“Bi-partisan Farm Bill energy programs have leveraged billions of dollars of private investment, spurred economic development, created jobs, provided new revenue streams for producers, and spawned technological innovation throughout rural America with a strong and growing return on investment”
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Agriculture Energy Coalition today released a white paper - Rural America's Role in Expanding Energy Independence, Dominance, Innovation and Jobs: Recommendations for the New Farm Bill - urging the Congress to support energy and rural manufacturing programs in the 2018 Farm Bill.
"Bi-partisan Farm Bill energy programs have leveraged billions of dollars of private investment, spurred economic development, created jobs, provided new revenue streams for producers, and spawned technological innovation throughout rural America with a strong and growing return on investment," said Lloyd Ritter, Executive Director of the Agriculture Energy Coalition. "Past Farm Bills have recognized rural America's potential to drive energy innovation and we urge Congress to support a strong 2018 Farm Bill that will continue U.S. commitment to these important programs."
The Agriculture Energy Coalition's recommendations for the 2018 Farm Bill include the following:
Keep the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program (Section 9003) funding intact and improve opportunities for multiple resources and technologies, including renewable chemicals;
Increase Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) funding to better meet demand; make the program more equitable for commercially proven, but underserved, technologies and more flexible to support ancillary activities like energy storage;
Improve the BioPreferred program and increase funding modestly to expand homegrown industrial biobased product development;
As it relates to crop insurance, direct USDA to more aggressively assess opportunities for non-food energy crops, so the U.S. can lead the world in next generation crops for energy and bioproducts;
Retain, improve, and expand the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) to tackle the national challenge of wildfires, particularly in the Western U.S.; use the program as a "preventive medicine" approach to reduce hazardous fuel loads, ultimately saving tax money used to fight forest fires;
Improve the Rural Utilities Service statutory authority to enhance opportunity for renewables development; and
Make other improvements and reforms, such as sunsetting the rural repowering program or embedding it into REAP.
Ritter added, "Federal commitment to Farm Bill energy programs is vital, particularly right now, when so many new feedstocks, processes, fuels and technologies are on the cusp of successful commercialization and rural America needs economic opportunities. Federal support for core programs must be maintained."
Read the full white paper here: http://www.agenergycoalition.org/communications/2017-AgEC-Rural-America-Energy-Innovation.pdf.