Production and Transport of Jatropha Oil

On October 13, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice inviting comments on its analysis of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions attributable to the production and transport of jatropha curcas (jatropha) oil feedstock for use in making biofuels such as biodiesel, renewable diesel, jet fuel, naphtha, and liquefied petroleum gas.  This notice was issued as a result of two petitions: (1) Global Clean Energy Holdings’ and Emerald Biofuels, LLC’s petition...
October 9, 2015

Highlights From ABO Summit, Regulatory And Policy Panel

The Algae Biomass Summit, held in Washington, D.C. last week and claimed by organizers as the largest algae gathering in the world, featured the announcement of a new X-Prize to incentivize development of zero-carbon energy technologies, and some very honest and illuminating plenary sessions featuring leaders of algae businesses. More reports can be found on the Algae Biomass Organization's blog and by perusing the crowd-sourced reporting at Twitter #ABS15. BRAG's Dr. Richard E. Engler...
October 9, 2015

California Issues Draft Alternatives Assessment Analysis Guide

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has issued a draft of its Stage 1 Alternatives Analysis (AA) Guide. DTSC developed this guidance to help the regulated community conduct AA and regulatory requirements under the California Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program. Comments on the draft document can be submitted online at the SCP Information Management System (CalSafer) website and are due by October 23, 2015. DTSC is holding two webinars, the second of which...
October 9, 2015

Looking Forward To National Bioenergy Day

The third annual National Bioenergy Day will be occurring on October 21, 2015, across the United States. This special day is led by the Biomass Power Association in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, and is intended to allow organizations to showcase the benefits of bioenergy to their communities. The National Bioenergy Day 2015 Participation Guide outlines some of the best ways to participate, including interacting with local schools and media organizations, and encouraging collaboration...
October 9, 2015

DOE-Funded Algae Foundation Education Initiative Announced

On October 2, 2015, at the 2015 Algae Biomass Organization Summit, the Algae Foundation announced a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funded education initiative to enhance algae workforce development. The Algae Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to expanding the algae industry though research, education, and outreach, and plays an important part in advancing the bioeconomy beyond ethanol. The DOE-funded initiative will focus on developing a college degree in algal cultivation...
October 9, 2015

NST Council Requests Clarification Of Coordinated Framework Responsibilities

On October 6, 2015, the National Science and Technology Council, Science and Technology Policy Office published a notice of request for information (RFI) on "Clarifying Current Roles and Responsibilities Described in the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology (CF) and Developing a Long-Term Strategy for the Regulation of the Products of Biotechnology" in the Federal Register. The purpose of the RFI is to obtain relevant data that will be used to update the CF...
October 2, 2015

California Air Resources Board Votes To Re-Adopt Low Carbon Fuel Standard

On September 25, 2015, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted to readopt the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), and require a ten percent reduction in carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 2020. The LCFS targets were originally frozen due to a legal challenge. To address the court's ruling, CARB solicited public testimony before readopting an updated version of the LCFS. The modified LCFS includes protection against possible price spikes, an improved process for earning...
October 2, 2015

Pennsylvania House Of Representatives Votes To Remove Ethanol Blend Requirement

On September 25, 2015, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted to amend the Biofuel Development and In-State Production Incentive Act by removing a ten percent ethanol blend requirement that occurs when Pennsylvania ethanol production exceeds 350 million gallons. The Act was originally passed in 2008. Since the incentive was put in place, Pennsylvania has not come close to reaching the 350 million gallon threshold. The bill has been referred to the Senate Environmental Resources and...
October 2, 2015

Sustainable Federal Procurement Recommendations Published In Federal Register

On September 25, 2015, EPA published Recommendations for Specifications, Environmental Performance Standards, and Ecolabels for Federal Procurement. The notice describes EPA's recommendations for federal agencies that are purchasing environmentally-friendly products. Section 3(i) of Executive Order 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, directs federal agencies to adhere to certain environmental performance and sustainability standards when practicable. The new EPA...
October 2, 2015

EPA Holds Workshop For Input On Risk Assessment Of Genetically Engineered Algae

On September 30, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a workshop on genetically engineered (GE) algae to give stakeholders an opportunity to hear about EPA's plans for improving its risk assessments of GE algae under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Dr. Jeff Morris, Deputy Director of Programs for the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT), welcomed participants and laid out the scope of the meeting: to assist EPA in understanding the...
October 2, 2015

