Ag experts: local farmers could play large role in alternative energy solutions

NORWICH – If they play their cards right, local farmers could ride the wave of opportunity created by the 2007 Energy Bill, two local agriculture advocates say.

President Bush signed the bill, known as the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, into law Dec. 19. It’s major goals: Increase alternative fuel production and consumption and decrease dependence on gasoline, thus foreign oil.

The bill specifically pours federal money into the development of cellulosic ethanol – fuel that can be made from waste products and non-essential forest and field products – and other value added resources. It also forces car companies to play along, requiring that they increase vehicle fuel economy and create more alternative fuel-friendly engines.

Bradd Vickers, president of Chenango County Farm Bureau, says the policy expands the production and use of fuels made from renewable energy sources, helps boost the nation’s energy security and encourages economic development in rural America.

“Agricultural producers in Chenango County like other American farmers and ranchers have the opportunity to play a significant role in the energy solutions of the future,” said Vickers, “including the production of renewable energy sources such as ethanol and biodiesel.”

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