AEC urges House to oppose elimination of Farm Bill’s energy title

By Erin Voegele | May 14, 2018

On May 14, the Agriculture Energy Coalition sent a letter to the House of Representatives opposing the elimination of a stand-alone energy title and exclusion of mandatory funding for energy programs in the 2018 Farm Bill.

“The Coalition stands with the farmers, ranchers, rural small businesses and countless others that rely on good farm and nutrition policy,” said the AEC in the letter. “Farm country is hurting right now, and we urge Congress to meet its obligations to support a strong agricultural economy. Successful energy and sustainability programs must be funded and prioritized along with the other core elements of the farm bill. The lack of an energy title will have a chilling effect on private sector investment in renewable energy, new technologies, and innovative manufacturing in rural communities.”

According to the AEC, the Rural Energy for America Program alone has supported more than 15,000 projects, benefiting every state in the nation. “The program is consistently oversubscribed,” the AEC wrote.

The AEC also stresses that the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program is helping to build first-of-a-kind biorefineries that produce advanced biofuels, bioproducts and renewable chemicals. Without the program, the AEC said the U.S. will cede leadership in the development of new biobased technologies to foreign competitors.

“The bipartisan Energy Title must be reinstated, with mandatory funding for key programs,” the AEC wrote. “The federal investment is minimal, less than one-percent of total farm bill spending, yet incentivizes hundreds of thousands of jobs, new manufacturing, technology innovation and a cleaner, healthier America. More than 1.5 million U.S. workers manufacture biobased products, generating over $127 billion in annual economic activity.”

The House of Representatives is expected to begin floor debate of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, soon. According to the AEC, its efforts to preserve and fund the Farm Bill’s energy title programs are supported by more than 200 renewable energy and energy efficiency trade associations and companies.

A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from the AEC website.