Sioux Center, Iowa [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns released an analysis prepared by USDA economists of the department’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. Fourth in a series of subject areas that warranted a comprehensive examination based on comments from the Farm Bill Forum, the paper looks at all potential sources of energy under agriculture’s umbrella, from farm fields to pasture and forest lands.“During the Farm Bill Forums, we heard real enthusiasm from producers about the potential for agriculture to unleash new sources of energy and income,” said Johanns. “We have seen ethanol production more than double in four years. USDA is committed to encouraging the entrepreneurial innovation of America’s farmers and ranchers to help build a new energy economy.” The paper also tracks the results of USDA’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs and contemplates enhancements and alternatives to those programs, which are intended to spur further public discussion. In March 2006 Johanns announced the release of 41 papers summarizing 4,000 comments received during 52 Farm Bill Forums, as well as those sent via mail and the Internet. Within those 41 papers emerged key themes USDA economists are studying in depth in preparation for 2007 farm bill discussions. Transcripts of the Farm Bill Forums and the 41 Farm Bill comment summary papers are posted at the following link.