LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, U.S. — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told a packed audience of biodiesel supporters on Feb. 7 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.  "Because of how innovative you are, with new technology and've given birth to a bio-based economy, and with that the possibility of a new American economy." 
Vilsack gave the closing keynote address at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.  
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.   
"We've had record farm income in large part because of this industry," Vilsack said.  "It's helping to promote job growth, it provides greater consumer choice, and reduces our dependence on foreign oil."
He noted that challenges to successful federal policy like the Renewable Fuels Standard are baseless, because it's a policy that is working as intended.  
"The reason you're being challenged is because you're winning," Vilsack said.  "These challenges are a reflection of the good work you've done over last 20 years. But there's more work to do." 
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.
"I've witnessed the beginning of a rural renaissance that is remarkable, and you, sir, have presided over it," said Joe Jobe, chief executive officer of the National Biodiesel Board. "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.  We can't thank you enough for your leadership."