The 2012 Farm Bill has been big news this week as the agricultural industry, along with dozens of other groups, call for Congress to pass the bill before it sunsets on September 30, 2012. Earlier this week the Farm Bill Now coalition held a rally in Washington, D.C. that included participation of all Iowa legislators. The Agriculture Energy Coalition (AgEC) participated in the rally calling on Congress to pass the five-year Farm Bill that includes mandatory funding for a strong Energy Title.
To date, the Senate has passed a version of the bill and the House Agriculture Committee has also passed its a version of the Bill. Yet Congress is not taking action. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) participated in the Farm Bill Now rally urging Congress to pass the 2012 Farm Bill.
Lloyd Ritter, co-director of the AgEC, said, “Both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have worked hard this year to move forward with fiscally responsible Farm Bills, and final passage is within reach. Passage of a five-year Farm Bill will provide necessary economic stability and confidence to agricultural producers and rural communities across the country. Inclusion of a strong Energy Title with mandatory funding will increase the economic opportunities in those rural communities.”
Ritter continued, “Farm Bill energy programs have helped the renewable energy industry create thousands of jobs across the country in rural communities where they are very much needed. They have also helped farmers put more than 160,000 acres of underutilized farmland across 12 states back into production. And they have helped hundreds of new American businesses generate 100,000 jobs producing home-grown biobased products. These effective programs are a vital part of the overall Farm Bill.”