Farm Bill Energy Title Support Letter

November 4, 2013

The Honorable Debbie Stabenow
U.S. Senate
328A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
   The Honorable Thad Cochran
U.S. Senate
113 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
     
The Honorable Frank Lucas
U.S. House of Representatives
1301 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
  The Honorable Collin C. Peterson
U.S. House of Representatives
1305 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Senators Stabenow and Cochran and Representatives Lucas and Peterson:

We are writing to urge your support for a five year Farm Bill including re-authorization and $900 million in mandatory funding of the Farm Bill's energy title.

The U.S. is experiencing strong growth in the development and commercialization of biofuels, bioproducts, biopower, biogas, energy crops, renewable energy, renewable chemicals and energy efficiency. These important and growing industries all benefit agriculture and forestry and are poised to make huge contributions to our economic, environmental and national security in the coming years, provided that we maintain stable policies that support clean energy manufacturing and innovation.

The Energy Title programs contained in the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills are vital components in the continued growth of these industries. Programs like the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), Biorefinery Assistance Program (BAP) and Biobased Markets Program (Biopreferred) strongly support American agriculture and ensure broad public benefits to the entire country. Every single state has benefited from these low-cost, high return programs. Since some programs are just getting started, the next five years will be crucial for achieving success.

Many tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs are being created or saved in rural areas by our nation's expanding clean energy economy. This growth is occurring due in large part to Farm Bill energy programs, which have used a modest amount of federal money to leverage billions of dollars in private investment. These new agriculture, manufacturing, and high technology jobs are at risk without continued Federal investment.

The outstanding benefits of Energy Title programs also flow from a very modest investment. They accounted for only 0.7 percent of overall spending in the 2008 Farm Bill. As longstanding agricultural safety net programs lose funding or end, these energy investments create new opportunities for producers and rural communities to further cut input costs and diversify their income.

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