Farm Bill Appropriations

FY2012 Appropriations Status Complete

(November 21, 2011) On Friday, November 28, President Obama signed the “Minibus” appropriations bill (H.R. 2112) for fiscal year 2012, passed the previous day by Congress. With this bill the agriculture budget (along with commerce and transportation) is established for all of fiscal year 2012.

Appropriators again cut deeply and disproportionately into Farm Bill clean energy programs, displaying a strong preference to protect biofuels funding.  The total cuts to Farm Bill clean energy programs from 2011 levels, taking into account both discretionary and mandatory spending, total approximately $150 million (see chart below).

The cuts for FY2012 mark the second straight year of declining Congressional commitment to Farm Bill clean energy programs. In each year the proportion, or percentage, cuts to Farm Bill clean energy programs exceeded cuts overall.  While the American people strongly support clean energy development, including development via the Farm Bill, the American Congress remains of a different mind. This trend should be reversed at the earliest opportunity. We can do better.

Note: The appropriations bill contained provisions to fund the remainder of the federal government to operate until December 19th under a continuing resolution. In December, Congress will take up, and possibly pass, an omnibus bill for those appropriations. This bill is not expected to address agriculture.

Fiscal Year 2012 Farm Bill Clean Energy Appropriations

The Minibus affected mandatory funding levels on three Farm Bill clean energy programs, the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, the Rural Energy for America Program, and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.

Chart: Key Clean Energy Programs Affected in FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriation

All amounts in millions of dollars.

The Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels was established to provide production-based incentives to producers of “advanced biofuels” (excludes corn ethanol). The incentive is based on their increased production levels. The Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels was cut from a mandatory level of $105 million in 2012, to an actual level of $65 million.

The Rural Energy for America Program, REAP, is the single most popular program within the Farm Bill’s energy title and provides grants and loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for a wide range of clean energy technologies.

The Biomass Crop Assistance program provides cost-share incentives to farmers to establish first generation energy crops.