A Fair Farm Bill for Renewable Energy
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy | March 2007Part of a series on the United States Farm Bill
© 2007 Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
When the 2002 Farm Bill was written, farmers faced extremely low commodity prices for nearly all major commodities. The primary objective of Congress was to turn annual emergency payments into a more permanent safety net for farmers, and still be compliant with international trade rules. In 2007, the Farm Bill begins in an entirely different climate.
The 2007 Farm Bill covers a range of issues that influences how and what crops are grown for renewable energy. It also funds research and creates incentives that influence what technologies are most likely to become economically viable.
The growth in farm-based renewable energy production presents some important challenges. How quickly can we transition from the first generation of grain and oilseed biofuels to more sustainable biomass? How will food prices be affected by so much land dedicated to biofuel production? How can we ensure that farmers and rural communities reap the benefits of wind energy production, biofuels, bio-based plastics and other emerging industries in the bioeconomy? And what impact will the U.S. focus on biofuel production have on global markets? This report examines these issues and proposes policy solutions that support a sustainable biofuels system in the 2007 Farm Bill.
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