The importance of biofuels to rural development was a focus of the first Farm Bill hearing by the Senate Committee on Agriculture this week.
“In the last Farm Bill, this Committee wisely focused on energy policy,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the panel. “Renewable energy – including biofuels, biomass, wind and solar – are an important source of jobs and economic growth in rural communities across the country. Biofuels and biomass in particular offer exciting new opportunities for entrepreneurs, farmers, ranchers and growers.”
Vilsack recommended three areas for the energy title of the farm bill – more efficient production of biofuels developed through research, increasing co-products and by-products from biofuels production, and partnerships to produce biofuels for military aviation and jet fuel.
In addition, Vilsack told the committee that one way to maintain continued growth in rural areas is keeping the Renewable Fuel Standard. “That basically mandates a certain percentage of fuel mixture being bio-based, so we will continue to advocate for that,” he said.