200 Companies, Trade Groups Urge Congress forward on Farm Bill Energy Title Programs
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) In Washington, more than 200 companies and trade associations today wrote House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders, urging them “to reauthorize and maintain stable mandatory funding for energy title programs in the next farm bill reauthorization.”
The letter, organized by the Agriculture Energy Coalition, states, “For more than 15 years, the farm bill energy title programs have greatly assisted rural America in developing clean, renewable energy, biobased products, and making energy efficiency investments. Federal leadership has paid off. Rural economic development, jobs, manufacturing, and environmental quality have all seen quantifiable and substantial gains.”
“Energy title programs account for less than one tenth of 1 percent of farm bill spending and yet provide outsized benefits. For example more than 17,000 projects and counting have been cost-shared across the United States — in every state — with more than $5 billion leveraged since inception. Public/private investments through farm energy and bioeconomy programs are generating innovation and growth opportunities at a time rural America sorely needs it,” the letter continues. READ MORE Download letter
Roberts says he wants to mark up farm bill in April, doesn’t like tariffs (Fence Post/Hagstrom Report)
Farm Bill Energy Title’s Record of Success (Biomass Magazine)
Clean Energy Business Network Farm Bill Webinar Available for Download (Clean Energy Business Network)
Excerpt from Fence Post: Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said today he wants to mark up the next farm bill in April and that his staff and the staff of Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., are already sending bill language back and forth.
The key, he said, is to be able to come together with a bill that has majority support so that he and Stabenow can tell Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., that they need floor time.
With floor time always an issue, Roberts pointed out that in 2014 the farm bill had 63 amendments, but was done in two days on the floor.
Roberts said he would like to move the bill in March, but the omnibus appropriations bill and immigration will be priorities. He also said it is important to get the bill “right” before marking it up.
Speaking to reporters, Roberts said the farm bill and tariffs “are not a separate issue” because farmers need to export.
But Roberts said while he is concerned about countries using farm products in retaliation against aluminum and steel tariffs, the tariff is also “a consumer tax.”
The benefits of the tax bill could be negated by the tariffs and a trade war, he indicated.
Asked about influencing Trump, Roberts said, “The president knows exactly where we stand.” He noted that groups of senators have gone to the White House “five, six, seven” times to tell the president their views on trade.
“It is what it is,” Roberts concluded. READ MORE