The fourth of five 2007 farm-bill discussion papers, this one on renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs, is now available at The first three, released earlier this year, covered risk management, conservation and the environment, and rural development. A fifth and final theme paper will examine opportunities to strengthen U.S. ag's foundation.

The latest paper is an analysis prepared by USDA economists of the agency's renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs, and looks at potential sources of energy under the ag umbrella. It tracks results of USDA renewable-energy and energy-efficiency programs, and contemplates enhancements and alternatives to those programs.

The five papers represent five key themes emerging from 4,000 comments received during 52 listening sessions USDA conducted across the U.S. Johanns says economists are studying the five key themes in depth in preparation for 2007 farm bill discussions.
-- Joe Roybal