When the full Agriculture Committee concluded its first public hearing focused on the Waxman-Markey climate change and energy legislation last week the committee left with a lot to think about. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack admitted there is work yet to be done on this bill and called it a work in progress.
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson pressed the House Agriculture Committee to support provisions that allow farmers and ranchers to participate in climate change legislation. He said NFU believes the flexibility of a cap and trade program holds the most potential for actual greenhouse gas emissions reductions while helping to mitigate the increased energy costs that would result from such a program.
Speaking on behalf of the National Association of Conservation Districts, Second Vice President and Legislative Committee Chair Earl Garber recommended that climate change legislation recognize the contributions of agriculture, forestry and community conservation efforts to reduce green house gas emissions via market-based payments for emissions offsets.
Also, the American Farm Bureau Federation called on the committee to make drastic changes to the climate change bill. President Bob Stallman said doing less could result in the economic equivalent of unilateral disarmament if the government's optimistic assumptions don't hold true.