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American Corn Growers support energy bill and energy independence

(March 26, 2002 CropChoice news) -- The American Corn Growers Association (ACGA), the nation's leading farm and rural voice for ethanol and wind power, has announced its support for the Energy Policy Act of 2002 (S. 517). "Not only does this legislation increase the demand for renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, but it also increases the incentives to produce and use renewable power sources such as wind," said Keith Dittrich, ACGA President and corn and soybean farmer from Tilden, Neb.

"The Energy Policy Act of 2002 contains many provisions that are important to the economic and environmental well being of our rural citizens," stated Larry Mitchell, CEO of the organization. "ACGA strongly supports the introduction of a Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), which will more than double the demand for ethanol, thus creating almost a billion bushels of new corn demand. ACGA also supports a fair and equitable Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), requiring a portion of the nation's energy to come from renewable sources, which could be a boost for wind power generation."

Additionally, ACGA supports the bill's extension of the wind power Production Tax Credit (PTC) for five years, which will assist in encouraging new farmer-owned wind development. "Other provisions that we fully support will make farmer-owned ethanol cooperatives eligible for the Small Producers Tax Credit and put in place tax incentives for soybean-based biodiesel," added Dittrich. "Lastly, ACGA supports tax incentives included in the bill for the upgrade and expansion of electricity transmission. This key provision not only insures that rural America will have adequate and affordable power, but provides the "farm-to-market road" we need to get our new crop, wind generated electricity, to market."

Dittrich also took the opportunity to commend the President and Congressional leadership for the two-year extension of the PTC earlier this month. "ACGA is thankful for passage and enactment of Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-147) which gives a temporary extension of the PTC," remarked Dittrich. "We now urge passage of S. 517 to provide a full five-year extension of this essential incentive."

Dittrich expanded his remarks by saying, "Certainly the incentives for wind development are the most exciting issue for the ACGA. Passage of S. 517, combined with our Wealth From the Wind Program, the only national agricultural program that encourages the expansion of wind projects, will greatly benefit America's farm families. Requirements for a portion of the nation's power to come from renewable sources will advance wind generation toward the forefront of energy production, open up increased diversification of farmland, and encourage the development of farmer-owned wind farms. These wind projects will add new revenue sources for farmers, provide jobs and economic stability to rural communities, diversify and decentralize America's energy production, and help move our country toward energy independence."

Mitchell concluded by explaining, "The ACGA Wealth From the Wind Program sets the stage to facilitate the expansion of wind energy with small and mid-sized farmers reaping the rewards. The passage of S. 517 will assure that the stage is set to allow this expansion to take place."

The 14,000-member American Corn Growers Association respectfully requested support for the Energy Policy Act of 2002 in a letter to all members of the United States Senate.