I regularly receive updates from the 25x25 Alliance (www.25x25.org), a coalition of agricultural, environmental and other groups striving to produce 25 percent of the total energy consumed in the U.S. from renewable resources by 2025. The Alliance recently posted a call to all stakeholders (farmers and foresters included) to play a stronger role in creating consensus on “energy and climate policies that make sense.”
The Alliance makes a point that farmers understand all too well—that farmers operate over the long haul. “What they plant this spring is often tied to crops years in the future. Shifting to energy crops, such as those that may be grown for biomass or managed to sequester carbon, requires many to make substantial investments in production and handling equipment. If we’re going to ask our nation’s farmers to stake their families’ future on renewable energy, we have to provide them with the security of a solid, long-term policy and strong market signals.”
To do this, though, farm organizations, entrepreneurs and others are going to have to find ways to learn from each other and collaborate, capitalizing on each others’ strengths. They need to participate or get their voice heard in Washington and state capitals. Groups like the 25x25 Alliance (www.25x25.org) and Growth Energy (growthenergy.org) already have made some great strides in attracting the attention of policymakers and legislators, and they can continue to use new ideas and fresh blood.
The biofuels sector still faces a lot of opposition, and a lot of misinformation is still circulating out there. That’s one of the many reasons Farm Industry News published “20 Surprising Things You Need to Know Now” in the Mid-February issue. It provides some ammunition you can use to shoot down some of the myths being circulated about biofuels and agriculture in general.
I encourage you to counter some of the anti-biofuels arguments out there when you’re talking with your elected officials, friends and acquaintances. Write a letter to your local newspaper editors or volunteer to speak before a local Kiwanis, Jaycees or other community group.
I believe, like the 25x25 Alliance, that “America’s farms, ranches and forests are capable of supplying much needed bioenergy feedstocks without compromising their ability to feed and clothe much of the world.” Do you? Please help spread the message!