At long last, a Farm Bill has passed both houses of Congress and has been signed by the President. It has been a long and grueling process, but the outcome for us and our colleagues in the green chemicals industry is tremendous. The new legislation includes $881m in mandatory spending on energy programs; important legislative language ensuring parity for renewable chemicals; new funding for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program and Biomass R&D Initiative, and a pathway to crop insurance options for purpose-grown energy crops.
Many, many people – too many to mention here — deserve credit for their contributions to this outcome. But one organization stands out for its unflagging work to foster a better understanding among legislators about the pivotal role of biochemicals and the impact their development can have on our economy, our environment, and people. That would be BIO, the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across 34 nations.
In short, passage of the Farm Bill represents the successful culmination of BIO’s strenuous, two-year effort to reauthorize the energy title with mandatory funding and parity for renewable chemicals. BIO helped found and form a coalition to work on this legislation called the Agriculture Energy Coalition and worked to garner the support of Senator Stabenow and other key Senators in support of funding an Energy Title that benefits both renewable fuels and chemicals. They used every aspect of BIO advocacy capabilities including communications, and state level activities to maintain support and interest in the legislation. The organisation is to be commended and congratulated.