Farm Bill Includes Shea-Porter Provision to Fund Home Heating Oil Research

Washington, DC - Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) secured a provision in the Farm Bill to help local farmers, companies, and other institutions develop new technologies and energy sources to combat the rising costs of home heating oil. The measure was drawn from a bill that Shea-Porter introduced earlier this month to advance research into bio-based home heating fuel by opening up access to a proposed $500 million federal bio-fuel research fund.

"In New Hampshire, high energy prices hit people twice - first through the high cost of gas, and then with heating oil for our homes. We don't need to get hit a third time by being shut out of research funding," said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. "People in New England who work to develop biofuels for home heating oil deserve access to the same research funds as large companies that work to produce biofuels for cars."

Specifically, Shea-Porter's bill (HR 3101) amended the definition of "Bio-based Fuel" to include home heating fuel for the purposes of the federally-funded Biomass Research and Development Program. This program, which is expected to be reauthorized at $500 million, allows farms, corporations, colleges and universities, federal and state research agencies and other institutions to receive federal funding for research and development of bio-based fuels and products through new technologies and farming methods.

During consideration of the Farm Bill (HR 2419) today, the House adopted an amendment containing the text of Shea-Porter's bill. The legislation was approved by a bi-partisan majority of 231 to 191.

In addition to the biofuel research funding, the Farm Bill contains a number of other provisions that will directly benefit New Hampshire farmers and families. The bill guarantees a historic $1.5 billion in funding for fruit and vegetable programs which have not received traditional Farm Bill benefits in the past. It adds $4.3 billion more to preserve farm and ranchland, improve water quality and quantity, and enhance soil conservation, air quality, and wildlife habitat on working lands.

On top of that, the bill cuts subsidies from affluent farmers who don't need the help and includes new transparency rules to ensure the public knows taxpayer dollars are getting to the family farmers who need them.

Other Key Provisions of the Farm Bill:

o       Imposes real payment limitations that will save more than a half billion dollars, and redirect funds to the people who need it most: working family farmers and ranchers.

o       Encourages the expansion of renewable fuel production that encourages energy independence and protects our environment. The Farm bill provides loan guarantees for the development of refineries that process renewable fuels, a key step toward bringing more renewable fuels to market in America.

o       Mandates Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for meat products. As of Sept. 30, 2008, beef, pork, lamb and goat from animals born, raised and slaughtered in the United States will be labeled "Product of the U.S."

o       Invests in rural communities nationwide, including economic development programs and access to broadband telecommunication services.

o       Invests in nutrition programs that help families in need, including increasing the purchasing power of food stamps.