Ag Energy Coalition disappointed in Farm Bill proposal

By Agriculture Energy Coalition | November 18, 2011

The Agriculture Energy Coalition today expressed great disappointment Nov. 18 that a deficit reduction proposal unveiled by the House and Senate Agriculture Committees reauthorizes energy programs only at modest levels and without mandatory funding. The Agriculture Committees will soon submit the joint Farm Bill proposal to be included in the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction’s legislation, should it emerge in the next several days. The coalition of trade groups and organizations representing renewable energy, energy efficiency, farm and environmental interests called for support of a previous proposal to reauthorize programs with robust mandatory funding.

Ag Energy Coalition Co-director Lloyd Ritter released the following statement on behalf of member organizations:

“The Ag Energy Coalition thanks the members of the Agriculture Committees for their hard work and dedication to rural America in proposing to reauthorize the Farm Bill in the midst of this very difficult budget environment. We especially thank Chairwoman Stabenow for being a strong supporter of clean, ag-based energy. However, we believe the proposal is missing an opportunity to promote national imperatives such as job creation, energy security and sustainability in every state, by failing to provide significant mandatory funding to the energy title. With continued support for these programs, Congress can help the farmers, foresters and others in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sector create hundreds of thousands of new jobs over the next five years.

“The REFRESH Act, Senator Lugar’s forward-thinking Farm Bill proposal, included hundreds of millions of dollars and baseline funding for core energy title programs, such as the Renewable Energy for America Program and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. That is what the agricultural and renewable energy industries need. We urge others in Congress to support his efforts on a bipartisan basis.

“We will look for opportunities to build upon these proposals in the coming days to ensure a brighter, more secure and sustainable future for rural America through modest, cost-effective but fundamentally necessary support for ag-based clean energy.”

The Ag Energy Coalition is a diverse group of renewable energy, energy efficiency, agriculture, environmental, and rural development groups that have come together to support important ag-based energy programs, secure funding in the appropriations process, and make policy recommendations to Congress and USDA on how to make programs more effective and impactful. Member organizations include the Advanced Biofuels Association, Biomass Power Association, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Distributed Wind Energy Association, National Farmers Union, Novozymes, the Environmental & Energy Study Institute, and others.