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Energy is a Cash Crop

On Friday May 18th the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry held a hearing on the Energy Title of the 2012 Farm Bill. It is still unclear if the Farm Bill will include mandatory funding for programs that can accelerate the commercialization of advanced biofuels, such as those from algae.

Agriculture has become an important player in America’s energy future, and algae are unique among biofuel feedstocks because they can produce many types of fuel, don’t impact other agricultural lands, and don’t require potable water resources.

ABO submitted testimony at Friday’s hearing detailing the importance of an Energy Title to the industry’s progress, jobs and American energy independence. Among ABO’s points:

  • In a January 2012 industry survey, 88% of those surveyed said that “stable and supportive federal policy would accelerate development of the algae industry.” Eliminating the Energy Title of the Farm Bill would be a significant break in “stable and supportive federal policy,” inevitably putting the many thousands of existing jobs in the algae and other biofuels industries at risk.
  • An Energy Title will incentivize private investment in the algae industry, which will, in turn, expedite commercialization of algae-based fuels that can be produced right here in America.
  • Public and private investment in algae and other feedstocks result in job creation in rural America.

ABO’s testimony includes specific examples of how these kinds of programs spur development and private investments in the algae industry.

As the Farm Bill continues to be debated in the House and Senate it will be important for members of Congress to hear that they should not eliminate the Energy Title from the Farm Bill. Doing so would have a devastating effect on this promising industry, on the jobs it is creating, and our nation’s future energy dependence.

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