The US Farm Bill 2007 will underpin quite a lot of US agriculture through subsidies and price supports — which make it hard for non US farmers to compete in that market. It must be one of the largest pieces of social engineering in the world. So it is interesting to see Senator Tom Harkin, quoted as saying by Bill Thompson in the Wall St Journal online .
“When I talk about energy and I talk about cellulose, you know, switchgrass can be a commodity… It may not be a commodity now, but in the next five to 10 years it could be a very big commodity … Why are commodities just limited to what we’ve done in the last … 50 years? Maybe there are new commodities out there we should be investing in.”
Harkin, separately spoke about the Farm-to-Fuel Investment Act, in a press statement. He said:
The Farm-to-Fuel Investment Act, would provide transition assistance for farmers to grow dedicated energy crops (crops like switchgrass grown solely for the purpose of producing energy).
“When we draw our energy from farm fields and other renewable sources here in the U.S., and reduce our dependence on the oil fields of the Middle East, that is a win, win, win for America. This bill charts a course for initiating the extensive production of biomass feedstocks while continuing to protect wildlife and promote sound soil and water conservation practices. I commend Senator Klobuchar for her work to push additional biofuels production from biomass and the contribution she is making to the debate on the new farm bill.”
Is the Senator right? I’d love to hear your views on the Farm Bill and on the Farm to Fuel Act.
Hattip and deep bow to Farmpolicy.com, which will be added to my reading list.