The algae community is close to radically altering the way U.S. farm policy approaches algae – but only if we make our voices heard.
Following months of outreach, education and advocacy by ABO and its members, the U.S. Senate is considering a series of proposals to boost U.S. Department of Agriculture support for algae agriculture and related technologies. The fate of these proposals could be determined this week.
Thanks to remarkable work by ABO and its partners, the 5-year Farm Bill being debated this week in the U.S. Senate contains several provisions to boost algae agriculture, including:
- Nearly $900 million for Title IX “Energy Title” programs
- Full eligibility for algae under the Biomass Crop Assistance Program
- Improvements to the Biorefinery Assistance loan guarantee program
- New USDA Carbon Utilization Education program
But the fate of three key amendments remains up in the air:
- USDA Algae Research Initiative – Amendment SA 3205 from Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Tom Udall (D-NM) would for the first time establish an Algae Research Initiative at USDA, creating a home for research on algae for food and feed, soil health and nutrient management, and other applications of algae in agriculture. ABO secured a similar provision in the House of Representatives’ version of the bill, but it was not included in the language approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee earlier in June.
- Loans for Carbon Capture and Use – A pair of amendments (SA 3341 and SA 3342) from Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) would provide explicit eligibility for biological carbon capture and use (CCU) projects, including algae, under USDA’s Rural Electric Loan program and Biorefinery Assistance Program.
Please call, tweet, or Facebook message your two U.S. Senators TODAY with the following message:
“My name is [YOUR NAME] from [YOUR ORGANIZATION] in [YOUR TOWN]. I am [calling/writing] to ask Senator [YOUR SENATOR]to support the growing algae industry in [YOUR STATE] by asking Agriculture Committee Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow to please include the Cornyn-Udall amendment SA 3205, as well as Bennet amendments SA 3341 and SA 3342 in the Farm Bill managers’ package.”
>>>Find your Senators’ phone numbers here: CALL
>>>Find their twitter handle here: TWEET
>>>Find their Facebook page here: MESSAGE
More than ever, Senators really do pay attention to these kind of messages, especially when they come from constituents. We need as many Senators as possible to know about the importance of these amendments to the algae community. So get on the phone or your favorite social media platform TODAY and let your Senators hear from the Algae Nation.