Ag Energy Experts Brief Congress, Stakeholders on Energy Title Progress (Video update)

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

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ELPC and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) gathered experts on agriculture and clean energy development in Washington on Tuesday, July 19 to address the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and other Farm Bill energy programs. Speaking to over 150 staffers and stakeholders in separate House and Senate briefings, they explained the broad benefits of these programs for farmers, businesses, economic development and national energy security policy. (more…)

Obama’s New Ag Budget: Energy-Friendly

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

(Feb. 15) This week the President launched the first round in the FY2012 budget process with a proposed budget that cuts Ag funding over prior years but retains most clean energy priorities, albeit at slightly lower levels.

 For Agriculture, the Administration proposes to reduce total discretionary spending by over $3 billion from FY2010 levels. (Congress has not yet passed a final FY2011 budget; a Continuing Resolution based on 2010 levels is funding the government at least until March 4).

The President’s budget emphasizes clean energy development. Specific clean energy development funding proposals  include:

  • Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) – $106.8 million. Includes $36.8 million in proposed discretionary funding plus $70 million mandatory funding from the 2008 Farm Bill. Total program funding is a small increase over current funding levels ($99.34 in FY2010).
  • Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) – $198 million. To refocus this important program on its primary purpose of encouraging new energy crop development, the Administration proposes to cap funding for the Collection, Harvest, Storage and Transport component at $70 million, which would leave most of the funding ($128 million) for establishing and growing energy crops.
  • Rural Utilities Service loans – $6 billion for low-interest Federal Financing Bank loans. As in FY2011, the Administration commendably wants most of these loans to finance new clean energy projects, and proposes that:
    • Not less than $4 billion shall be used for renewable energy plants or for fossil fueled plants with carbon sequestration;
    • Funding may be used for fossil peaking units operating in conjunction with wind and solar power; and
    • Not more than $2 billion may be used for projects to reduce pollution from fossil fueled plants. 

Next steps include House and Senate committee hearings on its budget proposals, and intense jockeying in Congress over the future of these and other programs. Stay tuned for more developments. And you can visit here for current information on the unsettled 2011 budget picture.

President Boosts Farm Energy Funding

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget slates Farm Bill clean energy programs for some needed growth. The Administration released its budget in early February, and in it the President boosts next year’s funding level for REAP to its highest level ever: $109 million. The budget adds $39 million of discretionary funding on top of the $70 million in “mandatory” funding in the 2008 Farm Bill. (more…)

House Clean Energy Leaders Urge Strong Farm Energy Funding

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Today, May 15, 2009, 30 members of the US House of Representatives called for full finding for the clean energy programs in the Farm Bill. Led by Representatives Tim Walz (D-MN) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) a bipartisan group sent a letter to the Leadership of the Agriculture Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee seeking full funding for the programs in the 2008 Farm Bill Energy Title.

These new programs can help the nation develop new, modern, low carbon energy sources along with improving energy efficiency. Indeed, these programs demonstrate how agriculture can adapt and prosper within a low carbon economy.

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ELPC Hosts National Farm Bill/Clean Energy Strategy Meeting

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

On October 8th and 9th, a group of national farm energy leaders gathered at ELPC’s headquarters to discuss implementing the Farm Bill’s Energy Title. The dynamic meeting featured presentations by experts who worked through details to set priorities and make the most of these new clean energy programs. USDA and Department of Energy officials attended the conference and shared the latest policy and clean energy development news with our colleagues.

Visit www.farmenergy.org to learn more about the Farm Bill’s clean energy programs.