Governors’ Letter to New York Times: America’s Farmers Help Meet Our Energy Needs

Source: By Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Chairman and Vice Chairman, Governors' Biofuels Coalition, New York Times • Posted: Thursday, February 12, 2015

America’s Farmers Help Meet Our Energy Needs

To the Editor:

Re “New Report Urges Western Governments to Reconsider Reliance on Biofuels” (news article, Jan. 29):

The World Resources Institute’s report suggests that the world’s agricultural system can’t possibly meet future demands for food and bioenergy in a sustainable way.

We disagree, based on data and recent real-world experience. As governors of two states at the forefront of the nation’s bioeconomy, we have witnessed firsthand the sustainable development of robust and dynamic bioenergy industries.

We see every day the many benefits that stem from bioenergy production — reduced dependence on overseas oil, increased economic activity and investment, new market opportunities for agriculture and forestry, family income growth in rural America, consumer choice at the fuel pump, and cleaner air and water. The experience of our states has shown not only that bioenergy and food production can efficiently coexist, but also that they can thrive together in a sustainable way.

The past decade has been the most profitable time in the history of American agriculture, partly because of the emergence of a vibrant bioenergy industry. Improved profitability allowed farmers to reinvest in new technologies and equipment that further enhanced productivity and efficiency.

We recognize the need for future technological advancements and are optimistic that recent high-tech innovations in precision agriculture will continue to meet the future food and energy demands of a growing world population. Our agricultural system can — and will — continue to meet those demands in a way that is environmentally sustainable, socially responsible and economically efficient.



Des Moines

The writers are governors of Iowa and Missouri, respectively. They are the chairman and vice chairman of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition.

America’s Farmers Help Meet Our Energy Needs