BILL WOULD BOOST ON-FARM ENERGY PRODUCTION
Farm Groups Back Measure To Boost Alternative Energy
(Washington , D.C. ) – Montana ’s senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus today introduced legislation that would take an innovative new approach to boosting domestic energy production by giving farmers and ranchers incentives to produce renewable energy “on-farm.”
Baucus’ bill would amend the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP, which currently gives producers incentives to do conservation work on their lands.
First-Of-Its-Kind Proposal To Boost Energy
The bill, which Baucus calls the On-Farm Energy Production Act, is a first-of-its kind proposal that will help farmers and ranchers install windmills, solar panels, or biodiesel oilseed presses on their operations. The federal government would pay about 50 percent of the total costs to add renewable energy sources to the farm or ranch. Baucus said other alternative energy programs help agriculture producers, but indirectly. Under his bill, farmers and ranchers will benefit directly because they’ll be able to cut their energy and fuel bills.
“This is a big-thinking proposal to help us break the foreign oil addiction,” Baucus said. “We will create home-grown alternative energy and help producers reduce their input costs at the same time. The winds that wilt farmers’ crops can be harnessed to boost their bottom lines.”
Baucus is a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the only member of the Montana delegation to have a seat on the Committee.
Ag Groups Back Proposal As "Win-Win"
Baucus said his bill has wide support from Agriculture groups. The Montana Grain Growers, Montana Wool Growers, Montana Farm Bureau and Montana Farmers Union backed Baucus’ bill today.
- “On-farm energy production is a win-win for everyone,” said Montana Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Jake Cummins Jr . “It provides energy for America , and money in the bank for our farmers and ranchers. The Montana Farm Bureau as always is deeply appreciative of the work that Senator Baucus continues to do to preserve a profitable future for Montana 's farm and ranch families.”
- “Senator Baucus’ on-farm energy production amendment to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) improves a program that we already support,” said Montana Farmers Union President Alan Merrill . “We particularly like the fact that family farmers and ranchers can benefit from the renewable energy production supports contained in this measure.”
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today signed onto Baucus' bill, which will go before the Agriculture Committee for its consideration before going to the Senate floor.
“I’m committed to working together with my colleagues to get this legislation passed and I feel hopeful we will – after all, we all want lower energy and fuel bills,” Baucus said.
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