Conferees urged to back farm bill’s energy title

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The Agriculture Energy Coalition (AgEC), along with 25x25 and the Environmental Law & Policy Center, led a group of more than 100 organizations in sending a letter urging Congressional conferees to adopt the Senate Farm Bill’s Energy Title funding. If approved, this bill would provide $900 million in mandatory funding for agriculture energy programs. Signatories include such organizations as the National Farmers Union, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), American Biogas Council, Biomass Power Association, DWEA, AWEA, SEIA, ABFA, and others.

The Agriculture Energy Coalition (AgEC) and co-signers wrote that a strong, well-funded energy title is not only vital to the development and commercialization of renewable energy, bioproducts, renewable chemicals, and energy efficiency but also crucial to maintain a robust and sustainable agriculture sector across the United States. The letter continues by saying, “Programs like the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), Biorefinery Assistance Program (BAP) and Biobased Markets Program (Biopreferred) strongly support American agriculture and ensure broad public benefits to the entire country.”

With a record amount of signatures, the coalition and organizations called Congressional conferees’ attention to the Farm Bill’s Energy Title as a catalyst for job formation, “Many tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs are being created or saved in rural areas by our nation’s expanding clean energy economy.” The letter continues by asserting that “this growth is occurring due in large part to Farm Bill energy programs, which have used a modest amount of federal money to leverage billions of dollars in private investment. These new agriculture, manufacturing, and high technology jobs are at risk without continued Federal investment.”

Click here to read the letter in its entirety.

The AgEC is a broad membership-based consortium of organizations and companies representing a broad spectrum of clean, renewable energy, energy efficiency and bioproducts stakeholders. It includes members focused on feedstock production and conversion technologies, rural economic development and diversification, biofuels, products and power, and renewable electricity production, environmental quality, and others. Coalition members are committed to seeing a strong bi-partisan energy title in the 2012 farm bill that builds on the tremendous clean energy accomplishments USDA has already realized and provides resources to USDA at a level that enables them to continue and expand this important mission.


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