Rep. Crawford Raises Fuel Challenges in Farm Bill Hearing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sara Robertson (Sara.Robertson2@mail.house.gov)

Rep. Crawford Raises Fuel Challenges in Farm Bill Hearing

4/5/2022

Washington  Today, Representative Rick Crawford (AR-01) participated in the House Agriculture Committee hearing entitled, “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Renewable Energy Opportunities in Rural America.” Rep. Crawford raised the challenges of astronomical fuel, fertilizer, and other input costs while the Biden Administration continues to push for Green New Deal policies that emphasize massive investments in solar and wind energy.

Rep. Crawford: 

“I was getting calls about this around this time last year, so this problem with supply chains and inputs didn’t just materialize as a result of Vladimir Putin. I was wondering if you could explain how rural Americans might power a 300 horse power tractor in the production of food and fiber to feed and clothe our population as well as being important in the global marketplace?”

Sec. Torres Small, Under Secretary for Rural Development at U.S. Department of Agriculture:

“I recognize the importance that we have to work together on these challenges knowing that there is no one simple silver bullet that fixes everything, but rather that we’ve got to invest in the places where we are seeing innovation happen on the local scale. This is really where rural development shines, we’re not in the regulation space but that we’re in the investment and incentivizing space.” 

Rep. Crawford: 

“I appreciate your comments but you really didn’t answer my question. I’m wondering what does a farmer do today when we’re seeing policy that is being developed that is so focused on renewable energy. Are they to put solar panels on top of their 300 horse power tractor or are they going to use electric tractors that are powered by wind turbines? We have large scale ag-operations across the country that our people rely on for food and fiber and just don’t think it’s realistic that you’re going to focus almost exclusively on renewables and at the same time expect farmers to produce at the scale we need. So with that, what are your plans for our current farmers who produce on large scale operations to feed and clothe 350 million people in this country and overseas?” 

Sec. Torres Small:

“Although we need to invest in renewable resources that transition will not happen overnight. The work that happens right now when it comes to tractors and beyond that rely on a diversity of fuels. As we look toward the future there is a key opportunity here to support biodiesel and opportunities to make that production and use of energy more efficient.” 


This exchange highlights the frustration rural communities continue to have with federal policies that drive up the cost of fuel for producers. Rep. Crawford met with farmers in Newport a few weeks ago to discuss the high input costs they are facing as those for both fuel and fertilizer rise to record heights. He remains committed to finding solutions to lower the price at the pump while pushing back on policies that only exacerbate the current situation. 

Rep. Crawford’s full remarks from the hearing can be found here.

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