Washington, DC—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) hosted a meeting today bringing together representatives from a broad range of agricultural and farm organizations to discuss the real world costs that climate legislation will impose on farms, cooperatives and rural households across America.
Attendees heard presentations from Bob Looney, Vice President of Government Affairs for CHS Inc., who discussed the impact the legislation will have on petroleum refiners across rural America; Kirk Johnson, the Vice President of Environmental Policy at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, who looked how the bill would likely raise consumers’ utility bill; and Bill Herz, the Vice President of Scientific Programs at The Fertilizer Institute, who gave an overview of how fertilizer prices are likely to rise under any climate change proposal. Presentations are available on NCFC’s web site at http://www.ncfc.org/ncfc-climate-change-initiative.html.
“I believe that agriculture needs to become a much more active participant in the process as climate change legislation begins to move through Congress. As we do this, I think that it is especially important that we look at the impact that this legislation will have on farm and household budgets across rural America,” said NCFC President Charles F. Conner.
“Today’s session will be the first in a series that NCFC plans to hold; future sessions will look at commodity specific impacts, opportunities provided in a cap-and-trade system, and how legislation might affect the transportation infrastructure and agricultural trade,” Conner continued.
NCFC has announced that the next session will be held on Friday, May 1, and will focus on how specific commodities will be affected; a future session will also focus on the opportunities that agricultural producers may have to participate in any market for GHG offsets.
Among the consequences of climate change legislation discussed were:
- Climate change legislation could cost the average American family more than $2400 a year in increased utility costs alone;
- The Environmental Protection Agency predicts that the cost of natural gas—a key component nitrogen fertilizers—will increase by 25% almost immediately under the plan;
- The plan would jeopardize the existence of small, rural petroleum refiners—who produce nearly two-thirds of the fuel used in rural America—thereby resulting in increased gasoline and diesel costs for farmers and others across a broad swath of middle America.
“I hope that we have begun the process of bringing agriculture together to examine both the positive and negative impacts that climate change legislation might have on farms, small businesses, and families across rural America,” concluded Conner. “In moving forward, I look forward to working with our allies in Congress—including members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.”
NCFC is a national association representing America’s farmer cooperatives. There are over 2500 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.