The American Farm Bureau Federation has sent a letter to all members of Congress urging them to work constructively to craft a comprehensive energy plan that embraces all aspects of the nation’s energy needs. AFBF said the national energy strategy must include provisions to access the nation’s untapped oil and natural gas reserves, and include a continued emphasis on renewable energy.

“Farmers and ranchers, like all consumers across America, are feeling the tremendous financial impact of historically high energy costs,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman.

“In addition to gasoline costs, diesel prices have risen drastically for agricultural producers, while fertilizer costs — which are closely tied to natural gas prices — have doubled in the last two years. Now more than ever, the agricultural sector is looking to Congress for leadership to help alleviate these costs on consumers.”

Stallman said AFBF policy calls for a national energy policy that “should be focused on energy independence” while expediting “the development of energy resources anywhere in the United States.”

“Clearly, legitimate policy issues need to be addressed in crafting an energy plan that encompasses such an approach, and it will need the cooperative, constructive efforts of members from both political parties,” Stallman said. “We urge the leadership of both parties, in both houses of Congress, to put aside short-term political considerations and work together to craft a long-range, bipartisan, effective energy plan that will finally put our nation on a path toward affordable energy independence.”

Stallman said a comprehensive strategy is needed to help the nation’s farmers and ranchers meet the world’s growing demand for food. Some experts say food production will need to double in the next 20 years to meet rising global demand.

“Today, record-high oil and natural gas prices underscore our nation’s over-reliance on foreign energy sources,” Stallman said. “These tight oil and natural gas supplies have driven U.S. farm inputs and energy prices to all-time highs, substantially increasing farm production costs. Increasing domestic energy supplies, from all sources, and enhancing our energy infrastructure are critical components of a balanced national energy strategy.”