USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber has released the results of his full economic analysis showing that agriculture will benefit from energy and climate legislation if it includes a robust carbon offsets program and other helpful provisions. According to Glauber's report, the costs of such legislation will be modest while returns from offsets will increase over-time and result in positive net income for agriculture.
In addition to analyzing the impacts using its own model, USDA has also reported on the output of the FASOM model. a model developed by researchers at Texas A & M University that the Environmental Protection Agency has used as part of its efforts to study the impacts of climate legislation. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says if landowners plant trees to the extent the model suggests, this would be disruptive to agriculture in some regions of the country.
"I don't believe the results related to afforestation forecast by the FASOM model are necessarily an accurate depiction of the impacts of climate legislation," Vilsack said. "The FASOM model makes assumptions that reduce farmer income from offsets generated by conservation tillage, methane reductions and other offset activities. The model also makes other assumptions that could lead to an overestimate of afforestation. USDA and EPA are continually assessing and updating the assumptions that go into their models."