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Coalition backs farm bill energy

Late this week more than 100 groups asked agricultural leaders in Congress to continue energy programs in any new farm bill.
 
The 2008 Farm Bill included an energy title that the groups say represents less than 1% of total farm bill spending. But the law’s energy title expires this year with no clear source of funds.
 
“The U.S. is experiencing strong growth in the development and commercialization of biofuels, bioproducts, biopower, biogas, energy crops, renewable energy and energy efficiency,” the groups said in a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees. “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 letter was signed by three farm and commodity organizations –– National Association of Wheat Growers, National Farmers Union, and National Sorghum Producers.  All of the major ethanol trade groups, including Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association, signed on, as did the National Association of Conservation Districts and the National Wildlife Federation.
 
“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,” the letter said. “Since some of these programs are just getting started, the next five years will be crucial for achieving success.”
 
The letter was released by the Environmental Law and Policy Center.

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