Hanover Michigan TownHall Meeting (Rep. Walberg) Subject: Renewable Energy August 23, 2007 • Thanks to Cong. Walberg; appreciate work on Ag Committee. • Farm Bill – marathon, not a sprint. President’s proposal was balanced and fair. We’ll now work with the Senate and conference to produce a good Farm Bill. • Rural Development has a unique role. There are about 150,000 large commercial farmers in the U.S. … about 2 million farmers in all … and 60 million rural Americans. We serve all 60 million. • That makes us unique at USDA. We’re infrastructure, housing, community facilities, health care/Critical Access Hospitals, business development. $97 billion investment bank. • Our mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life in rural communities. • Focused on next generation opportunities … broadband … renewable energy. • Renewable energy is our topic today. Remarkable opportunity: o Americans spend more on imported oil than dollar value of all production from our farms and ranches. o President’s goal: 35 billion gallon Alternative Fuel Standard by 2017 = half of net farm income. o Biggest opportunity for growth, jobs, and wealth creation in rural America in our lifetimes. • Top priority for President Bush since 2001: comprehensive energy strategy in 2001 … Energy Title of 2002 Farm Bill … tax incentives … EPACT in 2005 … Advanced Energy Initiative … 20 in 10 Initiative … 2007 Farm Bill. • Also driven by markets -- $60/70 oil changes the game. • Bottom line, this decade is clearly a turning point: o Wind: Installed wind capacity has quadrupled since 2000. We led the world in new capacity in 2005/06 and will lead again this year. o Ethanol: tripled since 2000; will double again in next two years. o Cellulosic ethanol is moving from the labs into production. Still need to demonstrate at a commercial scale but the first plants are being built now. Payoff will accrue in next decade, but the potential is there to supply 30% of our fuel needs. o Biodiesel: 2 million gallons in 2000; 246 million last year; 379 projected this year rising to almost 700 million by 2010. • Renewable energy is largely rural energy. Tremendous opportunities not just for producers … corn and soybean prices … but also for entrepreneurs. • There are opportunities at every point in the value chain: feedstocks/production … conversion … distribution … marketing. • Our goal: through technical support, financial support, and leveraging assets, help rural entrepreneurs engage. • $3.50-$4.00 corn is great – but the bigger rewards are in the ownership stake in the plant … the suppliers and vendors up and down the chain … the ripple effect across the community. • This can transform rural America for generations to come. For too many years, rural communities have lost the next generation. Today, thanks to broadband and renewable energy, we’re building opportunities that can turn that around. That’s the goal. Thank you.