Ag Energy Coalition advocates for strong Farm Bill energy funding

By Agriculture Energy Coalition | March 08, 2023

Today, on the inaugural National Biobased Products Day, the Agriculture Energy Coalition released a letter to Senate and House Agriculture Committee leaders signed by a diverse range of nearly 300 industry groups and companies. The letter urges Congress to preserve funding for farm bill energy title programs provided in last year’s Inflation Reduction Act. It also asks Congress to codify in farm bill language the improvements and policy changes to existing USDA Rural Development programs that were adopted in the IRA act.

“USDA’s energy, bioeconomy and RD programs enable producers and businesses alike to make essential investments in energy and rural resilience, saving consumers and producers on energy costs,” the groups write. “The 2022 funding for USDA’s unique energy programs will help rural communities get ahead diversifying energy resources while improving energy security, the environment and public health.”

The letter is available for download.

“At a crucial time when energy costs are driving inflation and impacting the pocketbooks of all Americans, Congress should maintain bipartisan support for rural businesses and communities to make cleaner energy more accessible and affordable,” said Lloyd Ritter, Ag Energy Coalition Executive Director. “The incentives and improvements to energy programs passed in the Inflation Reduction Act last year should be codified to further help residents in rural and disadvantaged communities breathe cleaner air and access affordable, clean energy.”

“The Inflation Reduction Act is the most significant investment in America’s biofuels industry since the RFS was passed in 2007,” stated Renewable Fuels Association President & CEO Geoff Cooper. “These IRA programs and financial commitments are vital to our industry and partners and their goals in achieving a net zero production of ethanol and other sustainable renewable fuels in the near future.”

Adam Warthesen, director of government and industry affairs with CROPP Cooperative, added, “Now is the time and opportunity to make renewable energy more accessible for farms and business in rural communities. The Rural Energy for America Program, for instance, is sound public policy that leverages private investment while making business more resilient. We should strive to have renewable energy on every dairy farm in America.”

“Congress made historic investments in rural electrification in the Inflation Reduction Act on a scale not seen since the Rural Electrification Act of 1936,” said Erik Hatlestad, energy democracy program director at Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) and member of the Rural Power Coalition. “Maintaining and growing these resources for rural cooperatives and communities is fundamentally important.”