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Farmers Union supports Senate Farm Bill Energy Title bill

The National Farmers Union has praised the introduction of a Senate bill that would reauthorize and reauthorize and provide mandatory funding for energy programs such as the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), and Biorefinery Assistance Program (BAP).

NFU said Thursday that the 2012 Farm Bill Energy Title bill, introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and co-sponsored by Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is a marker to make sure those programs get included in the farm bill that the Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to mark up by the end of April.

“By fully funding these crucial renewable energy programs, Congress will signal that it is serious about creating jobs in rural America and weaning America off of its addiction to foreign oil,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “We must continue developing the next generation of biofuels, and these programs are necessary to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard of producing 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022.”

REAP in particular has been a boon to rural economies, creating or saving approximately 21,688 jobs since 2003 according to USDA, Johnson said.

“This bill would help create stable policies to support agriculture and would help to give farmers an additional revenue stream through renewable energy,” he added.