Thompson Agriculture Subcommittee Completes Final Farm Bill Reauthorization Hearing with Review of Energy & Forestry Programs

May 18, 2012
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Glenn 'GT' Thompson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry, today held a hearing to receive input from agriculture stakeholders on energy and forestry programs. The hearing marked the completion of the third and final hearing series on agricultural programs in advance of writing the next farm bill.

“Today’s panels provided the subcommittee with critical details on how the current Farm Bill is performing, what areas require improvement, and what recommendations will serve to create a stronger and more efficient law,” said Chairman Thompson. “We aim to craft legislation that will assist the nation in meeting the rising energy demand, and forestry provisions that promote healthier and better managed federal, state, and private forests.”

The Agriculture Committee included an energy title for the first time in the 2002 Farm Bill to foster the development of more feedstocks for renewable energy development in rural America. There is no budget baseline for the core energy programs beyond the conclusion of the existing Farm Bill.

“The agricultural sector will have to do its part as the nation works to decrease the debt,” added Thompson. “I want to thank today’s witnesses for assisting the subcommittee with indentifying areas of program duplication and inefficiency as we draft a farm bill that meets the needs of producers and farming communities in each region of the country.”

The forestry title has been a part of farm bills since 1990. National priorities for forestry assistance, statewide forest assessments, and the creation of a new community forest and open space conservation program were some of the changes under the 2008 Farm Bill. All forestry programs are permanently authorized.

Written testimony provided by the witnesses is linked below. 

Panel I

The Honorable Jim Greenwood, President and CEO, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Ryan Stroschein, Director, Agriculture Energy Coalition, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Steve Reinford, Owner/Operator, Reinford Farms Inc., Mifflintown, Pennsylvania

Mr. Jerry Taylor, President and Chief Executive Officer, MFA Oil Company, Co-Founder, MFA Oil Biomass LLC, Columbia, Missouri

Mr. Gary Haer, Chairman, National Biodiesel Board, Washington, D.C.

Panel II

Mr. John W. Burke, III, Virginia tree farmer, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, American Forest Foundation, Woodford, Virginia

Mr. C. Randy Dye, State Forester of West Virginia, President, National Association of State Foresters, Charleston, West Virginia

Mr. Charles A. Holmes, Chairman, Forest Resource Policy Group, National Association of Conservation Districts, Demopolis, Alabama

Mr. Richard Schwab, Procurement Manager, M.A. Rigoni, Inc., on behalf of American Loggers Council and Southeastern Wood Producers Association, Perry, Florida

Mr. Michael T. Goergen, Jr., Executive Vice President and CEO, Society of American Foresters, Bethesda, Maryland

Video footage from today’s hearing can viewed by clicking here.