US Sen: Farm Bill To Aid Transition To Cellulose Ethanol

US - The U.S. farm sector will have to go through transformations as cellulose becomes a viable feedstock for the country's ethanol production and Congress will help that come about when it writes a new farm bill next year, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said Wednesday.
calendar icon 8 December 2006
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Harkin, who will take over as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee in January and lead the Senate effort to put together a new farm bill, said Congress will play a core role in fostering new ways to produce ethanol.

"We need to lay the groundwork, the foundation, for the next ten years of transition - a transition to different kinds of production with different kinds of crops," Harkin told a gathering of reporters.

Corn is still the major ingredient in the billions of gallons of ethanol produced each year in the U.S., but government and industry officials are predicting it will not be long before leftover plant material, such as corn stover, can be used by energy producers.

Farmers will need new kinds of equipment and new storage facilities to deal with the cellulosic material expected to fuel future ethanol production, Harkin said.

New tax laws will be also be necessary to prepare for an ethanol production expansion, he said and stressed he was glad Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, will both be on the Senate Agriculture Committee as the 2007 farm bill is created.


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