Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ag policy and energy policy dovetail in UK

Scotsman.com is reporting that Scotland's farmers are taking a hard look at how they might be able to profit from a global -- or even UK-wide -- shift to biofuels. In fact, according to a Deloitte & Touche study cited in the article, the future may be here already: Growing concerns about global warming and increased interest in energy-supply security are playing "into the hands of the farming lobby."

The article points out that arable farming creates natural carbon dioxide sinks, making it another weapon in the arsenal against global warming. When that same land produces feedstock for environmentally friendly biofuels, it creates a formidable benefit.

For British farmers, who face shrinking subsidies under the European Union's farm regime, the thought of a robust and dedicated market for wheat and rapeseed would be welcome news. Some observers even worry that, in a rush to jump on the biofuel bandwagon, farmers might start abandoning their food-growing operations -- a concern rejected by English National Farmers' Union president Peter Kendall, who called for a land set-aside specifically for fuel production.

Meanwhile, the Home Grown Cereals Authority and the Renewable Energy Association have announced a series of workshops around Great Britain to educate farmers on how they can capitalize on the growing interest in biofuels.

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