Farm Bureau Says HR 2454 Too Costly for Agriculture

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman on July 22 asked the Senate Agriculture Committee to take an active and aggressive role in the climate change debate, but cautioned committee members that rushing to pass such sweeping legislation would be a fundamental mistake.

"On a matter that could affect our nation for literally decades to come, it would be the height of folly to rush to judgment in a matter of days or weeks," said Stallman. Testifying before the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Stallman recommended that the committee improve climate change legislation so that it is as beneficial as possible for the agriculture industry.

Currently, the Senate is examining H.R. 2454, the House-passed American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009l, which will serve as the basis for writing Senate companion legislation. The Federation opposes the bill because it

  • Would impose enormous costs on agriculture and other sectors of the economy;
  • Would make the cap-and-trade program take effect whether or not India and China adopted similar programs, meaning U.S. industries would have an incentive to locate overseas;
  • Provides no concrete alternative energy program, such as nuclear, to hold down energy costs; and,
  • Would appear to have little or no impact on the climate.
"Most recently, the administrator of EPA testified before the Senate that the H.R. 2454 would have a negligible impact on temperature by the year 2050," said Stallman. "And virtually everyone agrees that the U.S. alone can't solve the problem."

The Federation maintains that an agricultural offsets program administered by the Agriculture Department is an essential cost containment measure, but revenues from offsets will only partially defray increased costs and not all agriculture sectors will benefit from offset opportunities.

Participating in an offset program will depend to a great degree on where the producer is located, what he or she grows and if his or her business can take advantage of the program, Stallman noted. Not every dairy farmer can afford to capture methane. Not every farmer lives in a region where wind turbines are an option. Not every farmer can take advantage of no-till. And not every farmer has the land to set aside to plant trees, according to Stallman.

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