The 2008 Farm Bill has officially expired giving the agricultural industry and renewable energy industry, which had programs in the 2008 Farm Bill, a grave level of uncertainty to growing segments of the U.S. economy. This move has caused private sector investments to dry up and threatens good paying jobs.
In response, Lloyd Ritter, co-director of the Agriculture Energy Coalition (AgEC) said, “With support from energy programs in the 2008 Farm Bill, U.S. companies have raised private financing to start construction of the nation’s first six advanced biofuels biorefineries; farmers in more than 150 counties across the nation have begun raising and harvesting next generation energy crops on 150,000 acres of underutilized farmland; rural families are saving money through energy efficiency and/or renewable power generation on their farms through the use of wind, solar, geothermal, and anaerobic digestion technologies; and nearly 100,000 people are now employed in the rapidly growing biobased products market.
This progress is at risk if Congress fails to finish new Farm Bill legislation that has already passed the Senate and been voted out of the House Committee on Agriculture.”
Ritter stressed that there is certainty provided by a five-year Farm Bill and is needed to keep farmers, business owners and investors interested in rural energy initiatives. He concluded by saying a five-year extension of the Farm Bill that includes funding for the energy title is needed to keep investments flowing and jobs intact.