American Farm Bureau Opposes Climate Change Legislation
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) approved a special resolution to strongly opposed cap and trade during the kick-off to its four-day convention on Sunday. The resolution also called for “any legislative action that would suspend the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.” With six million members, the AFBF is the largest American farm group.
The resolution stated:
“The administration’s economic projections show that the proposed cap and trade legislation would result in planting trees on 59 million acres of crop and pasture land thereby damaging the capability of U.S. agricultural producers to feed a growing world population and create the conditions for (hiking) consumer food prices. Cap and trade legislation would eliminate jobs, and could result in the loss of 2.3 million jobs in the U.S. over the next 20 years.”
AFBF president Bob Stallman said during a speech to the 369 delegates attending the convention that American farmers and ranchers “must aggressively respond to extremists” and “misguided, activist-driven regulation…The days of their elitist power grabs are over.”
Stallman claimed that cap and trade would eliminate “about 130,000 farms and ranches” because they would become carbon-capture woodlands. A federal analysis said only eight percent of crop and pasture land could become woodlands by 2050. According to a study by the University of Tennessee’s Bio-based Energy Analysis Group for 25x’25 Alliance, “At projected carbon prices of up to $27 per MtCO2e, afforestation of cropland will not occur.”
Farmers and ranchers would see a small loss income from cap and trade, according to a Kansas State University study, but the loss would be offset by economic benefits. The per-acre profitability, according to research conducted by KSU, would decrease from 0.3 percent to 6.4 percent by 2025. However, the House legislation creates a renewable energy standard (RES) that mandates part of U.S. electricity comes from renewable energy sources. The study says, “As the market expands, financial benefits will accrue to the agricultural sector”
“Overall, the research suggests U.S. agriculture has more to gain than lose with the passage of HR 2454,” said Bill Golden of the Department of Agricultural Economics at KSU, the team’s leader. “The bill specifically exempts production agriculture from emissions caps, provides provisions to ease the transition to higher fertilizer prices, and fosters the development of carbon offset markets, which will likely enhance agricultural revenues.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told a Senate agriculture panel last summer that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) analysis “demonstrates that the economic opportunities for farmers and ranchers can outpace, and perhaps significantly outpace, the costs from climate legislation.”
“In the short term, the economic benefits to agriculture from cap and trade legislation will likely outweigh the costs,” Vilsack also said.
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