Mary Belle Zook, Communications Manager & Program Specialist for the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative led the tenth webinar in our Farm Bill series. Zook presented on Title IX of the Farm Bill, the energy title. Keep reading for an overview of Title IX, its importance to Indian Country, information about our next webinar, and the link to Zook's presentation slides.
The Energy Title made its first appearance in the 2002 Farm Bill. Since that time, its importance depends largely on how much of a focus the current Congress or Administration has on the nation’s energy supplies and resources. The Title generally authorizes programs that encourage investments in alternative energy technology, production of renewable biomass for biofuels, education, research, financial assistance, and the manufacture and production of renewable energy.
Regardless of who is in office, energy use in agriculture is a serious and increasingly important issue. Hundreds of years ago, agriculture used energy from natural resources and processes. But as agriculture has changed and modernized over time, so has its energy consumption. Agricultural energy use now can be found in fertilizer production and use; water consumption and use; farm equipment; processing; packaging; distribution; and transportation. Agricultural water use alone makes up a significant financial investment for producers and moving water across production landscapes can be energy-intensive.
The need for renewable energy, increased sources of domestic of energy, and the impacts that energy access disruptions have in sensitive agriculture markets call for the inclusion of an Energy Title in the Farm Bill. Interest in the ethanol industry (the use of crops for energy use) has grown over time, and biofuels development, energy efficiency, and carbon capture continue to generate high levels of interest even in the years when agricultural energy policies wane.
Energy projects in Indian Country hold immense promise for diversifying tribal economies while bringing much-needed energy systems to remote and isolated communities. Growing crops for energy purposes or converting natural resources on tribal lands to bio-energy projects is an important tool for economic development and self-sufficiency. In addition, if bio-energy projects could focus on the needs of remote tribal food producers and embrace the importance of research and development of products and systems on tribal lands, important tribal goals can be met.
Our next webinar covering Title X of the Farm Bill, the horticulture title, will be livestreamed from our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages on Friday, June 17th at 3 pm ET. We hope to see you there!