The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and a group of renewable chemical companies and state advocacy organizations today wrote to the chairpersons and ranking members of the House and Senate Committees on Agriculture, urging passage of a five-year Farm Bill that includes the Senate’s language on the Energy Title. Title IX of the Senate-passed version of the Farm Bill (S.954) provides vital mandatory funding to USDA energy programs and grants renewable chemicals companies long-overdue access to the Biorefinery Assistance Program and the Biomass Research and Development Program.
Fifty renewable chemical companies and associated trade organizations signed the first letter, which read in part:
“As leading domestic biomanufacturing businesses and supporting organizations, we urge you to support strong rural energy and biobased economy policies in the Farm Bill conference report. In particular, we ask that you include in the conference report Title IX of the Senate-passed Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013, S. 954, which reauthorizes rural energy and biobased economy programs through 2018, provides $900 million in mandatory funding for core Title IX programs, and makes key policy improvements that will allow the renewable chemical and biobased products sectors to continue on its trajectory of growth.”
BIO separately wrote to the Committee chairpersons and ranking minority members to emphasize the request for a new five-year Farm Bill, rather than another one-year extension:
“The current extension, which was signed into law early in 2013 and will expire on September 30, provides no mandatory funding for Title IX energy programs and contains no key renewable chemical reforms. The lack of certainty associated with a short-term Farm Bill extension is a disincentive to investors and to biotechnology company leaders seeking to make lasting business decisions that will create U.S. jobs and reinvigorate America’s manufacturing sector.”
The Senate-passed Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 (S.954) contains well-thought-out and balanced improvements to: (1) provide long-overdue eligibility to renewable chemicals under the Section 9003 Biorefinery Assistance Program and Section 9007 Biomass Research and Development Program; and (2) strengthen the Biobased Markets Program to accelerate market awareness of biomanufacturing technologies.