U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy, yesterday questioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary of Rural Development, Xochitl Torres Small, on programs in the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill aimed at lowering energy costs for Iowa’s farmers and rural communities. Ernst, who grew up on a family farm in Southwest Iowa, emphasized the high propane prices Iowa farmers are facing and the impacts the rising costs have had on this year’s harvest.
Specifically, Ernst focused on the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which provides resources to agriculture producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or energy efficiency improvements. She also recognized Dr. Christophe Schilling, CEO of Geno and a witness on the second panel, to highlight Geno’s $300 million investment with Cargill to manufacture bio-BDO in Eddyville, IA and add value to Iowa corn farmers. The hearing focused on the rural development and energy programs within the 2023 Farm Bill and was the first in a series of hearings on the package.