FTC Sends Warning To Businesses About Misleading Green Certification Marketing

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced in a September 14, 2015, press release, "FTC Sends Warning Letters about Green Certification Seals," that it sent warning letters to five providers of environmental certification seals and 32 businesses using those seals, "alerting them to the agency's concerns that the seals could be considered deceptive and may not comply with the FTC's environmental marketing guidelines." FTC states that environmental certification seals...
September 25, 2015

RFA Responds To Oregon’s Proposal To Use ILUC Emissions Under CFP

On September 15, 2015, Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) proposed using hypothetical indirect land use change (ILUC) emissions while calculating the carbon intensity of biofuels under the Clean Fuels Program (CFP). DEQ proposed the rule to update the Oregon Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy Transportation model (OR-GREET) to clarify elements before the CFP's first compliance year starting on January 1, 2016. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) released a...
September 25, 2015

Biofuel CEOs Send Letter To President Obama Over EPA RFS Proposal

On September 16, 2015, 23 biofuel executives sent a letter to President Obama regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume requirement proposal. The revised RFS allows companies to challenge the distribution requirement of renewable fuel, potentially resulting in RFS requirements being waived on a year-to-year basis. The letter outlines the concern that the proposed RFS disincentivizes oil companies to blend renewable fuels into gasoline,...
September 25, 2015

American Energy Innovation Act Of 2015 Introduced By Senate Democrats

On September 22, 2015, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Democratic Leader Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) released The American Energy Innovation Act of 2015, a bill designed to improve economic growth in the energy sector, invest in clean energy, and support research and development while cutting carbon pollution. Senator Wyden stated the proposed legislation "… is built...
September 18, 2015

Multiple Algae-related Agency And Industry Events In Coming Weeks

Stakeholders working with algae to produce chemicals and fuels should take note of these upcoming opportunities: EPA's "Workshop for Public Input on Considerations for Risk Assessment of Genetically Engineered Algae," September 30, 2015. Registration closes on September 25, 2015;   The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Request for Information (RFI) from algae stakeholders regarding their views on the requirements necessary to develop reliable and sustainable supplies of...
September 18, 2015

Wilson Center Releases Funding Report On U.S. Synthetic Biology Research

On September 16, 2015, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Wilson Center) released a funding report on U.S. Trends in Synthetic Biology Research Funding. The Wilson Center found that the U.S. invested approximately $820 million in synthetic biology research between 2008 and 2014, with nearly 60 percent of the funding coming from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The National Science Foundation (NSF) has also been funding synthetic biology research,...
September 18, 2015

USDA Announces State Finalists For Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership Grants

On September 10, 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the 21 state finalists for Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) grants to add infrastructure to supply more renewable fuel to drivers. The program was announced in May 2015, to increase the number of gas pumps dedicated to higher ethanol blends, including E15 and E85. While $100 million was made available by the USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA), applications totaled over $130 million. The grants given...
September 18, 2015

Gina McCarthy Speaks About The Future Of The RFS

On September 15, 2015, the head of the EPA, Gina McCarthy, spoke at the Growth Energy Advocacy Conference about the need of the upcoming RFS rule to encourage long-term investment in advanced biofuels to successfully grow capacity. McCarthy went on to say that the November 30, 2015, deadline is a priority for her to have the RFS rule finished to improve investment conditions for biofuels. She considers the RFS to be one of the best...
September 18, 2015

EPA Inspector General Releases Report On Need For Better Data For PGCCA

On September 15, 2015, the EPA Inspector General (IG) released a report criticizing EPA's use of unverified pollution prevention data for the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (PGCCA). The report, "EPA's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Program Lacks Adequate Support and Transparency and Should Be Assessed for Continuation," states that EPA does not verify the validity of the self-reported pollution prevention results of award applicants or differentiate...
September 18, 2015

EPA Issues Notice Of Proposed Settlement For Wyoming Refineries

On September 14, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Notice of Proposed Settlement Agreement; Request for Public Comment in the Federal Register. The notice is to settle lawsuits filed by Sinclair Wyoming Refining Company and Sinclair Casper Refining Company challenging EPA's denial of requests for extensions of small refinery temporary exemptions in August 2014. Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), small refineries are able to request an exemption of Renewable Fuel...
September 11, 2015

Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen Discusses Growth In Biofuel Industry

