As House and Senate appropriators consider funding levels for FY 2018, the Energy Title programs (Title IX of the Farm Bill) that support renewable energy production on farms and growth of the bioeconomy – are imperiled.
The Farm Bill’s Energy Title provides loans and grants to farmers, ranchers, and small businesses to encourage investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and the production of renewable bioproducts such as fuels and chemicals. Despite its strong bipartisan roots in the 2002 Farm Bill, the Energy Title has long had a target on its back. When the 2014 Farm Bill was signed into law, it contained $694 million in mandatory funding for the Energy Title, less than 1 percent of overall Farm Bill spending. Since then, appropriators and special interest groups have successfully sought to cut the Energy Title, despite its importance to rural America.
These programs include the Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP), which provides grants and loans to farmers to build renewable energy projects, and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which supports farmers in converting new feedstocks their crops for biofuels, and the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI), which provides research funding for investigating new feedstocks and processes. Energy Title programs are proven drivers of economic development, in addition to lowering energy costs and carbon emissions in rural communities.
The Ag-Energy Coalition (EESI is a supporting member) is asking organizations to oppose cuts to energy title programs in a letter to Congressional appropriators that urges “continued support for valuable agriculture energy, manufacturing, and sustainability programs in the fiscal year 2018 appropriations process.”
You can find the letter and information to sign-on here.