Louisiana State University researchers are getting $17 million in federal funds to study how to turn sugar cane and sorghum into biofuels.

The money, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, aims to fund research to increase biomass production from sugar cane and sorghum. The project is one of five being funded with $136 million in USDA funds across the nation over five years. USDA says the projects will focus on developing aviation biofuels from tall grasses, crop residues and forests.

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu says finding new and innovative uses of sugar cane and its residue will strengthen Louisiana's sugar industry.

The money comes from the 2008 Farm Bill, which sought to boost renewable energy.