Ag Policy Blog

Vilsack Seeks Information to Guide 45Z Clean Fuels Tax Credit

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks to members of the Clean Fuels Alliance America meeting in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Vilsack said USDA will request information from producers on how the Treasury Department should craft the 45Z tax credit. (Photo by Jerry Hagstrom)

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- After farm-and-biofuel groups complained about the rules for the 40B Sustainable Aviation Fuel tax credit, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday announced USDA will solicit more information from groups for the upcoming 45Z tax credit.

Vilsack made the announcement at the Clean Fuels Alliance America meeting in Washington and said he intends to use the information to provide guidance to the Treasury Department to write the regulations for the Section 45Z Clean Fuels Production Credit for SAF. Because the 45Z program is expected to take effect in 2025, Vilsack said the request for information will be open for only 30 days, with comments due by July 26.

USDA will publish a request for information on procedures for the quantification, reporting, and verification of the effect of climate-smart farming practices on the greenhouse gas (GHG) net emissions estimates associated with the production of domestic (i.e., grown in the U.S.) agricultural commodities used as biofuel feedstocks.

In his speech, Vilsack acknowledged that many biofuels producers were not pleased with the 40B tax credit guidance and modified GREET for Sustainable Aviation Fuel released by Treasury, but said the development of the 45Z credit is another opportunity to become involved in the process.

In a news release, Vilsack said, "This request for information lays the foundation for policies that would bring economic benefits to rural and farm communities while also helping in the fight against climate change."

USDA explained, "A greater adoption of climate-smart farming practices could lower overall GHG emissions associated with biofuel production and provide other environmental benefits, such as improved water quality and soil health. 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."

"What records, what documentation, what data will be necessary for us to have from you to provide sufficient information" to the Treasury Department, Vilsack asked the audience of biofuels producers. "What types of systems should be placed to trace the feedstocks through the supply chain?"

USDA's RFI is seeking feedback on topics including:

- Biofuel feedstock crops and practices for consideration in USDA's analysis.

- Scientific data, information, and analysis for consideration in quantifying the greenhouse gas emissions outcomes of climate-smart agricultural practices and conventional farming practices.

- Records, documentation, and data necessary to provide sufficient evidence to verify practice adoption and maintenance.

- Systems used to trace feedstocks throughout the biofuel supply chain.

- Third-party verification of practice adoption and maintenance.

After Vilsack's speech, Clean Fuels Alliance America said in a news release, "Today, Clean Fuels welcomed the RFI on climate smart ag practices for biofuel feedstocks. These practices can further lower the lifecycle carbon scores of advanced biofuels like biodiesel, renewable diesel, and sustainable aviation fuel."

Kurt Kovarik, Clean Fuels vice president of federal affairs, said, "In speaking to our members, the secretary delivered a message to representatives from the entire value chain of clean fuel production, from soy and canola farmers and feedstock producers to biodiesel, renewable diesel, and SAF producers and users."

Kovarik added, "We appreciate the fact that Secretary Vilsack understands the importance of having guidance for 45Z well in advance of January 1, 2025, so farmers, producers and fuel customers have the certainty to continue to produce and use low-carbon biomass-based diesel. While this request for information will have broader applications than just guidance on next year's Clean Fuel Production Credit, it can inform the modeling and measurement of lifecycle carbon scores at the center of the credit. As Secretary Vilsack noted, farmers are already employing practices that continually improve the environmental profile of their operations and the carbon lifecycle for clean fuel production. We welcome his call for our industry to get that message to other federal stakeholders."

-Federal Register request for information -- Procedures for Quantification, Reporting, and Verification of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with the Production of Domestic Agricultural Commodities Used as Biofuel Feedstocks…

-Congressional Research Service -- The Section 45Z Clean Fuel Production Credit…

DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton contributed to this report.

See, "45Z Tax Credit: Farm Windfall or Bust?"…

Also see, "45Z Tax Credit Offers a Market for Ag and Carbon Scores, Demands Data and Trust,"…

Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at

Follow him on social platform X @hagstromreport


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