2007 Farm Bill could help South Georgia produce bio fuel - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

2007 Farm Bill could help South Georgia produce bio fuel

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June 22, 2007

Tifton - - Government officials say they want South Georgia farmers to help find an answer to America's energy crisis. With a world-wide push towards alternative energy, officials say there's no reason why a good supply of ethanol and bio fuels can't be produced right here in South Georgia.

The U.S. Undersecretary for Research talked to farmers in Tifton about that goal Friday. 

Farmer David Lee has a speciality....growing blueberries.

"I own land and I want to keep owning land and keep it in the family."

So he's attended several informational sessions to learn another speciality, producing bio fuels. A trip to Brazil a couple of years ago motivated him to do it.

"They've got some co-ops and some programs put together for farmers that were going to have to do some things very similar to that in the United States."

U.S. Undersecretary for Research Gale Buchanan says it's possible.

"I'm convinced that just as agriculture has been so successful in providing the food, feed, and fiber that sustains us, we'll now have the responsibility of food, feed, fiber and fuel or energy," Buchanan says.

He traveled to Tifton Friday, meeting with farmers all over the state. Buchanan discussed the proposed 2007 Farm Bill and how it allows major money to study making alternative energy accessible for more farmers.

"It provides for 50 million dollars a year of mandatory funding for support of research and bio energy and bio products which is clearly something that's hot in this particular part of this country."

He says the government is listening to farmers and working with scientists to make it happen.

Lee is excited. With 100 million dollars a year proposed for boosting speciality crops, he'll continue to grow his blueberries - but he'll also have his eyes fixed on another money maker.

"We need to make a profit off of our agricultural land," Lee says.

One he hopes will cash in from alternative energy. 

Buchanan says farmers will need products other than corn to produce bio fuels. One proposal in the farm bill will allow 150 million dollars a year to study the effectiveness of converting wood into fuel.

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