Vilsack said the program creates farm jobs and promotes energy independence
The U.S. military will make biofuel blends part of its regular, operational fuel purchases through a "Farm-to-Fleet" collaboration between the Navy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the USDA and US Navy have announced.
"The Navy's intensifying efforts to use advanced, homegrown fuels to power our military benefits both America's national security and our rural communities," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
"Not only will production of these fuels create jobs in rural America, they're cost effective for our military, which is the biggest consumer of petroleum in the nation.
"America's Navy shouldn't have to depend on oil supplies from foreign nations to ensure our national defense, and rural America stands ready to provide clean, homegrown energy that increases our military's energy independence and puts Americans to work."
The Navy intends to buy advanced drop-in biofuels blended 10 to 50 percent with conventional fuels, with the help of USDA funding.
A bulk fuels solicitation for the biofuels will start next year, with deliveries expected to start in the middle of 2015.
Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary, U.S.
They're cost effective for our military
"A secure, domestically-produced energy source is very important to our national security," said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.
"The Farm-to-Fleet initiative we are announcing today is important to advancing a commercial market for advanced biofuel, which will give us an alternative fuel source and help lessen our dependence on foreign oil."
The drop-in biofuels are projected to be available for less than $4 per gallon by 2016, making them competitive with petroleum products.
Critics have said the military biofuels program is too expensive and unlikely to yield new, useful biofuel technology, but Mabus says the program will jump-start the biofuels industry and protect the military from oil price shocks.