Ag Energy Coalition Releases Policy Recommendations for 2021

January 16, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – The Agriculture Energy Coalition (AgEC) today released a set of 12 policy recommendations designed to help the agriculture sector take a seat at the table in addressing the climate crisis. The coalition recommends that Congress enhance existing U.S. Department of Agriculture programs to better support small rural businesses, emerging technologies, and clean energy.

"Congress must ensure that any stimulus, infrastructure, and appropriations or budget reconciliation legislation is both ag and climate smart," said Lloyd Ritter, executive director of the Agriculture Energy Coalition. "Providing relief to rural communities and supporting ongoing economic recovery and growth is exceptionally important. At the same time, these policies support the agriculture sector's ability to store carbon and preserve sustainability for our future. The AgEC recommendations can be implemented quickly to save and create key jobs of the 21st century at modest cost to the Federal Treasury."

"We are optimistic that Congress will recognize the need for a REAP Reserve Fund to ensure equity in the program and allow all renewable energy technologies to compete fairly," said Patrick Serfass, Executive Director of the American Biogas Council (ABC). "Biogas systems take organic wastes and turns them into biogas and valuable nutrients. These systems are one of the most impactful methods of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating additional forms of revenue for the on-farm economy. We are looking forward to working with the AgEC on this and other important policy recommendations."

"Sustainable utilization of organic waste produced from forests and farms is a crucial tool in combating climate change. Using low-value ag and forest residues to generate energy helps reduce wildfire risk and methane release from decomposition, and it shores up rural economies," stated Carrie Annand, Executive Director, Biomass Power Association.

“The National Rural Lenders Association serves as a prominent advocate for USDA Guaranteed Lending programs to support rural economic development. Guaranteed lending is an often overlooked resource for the needed capital for businesses and communities in rural America that often goes unmet,” stated NRLA Chairman Joe Geisler. “Various guaranteed lending programs fill an important gap in access to capital for rural business, communities, not-for-profits and tribal entities. The recommendations as outlined in the AgEC proposal help to fill gaps that we have identified and have been advocating for both to Congress and the USDA.”

"The National Rural Lenders' Roundtable, one of the industry's top trade groups who provides leadership and advocacy for USDA Rural Development's guaranteed loan programs, strongly supports the initiatives outlined in the AgEC proposal," added NRLR President Jordan Blanchard. "These initiatives are critical in helping small businesses overcome the effects of COVID and spur economic development in Rural America."

The AgEC recommends enhancements to USDA Rural Development energy programs and Commodity Credit Corporation grants; extension of clean energy tax credits; and replenished funding for Business and Industry loan programs. The coalition also recommends new focus on Sustainable Aviation Fuels and the role of biomass in forest fire risk reduction.


The Agriculture Energy Coalition (AgEC) represents a diverse set of interests in agriculture and renewable energy, including farmers, advanced biofuel and bio-based manufacturers, clean tech, rural lenders, and environmental NGOs.