The Agriculture Energy Coalition (AgEC) today urged Congress to begin work on a new five-year Farm Bill with strong mandatory funding for energy programs.
The coalition notes that programs included in the farm bill Energy Title including the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), Biorefinery Assistance Program (BAP) and Biobased Markets Program (Biopreferred) have helped create jobs and economic growth in rural America, develop new agricultural markets, and improve farmers’ and ranchers’ energy self-sufficiency.
“Farm energy programs have paid a tremendous return for rural Americans, in terms of new jobs, investments in new energy efficiency and bioenergy technology, and new biobased products,” said Lloyd Ritter, Agriculture Energy Coalition co-director. “Economic growth and job opportunities in rural America are at risk without a renewal of funding for these effective programs.”
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended the 2008 Farm Bill without funding for energy title programs. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) re-introduced the five-year farm bill passed by the Senate last year, calling it a “revolutionary piece of legislation.” The House failed to pass a farm bill last year.