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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

RENEW, Farmers Union, and partners launch Homegrown Renewable Energy Campaign


For immediate release: December 3, 2008

For More Information Contact:
Adrienne Joseph or Sue Beitlich
715-723-5561/715-379-2712 or 608-769-7625
wfuadriennej@charterinternet.com or wfusueb@charter.net

WFU and partners announce launch of Homegrown Renewable Energy Campaign

Madison, Wis. (December 3, 2008) – Wisconsin Farmers Union officials gathered at the Wisconsin State Capitol today to announce the launch of the Homegrown Renewable Energy Campaign. WFU and its campaign partners laid out four state policy initiatives that will address the challenge of global climate change.

“The Wisconsin agriculture and forestry industries are essential to expanding a renewable energy economy in our state,” said Sue Beitlich, WFU president. “Renewable energy will help us to achieve greater energy and economic security, create new jobs, strengthen agricultural markets and reduce carbon emissions.”

Building on Gov. Jim Doyle’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand renewable energy, and the recommendations of his Global Warming Task Force, WFU along with Clean Wisconsin, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and RENEW Wisconsin, have developed a campaign to support the following initiatives to expand energy and heat production from biomass:

• Create the Biomass Energy Crop Reserve Program, establishing 10-year contracts to pay landowners in exchange for planting bioenergy crops that are energy efficient and preserve natural resources.
• Expand Renewable Fuels for Schools and Communities by setting up funding sources for those who would like to purchase equipment for biomass systems that replace fossil fuel and save tens of thousands of dollars in fuel savings.
• Launch a Renewable Energy Buyback Program that will fairly compensate small-scale renewable energy producers who generate renewable electricity (biomass, solar, wind and hydro).
• Encourage the establishment of a Low-Carbon Fuel Standard to reduce carbon intensity of transportation fuels.

“These policies taken together not only create more jobs on Wisconsin’s farms and their rural communities but could also reduce global warming emissions by 6 to 7 million tons per year, equivalent to taking 600,000 cars off of Wisconsin’s roads,” said Keith Reopelle, Senior Policy Director for Clean Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin's natural resources, employment opportunities and energy security can greatly benefit from a renewable, bio-based economy,” said Margaret Krome, Policy Director for Michael Fields Agricultural Institute. “However, we need strong policies to jump start this new economy and ensure that it will be accessible by all and sustainable.”

The four partners along with endorsing organizations, Organic Valley, Agrecol Corp., the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, Marth Wood Products, the Wisconsin Biodiesel Association, Green Diesel Wisconsin Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education, Midwest Renewable Energy Association and the Partners in Forestry Landowners Cooperative, are continuing to ask organizations and individuals for their support of the campaign. For more information, the public can visit www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com.
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Wisconsin Farmers Union, a member-driven organization, is committed to enhancing the quality of life for family farmers, rural communities and all citizens through educational opportunities, cooperative endeavors and civic engagement.

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