Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., has reiterated his call for additional hearings on comprehensive global warming legislation. A study which was performed at the request of the Senator examined 98 representative farms to understand the farm gate implications of the House-passed American Clean Energy and Security Act. That study revealed that 71 of the operations would be worse off under the bill.
Nearly all of the 27 farming operations that realize benefits under the Waxman-Markey bill are located in the Midwest Corn Belt. The study indicates the benefits are predominantly the result of increased revenue from higher prices, a result of fewer acres planted to these crops, not from payments under an offset program. In other words, Chambliss says, geographic disparities would exist as a result of the Waxman-Markey bill.
Virtually all cotton and dairy operations would be worse off and no rice farms or cattle ranches would experience any benefit under the bill. Chambliss charges that this is in direct contrast to what Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said while testifying before the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing in July, at which he stated that all agriculture would benefit from this plan.
The study was conducted by The Agriculture & Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University. According to Chambliss the data outlined in the study is troubling. Particularly the cap and trade program, which will undoubtedly raise production costs for farmers and ranchers. Perhaps most troubling to Chambliss is that the Waxman-Markey bill will result in more than 7 million acres shifting out of production in the first 5 years, with nearly 50 million acres by 2050.