This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

May 13, 2002

Farm Bill Boosts Bioenergy Production, Renewable Energy Use

President Bush signed the Farm Bill on May 13th, ushering in a variety of programs to encourage the production of energy products on farms while providing incentives for farmers to increase their energy efficiency and their use of renewable energy resources. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman noted that the bill — officially called the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 — provides " a renewed commitment to renewable fuels programs." See the U.S. Department of Agriculture press release.

Title IX of the bill specifically addresses energy, providing $204 million in subsidies over the next four years for producers of fuel-grade ethanol and biodiesel. It also provides $5 million to educate consumers about biodiesel and $6 million to establish a new program to encourage the purchase of biobased products by federal agencies. The new program will include an effort to establish voluntary labeling of biobased products.

The bill encourages farmers to be energy efficient and to use renewable energy systems, including wind energy systems and anaerobic digesters, by providing $115 million over the next five years for low-interest loans, loan guarantees, and grants. It also extends the Biomass Research and Development Initiative through 2006, providing $75 million to continue the Initiative. See the Farm Bill page on the U.S. Senate Web site. The site includes a Farm Bill summary as well as the complete text.

The Biomass Research and Development Initiative is a multi-agency effort to coordinate and accelerate all federal biobased products and bioenergy research and development. See the Initiative's Web site.