Lawmakers asked to keep viable farm bill energy title programs

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The 25x'25 Alliance joined more than 100 organizations in sending a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees asking for the reauthorization and funding of farm bill energy title programs. The programs, the letter said, revitalize rural America, help the emergence of new agricultural markets, enhance national security and improve the environment.

The organizations signing the letter represented a broad and diverse array of renewable energy, energy efficiency, farm, ranch, commodity, environmental, and other groups.

"USDA has been so critical to the successful development of renewable energy solutions to our nation's energy challenges," said Read Smith, co-chairman of the National 25x'25 Steering Committee. "Preserving and funding the farm bill energy title programs support a sector that creates jobs and helps revitalize our economy. The programs help develop biofuels that reduce our dependence on foreign oil and improve our national security. They help provide sustainable energy options than enhance our environment."

The letter was organized by the Agriculture Energy Coalition, a broad membership-based consortium of organizations and companies representing the entire spectrum of clean, renewable energy and bioproducts stakeholders, including 25x'25, the National Farmers Union and the Environmental Law and Policy Center, among others.

The letter underscores the benefits of unique Farm Bill energy programs like the Rural Energy for America Program, Biomass Crop Assistance Program, Biorefinery Assistance Program and Biobased Markets Program, telling committee leaders they "strongly support American agriculture" and "result in the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs in rural areas."

The letter urges lawmakers to insure farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses have the benefit of dependable and predictable financial support throughout the life of the next farm bill.

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