The National Farmers Union (NFU) has joined more than 100 organizations representing a broad range of renewable energy, farm, ranch, commodity, environmental, and other groups to send a letter to leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate Agriculture Committees asking for reauthorization and funding of energy title programs from the farm bill that revitalize rural America and improve both national security and the environment.

The letter states that farm bill energy programs like the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), Biorefinery Assistance Program (BAP) and Biobased Markets Program (Biopreferred) “strongly support American agriculture and ensure broad public benefits to the entire country,” helping rural communities create or save thousands of direct and indirect jobs. According to USDA, REAP has created or saved approximately 21,688 jobs since 2003.

“Renewable energy is a tremendous opportunity to help our rural communities thrive by providing them with additional sources of income,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “These programs are vital not only to rural America, but they also provide us with a clean, homegrown fuel that helps America become more energy independent, which is critical for national security. These programs need our support. We urge members of Congress to support these farm bill energy title programs that provide tremendous benefits for all Americans.”

Sens. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Kent Conrad, D-N.D., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Al Franken, D-Minn., recently introduced energy title legislation providing more $1.2 billion in funding over the next five years for these programs.