Supercommittee Should Preserve Farm Energy Programs in the Farm Bill for in the Best Interest of the Nation: William Richards and Dennis McGinn
by William Richards and Dennis McGinn (The Plain Dealer) Guest Columnists: The future of the government’s role in U.S. agriculture remains about as uncertain today as it was before the 1933 enactment of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the nation’s first farm bill. Apparently forgoing the traditional process of creating a five-year policy plan that historically follows multiple hearings and lengthy consideration, agriculture committees in both the House and Senate now appear intent on creating a new farm bill in the heated forge of a deficit-reduction process.
…Among those initiatives critical to U.S. competitiveness in global markets is the Energy Title launched with the 2008 Farm Bill. Its first-generation programs, while not perfect, have helped create a strong renewable-energy sector that is rapidly growing and providing numerous solutions from the land to our growing energy needs.
These farm energy programs help provide the feedstocks and build the plants that produce cleaner energy, reduce our dependency on foreign oil and enhance our national security by reducing our vulnerability to the hostile regimes that control much of the oil we import.
…Pentagon officials have long called for alternative solutions to extended oil supply lines that undermine military readiness. The Air Force has a 2016 deadline for being able to get half its fuel needs from 50/50 alternative fuel blends. And Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is committed to getting 50 percent of the Navy’s fuel for aircraft and surface ships from renewable and alternative sources by 2020. READ MORE and MORE (Baltimore Sun)