The Energy Policy Act of 2005 would greatly benefit America’s farmers and ranchers who are facing dramatically higher costs to produce safe and abundant foods due to the current national energy crunch, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

In a letter to members of the House, AFBF President Bob Stallman said the legislation (H.R. 6) would help agriculture by including initiatives to increase domestic energy supplies, both traditional and renewable.

“Farming and ranching is an energy intensive business,” Stallman said. “The United States is in dire need of a new national energy policy and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 places this nation one step closer to realizing the cure for our ongoing energy crisis.”

A number of provisions contained within the comprehensive energy legislation are vital to America’s farmers and ranchers, according to AFBF. These include a renewable fuels standard, which can play a key role in decreasing U.S. dependence on foreign sources of energy. AFBF also supports continuing the current language regarding Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. An excessive increase in those standards would raise the purchase price and reduce the power and variety of vehicles needed in agriculture.

Stallman said Farm Bureau also supports other provisions to give farmers and ranchers increased access to energy supplies. Maintaining current language to encourage the construction of liquefied natural gas terminal facilities is part of a comprehensive solution to high natural gas prices. Environmentally safe exploration and production of oil and gas in a 2,000 acre plot of the Artic National Wildlife Refuge would increase domestic oil and gas supplies.

Farmers’ and ranchers’ energy costs have increased significantly. According to Stallman, “U.S. farmers spent an additional $6 billion in energy-related input costs to grow food and fiber during the 2003 and 2004 growing seasons.”