House begins Farm Bill mark-up, considers energy title amendment
The U.S. House Agricultural Committee has begun marking up its draft of the 2012 Farm Bill, which was released last week. The mark-up is expected to last up to three days, and includes 100 amendments.
The Senate passed its version of the five-year farm bill on a bipartisan vote last month, retaining most of the existing energy title programs. In the Senate bill, the Rural Energy for America Program was reauthorized at $20 million per year with mandatory funding of $48.2 million for each of fiscal years 2013-2017, the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program was reauthorized at $150 million per year with mandatory funding of $100 million for fiscal year 2013 and $58 million for each of fiscal years 2014 and 2015, and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program was reauthorized at $20 million per year, with mandatory funding of $38.6 million for each of the fiscal years 2013-2017.
The House bill retains the energy title programs as well, slating $75 million for the Biorefinery Assistance Program, $50 million for the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, $75 million for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program and $45 million for the Rural Energy for America Program.
But in contrast to the Senate version, it does not include any mandatory program funding. An amendment by Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, however, would reinstate it.
Groups such as the Agriculture Energy Coalition, the National Farmers Union, the Biotechnology Industry Organization and the Advanced Biofuels Association have released statements urging the House to retain the energy title programs and reinstate the mandatory funding.
Check back to Biomass Magazine for further updates on the passage of the 2012 Farm Bill.