On September 7, 2015, Clean Technica published a conversation with Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen about opportunities for growth coming from the upcoming COP 21 Paris climate talks. Nielsen expressed a desire for a form of taxation or limits on carbon emissions to be put in place over the next 10 or 15 years. In the future, Nielsen sees biofuel production becoming more sustainable as people turn to waste biomass rather than producing biomass. The...
September 11, 2015

New Jersey Clarifies Definition Of Biofuels For Motor Fuel Tax Act Exemptions

On August 10, 2015, Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) signed into law S.B. 2599/A-4121, an act concerning the definition of certain fuels and amending P.L.2010, c.22. The legislation clarifies New Jersey's Motor Fuel Tax Act exemptions to include biofuels made from recycled grease, plants, and animal fats. In addition, biobased liquid fuel and biodiesel fuel are now defined as renewable biomass. The clarification of the biofuel tax exemption is intended to encourage biodiesel businesses to...
September 11, 2015

USDA Releases Economic Information Bulletin On International Biofuel Use

On September 1, 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Economic Research Service released the information bulletin "Biofuel Use in International Markets: The Importance of Trade." The report reviews global biofuel production from 2001 to the present, including economic impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard, biofuel exports in the U.S., and the future prospects of the U.S. biofuel trade. Biofuel production has increased dramatically from 2001 to 2013, with the fastest...
September 11, 2015

DOE Requests Information About Algal Feedstocks For Future Program Planning

On September 3, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) released a Request for Information (RFI) titled “High Yields through Productivity and Integration Research.”  BETO is seeking input from industry, academia, and other stakeholders regarding supply systems and services for the cultivation, logistics, and preprocessing of algal feedstocks. This RFI provides algae stakeholders with an...
September 4, 2015

IRS Releases Guidance On Income Tax Treatment Of 2014 Biodiesel Mixture Credits

On August 18, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a notice containing tax code information for 2014 biodiesel tax credits. The focus of the notice is the treatment of credits under Internal Revenue Code Section 6426(c) and (d) that allow a biodiesel blender to claim a credit against tax liability. Generally, the tax liability is in the form of excise taxes imposed by Sections 4041 and 4081 and is reported on Form 720, Quarterly...
September 4, 2015

Farm Service Agency Announces Start Of BCAP Enrollment

On August 19, 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced the start of enrollment for financial assistance through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) to assist in growing new sources of biomass. The enrollment is open for farmers and forest landowners who will be growing biomass for energy or designated biobased products. USDA is allocating $7.7 million for four existing BCAP project areas in New York, North Carolina, Ohio/Pennsylvania, and...
September 4, 2015

EPA To Hold Public Meeting on Biotechnology Algae

On August 25, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing a Public Meeting and Opportunity for Public Comment on Considerations for Risk Assessment of Genetically Engineered Algae. The public meeting, entitled "Workshop for Public Input on Considerations for Risk Assessment of Genetically Engineered Algae," is intended to receive public input and comments on the data needs of EPA to support risk assessments of biotechnology...
September 4, 2015

TSCA Reform: The Current State Of Play WEBINAR

Wondering where we are now and what may happen to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform when Congress is back in session? "TSCA Reform: The Current State of Play," featuring Lynn L. Bergeson and hosted by Compliance & Risks, will bring you up to date on the very latest developments in the Congress and key regulatory developments and initiatives should TSCA reform fail to materialize. If Congress is unable to enact new TSCA measures,...
September 4, 2015

DOE Announces Funding For Two Next-Generation Biofuel Projects

On August 27, 2015, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced funding for two projects focused on the development of next-generation biofuels. Texas A&M University will receive up to $2.5 million to support its efforts in developing a single-unit process to convert lignin in the production of bioplastics, and Ohio University will receive up to $1.5 million for its work in developing a continuous flow electrochemical reactor that upgrades waste lignin to biobased phenol substitutes....
September 4, 2015

Two Malama Composites BioFoams Earn USDA Biobased Product Label

On August 26, 2015, Malama Composites, Inc. (Malama) announced that its Studio BioFoam® product had earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Biobased Product Label. This news was followed by a second announcement on August 27, 2015, when another biobased foam produced by Malama, Pacific BioFoam™, also received the Biobased Product Label from the USDA. Malama is a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member that develops and manufactures foams...
August 21, 2015

