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Chairman Scott Opening Statement at Hearing On Farm Energy Production: Impacts on Farm Income and Rural Communities

WASHINGTON (July 23, 2020) – House Agriculture Committee Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Chairman David Scott of Georgia delivered the following remarks at today’s hearing on farm energy production: impacts on farm income and rural communities.

[As Prepared for Delivery]

"Good morning and thank you for joining us at the first hybrid hearing of the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit. We’re going to talk today about an important subject, especially in the context of what’s going on in our country today. As the economy continues to struggle with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans in towns large and small are keeping an eye not only on their health, but also on their financial bottom line. For all Americans that includes thinking about the cost of the energy that powers their homes and cars. For American farmers, that also includes thinking about additional ways they can boost their incomes as the farm economy continues to lag.

"Today’s topic touches on both of those things, because we’re talking about on-farm energy. Energy is a particular concern for farmers and ranchers, as approximately 15 percent of production costs for U.S. farms is tied up in energy costs. By comparison, the average American household spends a little over 2 percent of its budget on electricity  and the same amount for gas. The better a farm operation is able to manage its energy costs, the better it can weather the tough times that we’re seeing so clearly today.

"I am excited to have four innovative farmers here with us today.  Our witnesses are going to talk about the pioneering work underway on their own farms to explore ways of reducing their energy use, develop alternative sources of energy, and grow more diverse income streams. This is a discussion that I know will benefit every farmer and rancher watching.

"And our discussion of how these folks are working on homegrown energy sources on the farm is one that I hope will help move our climate discussion forward as well, highlighting especially the capacity of agriculture as a source of clean, domestic, renewable energy.

"Today we’ll look at programs in the 2018 Farm Bill that help to encourage investment and exploration in the field of on-farm energy creation, storage and use. These programs—in the energy and conservation titles—range from ones that help producers transition to cleaner and more efficient energy systems and ones on the cutting edge of new biobased energy feedstocks. We’ll also look at other ways farmers are helping to move the renewable energy forward by exploring solutions like wind and solar within their operations as well."

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