Senate’s 2018 Farm Bill reauthorizes Energy Title programs

By Erin Voegele | June 08, 2018

U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., released the Senate’s version of the 2018 Farm Bill on June 8. The bill reauthorizes Energy Title programs, but provides insufficient funding to ensure their success, according to the Agriculture Energy Coalition.  

The legislation, titled the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 is scheduled to be considered by the committee on June 13 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time. The meeting will be streamed live here.

On May 18, the House voted down its version of the 2018 Farm Bill, titled the Agricultural and Nutrition Act of 2018 by a vote of 198 to 213. 

The Senate’s 2018 Farm Bill does reauthorize Farm Bill Energy Title programs, including the Biorefinery Assistance Program, Repowering Assistance Program, Rural Energy for American Program, Biomass Crop Assistance Program and several others. However, the AgEC has criticized the bill for providing these programs with insufficient funding.

“The energy title has been a vital part of the Farm Bill since 2002, helping farms, ranches and rural businesses contribute to America’s energy renaissance,” said Lloyd Ritter, director of the AgEC. “With a federal commitment of less than a tenth of one percent of total farm bill spending, the programs could continue to help rural communities create new jobs, economic opportunities, and infrastructure. The programs have leveraged more than $5 billion in private investment since 2009.

“The Ag Energy Coalition thanks the Senate Agriculture Committee for proposing to reauthorize the energy title and programs as well as for including some very important changes recommended by the Coalition that will open the programs to innovative new technologies,” Ritter continued. “The Coalition urges a significant increase in mandatory funding and additional progress to improve and make programs more equitable. We look forward to working with the Committee and the Senate to ensure the energy title programs’ continued success.”