Energy Information Administration Issues Short Term Energy Outlook Report

On August 11, 2015, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO) report. The report outlined expectations for regular gasoline to average a retail price of $2.41 for all of 2015, with prices for the fourth quarter of 2015 averaging $2.11. Consistently low gasoline prices, in addition to the proposed Renewable Fuel Standard volumes that were announced on May 29, 2015, have resulted in the EIA forecasting that ethanol consumption...
August 21, 2015

BESC Announces Microbe That Significantly Improves Isobutanol Yields

On August 14, 2015, the Department of Energy's (DOE) BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) announced the creation of a microbe that increases isobutanol yields by a factor of ten. The study, published in Metabolic Engineering, expanded upon a 2011 study where researchers were able to engineer genetically a microbe to produce isobutanol directly from cellulose. The new study used a higher yielding microbe with similar engineered traits, resulting in consolidated bioprocessing efficiency. This...
August 21, 2015

RFA Asks EPA To Allow Higher Ethanol Blends In Midwest Region After Refinery Outage Leads To High Pr

On August 14, 2015, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) asked EPA to waive Reid Vapor Pressure requirements for E15 and to also allow E12 blending. Reid Vapor Pressure is a measure of gasoline's volatility and is regulated in the summer months to reduce health risks caused by evaporative emissions. The request by the RFA occurred in the wake of a 240,000 barrels per day (b/d) refinery outage in Whiting, Indiana that has resulted in 50...
August 21, 2015

Expert Workshop On Biotech Algae Considerations Document Approaching

The Expert Workshop focusing on technical questions for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) development of a biotechnology algae considerations document is drawing near. The workshop will be open to the public and is scheduled for September 30, 2015, from 8:00 a.m. to noon. More details, including instructions on how to register for the workshop, will be made available in a Federal Register notice. More information regarding the biotechnology algae project is available in...
August 14, 2015

World’s Largest Succinic Acid Plant Opened In Canada

On August 6, 2015, BioAmber Inc. and Mitsui & Co., Ltd announced the opening of their joint succinic acid plant in Sarnia, Ontario. This joint venture cost approximately $141.5 million to build and has a capacity of 30,000 tons of succinic acid per year, making it the world's largest succinic acid plant. The plant uses technology to produce succinic acid from sugar at a lower cost than traditional petroleum-based production. The chemical intermediary is used...
August 14, 2015

USDA Promotes Development Of More Efficient Biomass Drying Systems

On August 3, 2015, Forest Concepts, LLC received a two-year, $499,997 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The contract will support the development of predictive control systems for biomass dryers that will increase energy efficiency and provide significant cost savings. The technologies being developed by the project can be used in wood pellet and solid biofuel product, as well as in second-generation thermochemical...
August 14, 2015

USDA Invests In Rural Energy For America Program

On August 7, 2015, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $63 million in loans and grants to be distributed through its Rural Energy for American Program (REAP). The $63 million is divided among 264 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects throughout the nation, in primarily rural communities. In addition to creating jobs and improving local economies, the newly announced REAP projects are expected to either save or generate 207.8 million kilowatt hours (KWh) of energy. REAP...
August 14, 2015

EPA Announces Three Webinars Covering PMN Submission Systems And Inviting Discussion Of Biotechnolog

On August 12, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced three webinars to review the new features of the updated online Premanufacture Notifications (PMN) Submission System. The new web-based submission system for the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 5 submissions is replacing the ePMN reporting software that is currently in use. The first webinar is on August 26, 2015, from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., and will cover the process of registering with...
August 14, 2015

Open Meeting Of The Biomass Research And Development Technical Advisory Committee Announced

On August 10, 2015, the Federal Register included a notice announcing an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee in Washington D.C. on August 27, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and August 28, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The meeting is open to the public and is intended to develop guidance to promote the research and development of the production of biobased fuels and biobased products. The...
August 7, 2015

Elevance Expands Cleaning Ingredient Product Line With Elevance Clean™ 1000

On August 4, 2015, Elevance, a BRAG member, announced the addition of Elevance Clean™ 1000 to the Elevance Clean™ Product Line. The new ingredient is a biobased cleaning ingredient that improves the performance of d-limonene formulations, especially when used to remove asphalt/tar and to degrease. D-limonene is extracted from citrus rind and has recently been impacted by the decline in orange supply resulting from increases in orange grove diseases in the U.S. and Brazil. The...
August 7, 2015

