Twenty companies, including Archer-Daniels-Midland Co and Cargill Inc, have been cleared to produce the new ethanol grade called E15, a significant step toward putting the higher blend biofuel on s

U.S. university researchers will get $136 million to develop advanced biofuels, including to develop jet fuel, by using tall grasses, woody plants and energy cane, the U.S.

Congress should transform the $6 billion a year ethanol tax credit into a program that underwrites the installation of "blender" pumps and pipelines so biofuels are more widely available, the largest U.S. farm group said on Tuesday.

The 45-cent a gallon tax credit, which goes to gasoline blenders, expires at the end of this year.

A senator from the U.S. Corn Belt filed an amendment on Tuesday that would bar federal regulators from considering how land is used overseas when they write rules to expand use of biofuels.

U.S. farmers and foresters could earn more money from carbon contracts than they pay in higher costs from legislation to control greenhouse gases, the Agriculture Department estimated on Wednesday.

The impact on U.S. farms and ranches from climate-change legislation will be bearable, partly because of the chance to earn money for controlling greenhouse gases, said the House Agriculture Committee chairman on Tuesday.

The climate change bill being drafted in the U.S. Senate is unlikely to succeed unless it gives farmers and ranchers a role in locking carbon into the land, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Tuesday.

Vilsack said a carbon-offset program that pays landowners for practices like tree-planting and reduced tillage that lock carbon into soils and vegetation could reduce greenhouse gases.

The climate-change bill passed by the U.S. House on Friday would expand federal regulations by banning "naked" credit default swaps and requiring over-the-counter derivatives to go through central clearinghouses.

The climate bill nearing a vote in the U.S. House will reward farmers who plant trees or take other steps to control greenhouse gases and it will remove for five years an obstacle to corn-based ethanol, said the House Agriculture Committee chairman on Wednesday.

Farm-state lawmakers on Wednesday asked the Obama administration to back a broader definition of biomass for use in renewable fuels, an issue entangled with congressional action on climate change.