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AAM APPLAUDS RENEWABLE ENERGY PROVISIONS IN NEW FARM BILL

WASHINGTON (RuralWire), May16, 2008 – Larry Matlack, President of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), has expressed his organization's appreciation to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate for key energy and safetynet provisions included in the recently passed 2008 farm bill. “Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairman Harkin, D-Iowa, and Ranking Minority Member Chambliss, R-Ga., as well as Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Ranking Minority Member Goodlatte, R-Va., of the House Committee on Agriculture have shown their bipartisan and bicameral leadership abilities in crafting a new farm bill to address the needs of the nation's future energy development and the necessity for a better safetynet for the nation's farm families,” declared Matlack. “Inclusion of several renewable energy initiatives as well as a standing disaster assistance trust fund are key improvements over the 2002 farm bill.”

“The inclusion of programs to encourage farmers to establish and grow biomass crops in areas around biomass facilities such as biorefineries as well as provisions to provide matching payments to producers for harvest, transport and storage of biomass delivered to such a facility are critical first steps in helping farmers shift to new alternative crops which will help America move towards energy independence,” added Matlack. “By including incentives in the next farm program to produce and harvest biomass crops, farmers can help provide local, home-grown, renewable energy for industrial heat, electric cogeneration and cellulosic ethanol.

“AAM has been a leader in advancing the issues of renewable, farm raised energy for almost three decades,” said Matlack. “The thousands of demonstrating AAM members in Washington, D.C., in 1979 and the portable alcohol plant we operated on the Mall in 1980 were a huge influence on Congress and then-President Carter who established the genesis of today's ethanol industry. We stand with Congress and President Bush today with the same vision for biomass energy production.”

“Of no less importance to farm and ranch families was the inclusion of a provision to establish a standing disaster trust fund to provide a better safetynet for farm families when natural disaster strikes,” added Matlack. “By providing the trust fund, we eliminate the need for time-consuming, politically charged campaigns for ad hoc disaster assistance. We also highly commend the inclusion of mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for meat and other foods in the new bill.”

Matlack concluded by saying, “We do not see this as a great farm bill because there were so many missed opportunities to improve many elements of farm policy. But this year's farm bill, with the inclusion of the provisions we have identified above, this is a better farm bill than the 2002 bill and AAM supports its enactment by President Bush. Given the fact that the farm bill passed by huge, veto-proof margins in both congressional chambers we sincerely hope he will reconsider his threat to veto the bill. If President Bush does veto the bill we do look forward to the benefits that permanent law will bring to both farmers and taxpayers.”

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