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Renewable energy policy in the 2008 farm bill

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  • "The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246, the 2008 farm bill) extends and expands many of the renewable energy programs originally authorized in the 2002 farm bill. The bill also continues the emphasis on the research and development of advanced and cellulosic bioenergy authorized in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (P.L. 110-140). Farm bill debate over U.S. biomass-based renewable energy production policy focused mainly on the continuation of subsidies for ethanol blenders, continuation of the import tariff for ethanol, and the impact of corn-based ethanol on agriculture. The enacted bill requires reports on the economic impacts of ethanol production, reflecting concerns that the increasing share of corn production being used for ethanol is contributing to high commodity prices and food price inflation. Title VII, the research title of the 2008 farm bill, contains numerous renewable energy related provisions that promote research, development, and demonstration of biomass-based renewable energy and biofuels. The Sun Grant Initiative coordinates and funds research at land grant institutions on biobased energy technologies. The Agricultural Bioenergy Feedstock and Energy Efficiency Research and Extension Initiative provides support for on-farm biomass energy crop production research and demonstration. Title IX authorizes mandatory funds of $1.1 billion and discretionary funds (subject to appropriations) totaling $1.0 billion for the FY2008-FY2012 period. Energy grants and loans provided through initiatives such as the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels promote the development of cellulosic biorefinery capacity. The Repowering Assistance Program supports increasing efficiencies in existing refineries. Programs such as the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) assist rural communities and businesses in becoming more energy-efficient and self sufficient, with an emphasis on small operations. The Biomass Crop Assistance and Development Program, the Biorefinery Assistance Program, and the Forest Biomass for Energy Program provide support to develop alternative feedstock resources and the infrastructure to support the production, harvest, storage, and processing of cellulosic biomass feedstocks. Cellulosic feedstocks -- for example, switchgrass and woody biomass -- are given high priority both in research and funding. Title XV of the 2008 farm bill contains tax and trade provisions. It continues current biofuels tax incentives, reducing those for corn-based ethanol but expanding tax credits for cellulosic ethanol. The tariff on ethanol imports is extended. This report will be not be updated."

  • "Renewable energy policy in the 2008 farm bill"