WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Agriculture Energy Coalition (AgEC) today thanks Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and congratulates Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Reps. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), and other members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees on completing a multiyear effort to craft a new five-year Farm Bill. The legislation’s $881 million in mandatory funding for Energy Title programs will enable these programs to help rural America create new employment and economic growth opportunities with renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Lloyd Ritter, co-director of the AgEC, said, “Today’s conference report will continue the Farm Bill’s support for economic growth and development in rural America. Renewable energy and energy efficiency programs support new manufacturing and stable, well-paying jobs. Expansion of the programs will enable renewable chemical technologies to create new manufacturing opportunities and jobs. These very modest investments make major energy security, economic, and environmental benefits happen across the entire United States.
“The Agriculture Energy Coalition, representing a broad group of renewable energy, energy efficiency and agricultural groups, has worked with dozens of Representatives and Senators over the past two years to craft today’s agreement on the Farm Bill energy title. We especially appreciate Senator Stabenow’s championship of these successful programs. The programs help grow the rural economy by opening access to critical project capital, ensuring that investments continue to be made in agriculture energy development.”
The Coalition extended renewed thanks to the many champions of the Farm Bill Energy Title programs, who have sponsored legislation to include funding for the necessary investments. Those champions in the House of Representatives include Reps. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Matthew Cartwright (D-Pa.), Donna Christensen (D-V.I.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Emmanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Susan Davis (D-Calif.), William Enyart (D-Ill.), Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Rush Holt (D-N.J.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), William Keating (D-Mass.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), Tom Latham (R-Iowa), David Loebsack (D-Iowa), Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), Michael Michaud (D-Maine), Richard Nolan (I-Minn.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), Dave Reichert (D-Wash.), Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), Timothy Walz (D-Minn.), and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.).
The many champions in the Senate include Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), William Cowan (D-Mass.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and John Thune (R-S.D.).
The Biomass Crop Assistance Program partners with hundreds of farmers across the country to develop sustainable new biofuels and other products from non-food crops, providing farmers with additional farm income and producing next-generation energy sources. The program currently supports more than 1,100 American growers in 188 counties across 12 states, who are converting 53,000 underutilized acres to energy crops.
The Biorefinery Assistance Program also enables production of cutting-edge advanced biofuels by supporting next-generation biorefinery development. The program is assisting U.S. companies secure more than $450 million in private capital for innovative advanced biofuel projects. The program has leveraged nearly $10 of private capital for every dollar of federal investment.
The Renewable Energy for America Program supports every type of renewable energy technology, including wind, solar, biomass, biogas and hydroelectric power in all 50 states. Since 2008, the program has supported an additional 6,600 U.S. projects, employing 15,000 people and generating or saving more than 7.3 billion kilowatt hours of electricity – enough to power 680,000 U.S. homes annually. The program leverages private investment, as it requires at least a $3 match for each $1 of federal funds.
The AgEC is a broad membership-based consortium of organizations and companies representing a broad spectrum of clean, renewable energy, energy efficiency and bioproducts stakeholders. It includes members focused on feedstock production and conversion technologies, rural economic development and diversification, biofuels, products and power, and renewable electricity production, environmental quality, 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.