Tax Credits For Renewable Chemical Production Introduced In The House

On July 29, 2015, a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide credits for the production of renewable chemicals and investments in renewable chemical production facilities, and for other purposes (H.R. 3390) was introduced in the House. The bill would expand production and investment tax credits that are currently available to renewable energy producers to apply also to renewable chemical manufacturers. The program allows manufactures to choose either: (1) a 15...
August 7, 2015

EPA Announces Beginning Of Public Dialog For Synbio Algae Development And Use

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that it is developing a project intended to support public dialog concerning the development and use of synthetic biology (Synbio) algae. EPA has oversight responsibility for the production and use of intergeneric microorganisms, including cyanobacteria, eukaryotic microalgae (genetically modified (GM) algae), and their products by application of genetic engineering approaches, including those called Synbio. EPA's recently...
July 31, 2015

Renewable Chemicals, Nomenclature, And TSCA: What You Need To Know To Commercialize

Richard E. Engler, Ph.D, Senior Chemist with B&C and advisor to BRAG, delivered an instructive and practical session for biobased product stakeholders at the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference on July 16, 2015, covering what TSCA regulates, how the TSCA Inventory works, key nomenclature issues for chemicals made from renewable, biomass, or waste feedstocks, and presenting helpful checklists and case studies to help stakeholders understand what products and...
July 31, 2015

TSCA Reform — Prospects On Passage And Thoughts On Implementation

Competing proposals are working their way through the House and Senate to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the nation's primary law for managing chemicals in commerce, including biobased and renewable chemicals. In an article published in the July 23, 2015, Bloomberg BNA Daily Environment Report, former senior U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials Charles Auer and James V. Aidala, and attorney Lynn L. Bergeson, Of Counsel to the Biobased and Renewable Products...
July 31, 2015

Senate Passes Bill Extending Energy Tax Credits

On July 21, 2015, the Senate Finance Committee voted to pass a $96 billion package of tax extenders. The tax credits in the package include Individual Tax Extenders, Business Tax Extenders, and $16.4 billion in Energy Tax Extenders. The wind production tax credit, a $1.01 per-gallon production credit for second generation biofuels, energy efficiency credits, and a renewable electricity production credit that includes biomass and municipal solid waste, were all included in the tax credit...
July 24, 2015

World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology: Dr. Jennifer Holmgren Wins Rosalind Franklin Award; Lynn

The 12th Annual World Congress On Industrial Biotechnology was held by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) on July 19-22, 2015, in Montréal. Lynn L. Bergeson offered opening remarks at the Women in Industrial Biotechnology Reception, sponsored by BRAG, and spoke on the importance of continuing to fight for gender equality for women working in science and other fields. Ms. Bergeson also opened the Renewable Chemicals and Biobased Materials track, in which Richard E. Engler, Ph.D....
July 24, 2015

Proposed Rule Exempts Six Biobased Chemicals From Additional CDR Requirements

On July 22, 2015, EPA announced a proposed rule for the Partial Exemption of Certain Chemical Substances from Reporting Additional Chemical Data. If enacted, this rule will exempt the following six biobased chemicals from reporting additional information under the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule: Fatty acids, C14-18 and C16-18 unsaturated, methyl esters (Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number (CASRN) 67762-26-9); Fatty acids, C16-18 and C-18 unsaturated, methyl esters (CASRN 67762-38-3);...
July 24, 2015

EPA Issues Direct Final Rule To Mandate Updated Electronic Reporting

The July 20, 2015, Federal Register includes a notice for direct final action to amend the electronic reporting regulations for Section 5 under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action goes into effect on January 19, 2016, unless adverse comments are received by August 19, 2015. The rule requires the use of new electronic premanufacture notice (e-PMN) software that is reportedly easier to use. The rule also adds the...
July 24, 2015

DOE Looking For Additions To Biomass Research And Development Technical Advisory Committee

As reported in last week's update, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy put out a call for nominations for candidates to join the Biomass Research and Development (R&D) Technical Advisory Committee. The Committee meets quarterly, typically for two days, and advises DOE and USDA on the Biomass R&D Initiative. The Committee is looking specifically for engineers or scientists from non-federal government or academia; an individual...
July 24, 2015

USDA Now Accepting Applications For Loan Guarantees

On July 16, 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is accepting applications for loan guarantees up to $250 million through the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program, formerly known as the Biorefinery Assistance Program. The funding is divided into rounds one and two with applications due on October 1, 2015, and April 1, 2016, respectively. In addition to opening funding, USDA has improved the...