Washington, DC–“The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives commends House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson on his efforts to secure an amendment to the Waxman-Markey climate change bill that begins to address the concerns that NCFC, along with many in agriculture, have with this legislation,” said NCFC President Charles F. Conner today. “The Chairman’s work represents a solid first step towards achieving legislation that recognizes the importance and unique nature of agriculture, from farm to fork.
“Mr. Peterson’s proposals will help to ensure that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has a real, meaningful role in administering any carbon offset program involving agricultural producers. In addition, his proposal also helps to ensure that farmers who have been progressive in adopting practices that benefit the environment and that result in lower carbon emissions will not be unfairly put at a disadvantage by the legislation.
“At the same time, NCFC continues to have serious reservations about the impact that HR 2454 will have on the cost of production for farmer cooperatives and their producer members across the country. This is especially true of farmer cooperative-owned petroleum refineries, which supply nearly two-thirds of on-farm fuel, and of domestic fertilizer producers.
“Further, most economic analysis performed on this legislation up to this point has only looked at the direct cost of a cap-and-trade system to consumers. Left out of the equation are the increased costs that businesses across the country—including cooperatives and individual producers—will experience. These costs incurred at the business level will invariably lead to an increase in the indirect cost to consumers, as individuals pay more for the food that they eat, the clothes that they wear, and a range of other items.
“NCFC’s members fail to see the necessity to move this legislation forward in a compressed timeframe, thereby not giving the public the opportunity to fully gauge the total costs and benefits of the legislation.
“As such, while we strongly support Mr. Peterson’s amendment, NCFC can not endorse the overall legislation at this time.”
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.