The American Farm Bureau Federation has called on Congress to expedite passage of renewable energy tax incentives to benefit farmers, ranchers and all Americans. In a statement to the House Small Business Committee, AFBF also called for action on several other tax relief measures.

“The extension and expansion of credits for renewable electricity and for renewable fuels will help America transition to a nation fueled by clean renewable energy, achieve long-term economic growth, create a cleaner environment and shield our economy from unreliable foreign energy sources,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman.

In the statement, AFBF called attention to the Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit (Section 45) as a “small but important piece of a renewable energy strategy for the United States. The extension of credits that encourage the production of electricity from wind and biomass will help stabilize energy costs and reduce dependence on traditional energy resources.”

AFBF also pointed to the benefits of biodiesel, which reduces dependence on foreign oil and contributes to the nation’s energy security. “This clean-burning fuel helps clear the air while expanding the market for soybeans and other agricultural products,” Stallman said.

According to the Farm Bureau statement, extending tax incentives through 2010 will provide needed stability for the long-term growth of the biodiesel industry.

The AFBF statement also called for incentives that encourage a more diverse feedstock base for the production of cellulosic biofuels: “Such a move would not only expand the production of renewable fuels but would help reduce price competition for crops that can serve as energy sources, as food for people and feed for animals.”

The statement also focused on the need to reform the alternative minimum tax.

“Congress needs to take into account the fact that farmers pay a disproportionate amount of their income in alternative minimum tax,” Stallman said. “That’s because they lose the ability to deduct some of their state and local taxes, some farm and ranch operating losses, and because they tend to have more capital gains tax income than taxpayers in general.

“Although there are predictions that one in four households will owe AMT by 2010, the effect on farmers and ranchers will be much greater, with three or more out of 10 owing the tax due to the distribution of farm household income.”