News

New Farm Bill Preserves Core Clean Energy Programs

Important Energy Initiatives Good for Rural Development, Jobs, Farm Income

After three years of stops and starts, debate and negotiations, the Congressional Farm Bill Conference Committee has released a compromise bill between the House and the Senate that includes mandatory funding for a downsized Energy Title, including the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP).

If passed by Congress, the funding for REAP and BCAP in the compromise would ensure the popular programs will continue to support diverse technologies for renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives in farm communities across the nation.

“Every state in the nation has benefitted from REAP projects and the program has broad support across party lines,” Olsen explained. “We thank Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwomen Debbie Stabenow (MI) for her leadership in preserving REAP and BCAP.”

“We also thank Ranking Member Thad Cochran (MS), House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (OK) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (MN) for their bipartisan support for farm energy,” Olsen said.

“For over a decade, REAP proved its value by creating jobs and farm income in farm communities while advancing homegrown renewable energy and energy efficiency,” said Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Analyst for the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC). “With this support, REAP remains a bright spot in rural energy.”

REAP offers grants and loan guarantees for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects owned by farmers, ranchers, rural small businesses and rural electric co-ops. BCAP provides incentives to jump start sustainable energy crops that also provide conservation benefits.

“While the overall Energy Title funding has been reduced, this compromise provides the certainty for renewed growth in rural energy projects under both REAP and BCAP,” Olsen said. The bill announced late Monday by the Farm Bill Conference Committee includes $881 million for Energy Title programs over ten years.

For more, including examples of Farm Bill energy title success stories visit http://www.farmenergy.org.