The Beneficial Electrification League (BEL) was pleased to provide input to the USDA on the new Climate-Smart Agriculture Initiative via comments solicited through a request for stakeholder input issued by the Agency. "As electric-powered equipment and the grid become smarter and more efficient, and as emissions from power generation continue to fall, switching out agricultural equipment running on propane, diesel and other fossil fuels can benefit the grid, the environment and the farmers' bottom line," said Gary Connett, Chair of the BEL Board. "Producers across America can use electricity to save money, increase productivity and improve their quality or life all while helping to achieve national climate goals. The Beneficial Electrification League welcomes the opportunity to help USDA design a program that enhances the contribution of agriculture to decarbonizing the economy."
BEL's comments can be summarized in the following three points:
- Beneficial electrification of equipment on farms that reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions should be a key strategy towards meeting the goals of the Climate-Smart Agriculture Initiative.
- Grants to farmers to help purchase such equipment (electric grain drying, electric tractors, electric material handlers, electric pumps, etc.) and the power lines to bring them electric service is a good way to achieve beneficial electrification goals, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions on farms, and thus of agricultural commodities.
- Funding for pilot programs should be available directly to farmers and electric utilities and non-profit organizations such as the Beneficial Electrification League.
BEL's mission is to increase understanding on the benefits of electrification by promoting the market acceptance of beneficial electrification, educate policymakers on the value and benefits of beneficial electrification, and to serve as a conduit and facilitator of beneficial electrification resources. We are a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2018 with experience providing grants to farmers to pilot electric technology that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions on their farms. This work has been conducted with support of philanthropic foundations, electric cooperative utilities, non-profits, and the private sector. Our sponsors and stakeholder network (grantees, board members, and partners) have extensive experience with public-private partnerships across Federal, State and local governments, including USDA programs, and we believe that BEL could be key stakeholders in implementing the Climate-Smart Agriculture Initiative.