Carbon Emissions may not be Best Option for Farmers

120 agricultural groups have written letters to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee opposing the Waxman-Markey bill that restricts carbon dioxide emissions.
Major players in the opposition include the American Farm Bureau, Pork Producers Council, USA Rice Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Chicken Council, National Association of Wheat Growers, American Meat Institute and North American Millers Association.
Although reports say that the bill will only cost households $175 per year in 2020, Tracy Taylor Grondine of the American Farm Bureau disagrees. “Most media outlets are only focused on the front-end effects of the climate bill,” Grondine explained. “In 2020, carbon reductions will only be starting and the industry will be receiving significant carbon credit giveaways. But by 2050, the 17 percent cut in agriculture emissions from 2005 levels is estimated to rise to 82 percent, and there will be no more credit giveaways. So, by 2050 that 5 percent hit will grow to something more like a 15 percent reduction in farm income.”
According to Adam Basford of the Florida Farm Bureaus, costs down the road will be much higher down the road. “According to the EPA, the legislation would cost farmers $5 billion [initially] and by 2050 the cost would rise to $13 billion,” he said.
Although these are concerns, the biggest point is that the bill raises prices for consumers who will ultimately take it out on the agricultural industry.
“The very essence of cap-and-trade is to increase prices so much that consumption, and therefore emissions, are reduced,” Basford explained. “Farm Bureau has continually said that any cap-and-trade legislation must make economic sense for agriculture. It must be structured in a way that the costs do not outweigh the benefits for family farms, rural communities, and the overall economy. The Florida Farm Bureau opposes this bill because it forces Florida’s farmers, consumers, and families to lose.”
The bill is still up for discussion in the House.
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