On Tuesday the U.S. Senate passed a farm bill that we expect will soon be signed by President Obama. This bill is the result of hard negotiations among members of Congress.
- The bill will allow algae projects to be eligible for support through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) for establishment and maintenance of algae crops. Last year, the Senate had passed a farm bill which explicitly excluded algae from crop establishment and maintenance support under BCAP.
- $881 million of mandatory funding was included in versions of the bill passed by both the House and the Senate. This language will ensure that programs under the Energy Title including BCAP, the Biorefinery Assistance Program, the Biomass R&D Program, and the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels receive funding.
- The Biorefinery Assistance Program is extended beyond fuel, and will now apply to renewable chemicals and biobased products as well. This will be welcomed news for those looking to produce the full range of algae-derived products.
- Finally, the bill extends the Non-Insured Crop Assistance Program (NAP) to energy crops. Currently NAP only covers crops grown for food, feed and fiber.
The ABO supported all of these changes, and the fact that they appear in the final legislation represents a significant accomplishment for the organization, and an industry working to turn algae into a new source of renewable fuels, feed, bioplastics and other products.
We would like to thank all who helped keep Congress informed about the positive benefits each of these changes can bring. You have helped the algae industry take a significant step forward.
We look forward to building on today’s success!