February 15, 2012
Key Priorities of Private Forest Landowners Requested by Senate Committee for Farm Bill Hearing
A series of four Senate Agriculture Farm Bill hearings kicks-off today with an examination of energy and economic growth opportunities in rural America. In preparation for today’s hearing, Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) requested the Forest Landowners Association submit key priorities of importance to private forest landowners. This request followed a one-on-one meeting FLA CEO Scott Jones had in January with committee staff to strengthen relationships and emphasis FLA’s value in being able to serve as a resource on policy issues.
“The fact that the Senate Agriculture Committee specifically contacted FLA for input for this hearing demonstrates that private forest landowner issues are top of mind and FLA is valued as a trusted resource on Capitol Hill,” stated Jones. “I commend Chairwoman Stabenow for ensuring private forest landowners’ issues are considered during today’s hearing.”
In the letter to Chairwoman Stabenow, FLA outlined 5 key priorities for consideration including:
1. Broad, all inclusive definition of biomass
2. Development of technological advancement
3. Incentivize and accelerate development wood-to-energy technologies
4. Research, development, and education programs (McIntire-Stennis, RREA)
5. Tax-based incentives vs. direct subsidies.
Additional key points in the letter stated:
As your committee begins deliberations on the 2012 Farm Bill, the Forest Landowners Association encourages your support of continued practical forestry investments that incentivize the continuation of private forests playing a role in addressing our nation’s environmental and energy challenges.
Before the benefits can be realized, markets must be created for low-value biomass.
Uncertainty and obstacles for landowners and business entities must be removed. Potential new energy technologies (such as converting wood to liquid fuels) should receive further encouragement. Energy producers and landowners should be incentivized, but not necessarily subsidized.
To view a complete copy of the FLA letter to Chairwoman Stabenow click here.
Other Policy News of Interest
On February 12, President Obama sent his 2013 budget proposal to Congress. The following links are statements made by House and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairs
Chairman Frank Lucas
Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)