Biomass is a significant contributor to the US economy--agriculture, forest and paper products, food and related products account for 5% of our GDP. While the forest products industry self generates some of their energy, other sectors are importers. Bioenergy can contribute to economic development and to the environment. Examples of bioenergy routes suggest that atmospheric carbon can be cycled through biofuels in carefully designed systems for sustainability. Significant potential exists for these options. Research and development of integrated biomass reduction and conversion systems, as currently being performed in the Biomass for Rural Development Program, can help verify the potential energy, economic, and environmental benefits and advance biomass and bioenergy into the 21st century.