WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Agriculture Energy Coalition today issued the following statement thanking Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) for introducing the Agricultural Energy Programs Reauthorization Act of 2017, which will reauthorize programs in Title IX of the Farm Bill and provide robust funding through 2023.
“We commend Sen. Franken for introducing this important bill to reauthorize and enhance Farm Bill energy programs,” said Lloyd Ritter, executive director of the Agriculture Energy Coalition. “If adopted, the legislation would improve already valuable programs. For instance, it would make renewable chemicals facilities fully eligible to participate in the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program. It would also expand the BioPreferred program, improve the already popular REAP program by expanding support to a variety of sustainable, commercial clean energy technologies, and add new mandatory funding to create economic and energy opportunities for rural America. We are grateful for the Senator’s efforts.”
“Crop prices and farm incomes have been declining, so farmers are counting on the Farm Bill to help them develop new markets and new economic opportunities,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section. “The energy programs this bill supports will help revitalize the agriculture and manufacturing sectors in America and promote innovation in the biobased economy, and we thank Sen. Franken for his leadership.”
“Farm Bill energy programs help farmers improve efficiency, reduce farm energy costs, and access new revenue streams,” said Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union. “NFU is thankful for Senator Franken’s leadership on these programs, and is especially supportive of the increase in funding for the Rural Energy for America Program. Congress should continue to support programs that incentivize smart, clean energy use and production on the farm and in rural areas.”
“This season's raging forest fires out West illustrate the importance of funding for the removal of hazardous fuel from federal lands through programs like Biomass Crop Assistance Program,” said Carrie Annand, executive director of Biomass Power Association. “Taking high risk fiber out of the forest promotes forest health; taking it to a biomass facility ensures that we are getting value out of that material by making it into fuel for electricity. We commend Senator Franken for including BCAP in his draft Farm Bill Energy Title, and we look forward to working with him to ensure that it is included in the final bill.”
“The rural and agricultural communities of our country are the backbone of our economy, and providing these farmers the tools to leverage on-site technology, like distributed wind, will reap benefits for all,” said Jason Kaplan, United Wind, and Distributed Wind Energy Association member.