Washington, DC—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) expressed its strong concerns today over climate change legislation that, according to an assessment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) of research by EPA and others, could lead to substantial shifts in agricultural land use, higher food and feed prices, and moving food production, and the jobs dependent on it, from the U.S. to other countries..
“This analysis reaffirms NCFC’s opposition to cap and trade legislation as currently drafted. We believe that Congress should pause and rethink their current approach to address the issue of carbon emissions,” said NCFC President & CEO Chuck Conner. “As written, the cap-and-trade bills would severely distort American agriculture, would have potentially devastating consequences for the dairy and livestock sectors, would destroy American jobs, and would increase the prices that consumers pay at the supermarket cash register. In short, Congress needs to hit the reset button.”
The reaction came after testimony by USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy & Research last week. In his remarks, Glauber aid that some 85% of revenue generated by the carbon offsets under the House-passed climate change bill would come from planting trees on crop and pastureland. By 2030, Glauber said, 27 million acres would be taken out of production; by 2050, it would be nearly 60 million acres that would come out of production, with 35 million acres coming from cropland (a 14% drop relative to current baseline) and 24 million acres from pastureland (a 9% drop from baseline).
“USDA is basically saying that the cap and trade bill would fundamentally reshape American agriculture and the rural communities heavily dependent on farming and farm businesses for their livelihoods,” continued Conner. “This is why NCFC recently joined with other agricultural groups in asking that USDA specifically study the impact that cap-and-trade would have on animal agriculture; could you imagine the increased pain to dairy farmers or hog producers if cap-and-trade were in effect today?”
NCFC is a national association representing America’s farmer cooperatives. There are nearly 3,000 farmer cooperatives across the U.S. whose members include a majority of our nation’s more than 2 million farmers, ranchers and growers. These farmer cooperative businesses handle, process and market agricultural commodities and related products, furnish farm supplies, and provide credit and related financial services. Earnings from these activities are returned to their members on a patronage basis. Farmer cooperatives also provide jobs for nearly 300,000 Americans, many in rural areas, with a combined payroll of over $8 billion.
Additional information about NCFC can be found at www.ncfc.org.