WASHINGTON--()--The Agriculture Energy Coalition (AgEC) today called on Congress to pass a five-year Farm Bill with mandatory funding for a strong Energy Title. The Senate has passed a version of a five-year Farm Bill and the House Agriculture Committee has passed its own version. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) today held a rally with agriculture groups calling for timely passage of a long-term Farm Bill.
Lloyd Ritter, co-director of the AgEC, said, “Both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have worked hard this year to move forward with fiscally responsible Farm Bills, and final passage is within reach. Passage of a five-year Farm Bill will provide necessary economic stability and confidence to agricultural producers and rural communities across the country. Inclusion of a strong Energy Title with mandatory funding will increase the economic opportunities in those rural communities.
“Farm Bill energy programs have helped the renewable energy industry create thousands of jobs across the country in rural communities where they are very much needed. They have also helped farmers put more than 160,000 acres of underutilized farmland across 12 states back into production. And they have helped hundreds of new American businesses generate 100,000 jobs producing home-grown biobased products. These effective programs are a vital part of the overall Farm Bill.”
The AgEC is a broad membership-based consortium of organizations and companies representing the entire spectrum of clean, renewable energy and bioproducts stakeholders. It includes members focused on biofeedstock production and conversion technologies, rural economic development and diversification, biofuel and renewable electricity production, biobased products, environmental protection, and others. Coalition members are committed to seeing a strong bi-partisan energy title in the 2012 farm bill that builds on the tremendous clean energy accomplishments USDA has already realized and provides resources to USDA at a level that enables them to continue and expand this important mission.