Currently, there are 101 ethanol facilities in production with the capacity to produce 4.8 billion gallons per year. If the planned construction on 42 new plants, as well as expansion of 7 more is completed, the total output could reach 7.7 billion gallons by next year.
Bio-fuels are expected to be included the debate on the upcoming Farm Bill, but that isn't the issue at center stage. The persistent question continues to be whether or not the 2002 Farm Bill should be extended now that WTO talks have collapsed.
This week the American Farm Bureau reiterated its position by calling for a one year extension to the current law.
Dana Brooks, AFBF Farm Policy Specialist: "It's very important that we have WTO negotiations completed when we write a farm bill, we don't want to be out of compliance. It is also important that we have the leverage there, we don't want to have, we don't want to give away the farm."
The framers of the next farm bill continue to say they will write new legislation. With subsidies remaining near the top of the list of concerns, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss has stated that carrying certain programs over into the next law isn't out of the question.
Chairman Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia: "I have said consistently that when I say we're going to write the farm bill next year that does not mean that we can't look at some kind of extension of all or part of the current farm bill as a part of writing that farm bill. I don't think it makes good business sense to extend this farm bill per say for one year or two years because farmers need to make plans."