House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas, R-Okla., sent a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack this week asking for specifics on how production agriculture can benefit from cap and trade. Lucas notes that the climate change and energy legislation passed by the House Energy Committee is more than 1100 pages long but only mentions agriculture seven times. He questions how the Secretary can call the legislation a net winner for farmers when a detailed plan for how producers can realize the benefits hasn't been provided.
The letter also points out that 34 ag groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Corn Growers Association, have sent letters to members of Congress encouraging them to oppose the bill. He tells Vilsack there's too much at risk for just generalities and that the agriculture community is waiting for the Secretary to provide a real plan for how he intends to protect rural America.
Lucas says time is of the essence as the bill, which he calls one of the most significant pieces of legislation this Congress will consider, is expected to go to the House floor before July 4.