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Success in the 2008 Farm Bill
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Policy Outcomes:
Conservation & Farmland Protection Subsidy Reform Local and Healthy Foods Renewable Energy

Growing Support for Responsible Renewable Energy

The energy title of the 2008 Farm Bill builds upon clean energy achievements from the 2002 Farm Bill, creating new programs and making a greater commitment to renewable energy from farms and ranches.

The new energy future being grown and generated on America’s farms and ranches has enormous potential to help sustain our working lands, improve our environment and address some of the most important economic and political challenges of our time.

The new farm bill mandates over $1 billion in federal funding over five years for research and development into biofuels, renewable energy projects on farms and ranches, grants and loans for cellulosic biofuel refineries, and other important clean energy programs. Here are highlights of a few noteworthy programs:

  • Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) funding more than doubled to help reduce fossil fuel use and support farmers and small rural businesses in developing clean energy technologies including wind, solar, biofuels, biomass electricity and biogas: mandatory funding of $255 million.  
  • Farmer with meterBiomass Research and Development funding for a joint program between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy to conduct research and development on biomass-derived fuel and energy: funding of $91 million.
  • Biorefinery Loans and Grants to provide cost-share grants, loans and loan guarantees for large cellulosic biofuel refineries: funding of $320 million.
  • CCC Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels to provide direct incentives for the production of advanced biofuels like biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol (the program was reformed to disqualify cornstarch ethanol from receiving support): funding of $300 million.
  • Increased Tax Credit for Cellulosic Fuel is a new tax credit, funded in part through a reduction in the volumetric ethanol excise tax credit (VEETC), which will encourage production of more cellulosic biofuels.
American Farmland Trust