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Officials announced plans Thursday for a $105 million loan guarantee to help develop the nation's first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant near Emmetsburg.

When completed, the plant will produce up to 25 million gallons of ethanol per year. Unlike existing ethanol plants, which produce the fuel from corn, the new facility will use stalks, corncobs and leaves to produce ethanol.

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Two senators from ethanol-producing states proposed to immediately end a tax credit for the corn-based fuel and agreeing to support shifting some of that money to debt reduction.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, and John Thune, R-South Dakota, along with ethanol opponent Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, have proposed diverting $1.3 billion of the money remaining for the tax break this year to pay for debt reduction. And $668 million will be used for incentives for the ethanol and biofuels industries.

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The U.N. says global investments in renewable energy jumped 32 percent to $211 billion last year, boosted by wind farm development in China and rooftop solar panels in Europe.

A report by the U.N. Environment Program shows that solar, wind, biomass and other forms of green energy are gaining momentum, despite the lack of progress in international climate talks aimed at slowing emissions of heat-trapping gases from fossil fuels.

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Kids who grow up on traditional farms are 30 percent to 50 percent less likely than other children to develop asthma, a new study shows. But it's not the fresh country air.

It's the germs.

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National Dairy Herd Information Association (NDHIA) is offering $750 scholarships to full-time incoming and continuing students at technical and two-year and four-year colleges/universities.

To be eligible for a National DHIA scholarship, the applicant must be a family member or employee of a herd on DHI test, a family member of a DHI employee, or an employee of a DHI affiliate. The DHI affiliate for the herd or affiliate employee must be a member of National DHIA. (Arizona DHIA, Dairy Lab Services, Dairy One Cooperative Inc., DHI Cooperative Inc., Idaho DHIA, Indiana State Dairy Association, Lancaster DHIA, Minnesota DHIA, NorthStar Cooperative DHI Services, Puerto Rico DHIA, Rocky Mountain DHIA, San Joaquin DHIA, Tennessee DHIA, Texas DHIA, United Federation of DHIAs, Vermont DHIA and Washington State DHIA are National DHIA members.)

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