The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) has developed a variety of resources to help better understand the rural clean energy development opportunities available in the new Farm Bill's Energy Title.
After three years of deliberation, the new Farm Bill – the Agricultural Act of 2014 – is now law. This Farm Bill includes the third Energy Title, building upon the Energy Titles in the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills. The Energy Title provides total mandatory funding of $694 million over five years (2014 – 2018), which compares to $1.12 billion over four years in the 2008 Farm Bill and $800 million over five years in the 2002 Farm Bill. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the outlays for the Energy Title over 10 years will be $880 million.
The 2014 Farm Bill thus reduces the scope of programs and amount of funding compared to the 2008 Farm Bill, but some funds have been re-allocated in favorable ways. For example, the important and successful Rural Energy for America Program is now the top-funded program.
The 2014 Farm Bill’s Energy Title includes several programs that ELPC strongly supports: (1) Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) – with program improvements and continued funding; (2) Energy audits and renewable energy development assistance (included in REAP) – with continued funding; and (3) Biomass Crop Assistance Program – continued funding with new conservation policies. ELPC is also pleased that the Repowering Assistance program to advance low carbon advanced biofuels was continued.