Three former Secretaries of Agricutlure testified before the House Agriculture Committee Thursday on what the most important priorities should be for the 2007 Farm Bill. All three mentioned energy and the role of agriculture in meeting the nation’s demand for it.
Former Secretary John Block, who served five years under the first President Bush, told the committee that “the increasing need for the use of our agricultural industry as a producer of energy is evident to everyone” and that “as much support as possible should be given to this aspect of the farm bill,” including support of renewable fuel research and development.
You can listen to Block’s renewable energy comments here: John Block (1 min MP3)
Clayton Yeutter, who also served under Bush, was passionate about the subject.
“The American public in my view is totally fed up with our dependence on crude oil imports from nations that are often unfriendly to the US, unstable, and sometimes downright hostile. And I believe the American public is prepared to pay the price to change that,” he said. He called on the committee to make a “major investment in the whole energy, renewable fuels area in American agricutlure and I believe all of America will thank you if you do that.”
You can listen to Yeutter’s renewable energy comments here: Clayton Yeutter (1 min MP3)
Finally, one of President Clinton’s agriculture secretaries, Dan Glickman of Kansas, noted that energy offers “great opportunities” for agriculture to participate in the development of energy for the transportation business. However, he did have a warning about the food versus fuel issue. “When gas tanks begin competing for corn as earnestly as the feed mills upon which our multi-billion dollar animal agriculture system depends, the equation takes on a vastly different perspective.” He said he believes the issue is “manageable, but it’s a complex issue that ought to be at the top of your agenda.”
You can listen to Glickman’s renewable energy comments here: Dan Glickman (1 min MP3)