OFTENTIMES, FARMERS, RANCHERS and other ag folks are portrayed as being at odds with environmentalists and conservationists. Nothing could be further from the truth. As an agriculture and environmental lawyer, I can attest that there are few people who care as much about the land they live and work on and their animals as do those in agriculture. The majority of those working in agriculture care deeply about clean water, fresh air and the health and well being of their livestock.
Case in point, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is continually investing in clean, renewable energy that is environmentally sound and good for the economy through job creation. The USDA’s track record speaks for itself. For starters, the U.S. is the world leader in exports of ethanol; in 2014, the U.S. exported over $2 billion worth of ethanol, thanks to the country’s soybean and corn farmers. Going forward, the USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership will make $100 million available through grants to improve clean energy infrastructure, offering added clean energy options to more Americans.
Additionally, the USDA has also made head roads into many other forms of clean energy beyond ethanol. The USDA has programs for solar and wind power, for generating electricity through captured methane, for creating crude oil from algae and for creating “drop-in” diesel and jet fuel substitutes, just to name a few.
Those in the agriculture industry are not only feeding the world, they are working to make it a cleaner, better place for all.
column by MIKE MARTIN
BIO: Michael Martin of Martin Law Office in Lakeland specializes in agriculture and environmental legal representation. A native of Polk County, Mike attended college at Sewanee in Tennessee, before obtaining a doctorate in law from the University of Florida and has tried numerous cases nationwide since that time. Mike also serves as the director of the FFA Foundation and is the author of the novel, The Crestfallen Rose.