The National Farmers Union is behind both the Peterson amendment and the resultant package and hope to see the 218 votes needed for the climate change bill's passage. NFU President Roger Johnson said a strong offset program and the recognition of early actors will ensure America's farmers and ranchers can be a part of the climate change solution. But the American Farm Bureau Federation sent a letter to each member of the House Thursday stating the bill would unquestionably impose enormous costs on the American economy including agriculture. As a result, while encouraging members to vote yes on the amendment authored by House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., Farm Bureau is asking them to vote no on the legislation.
AFBF President Bob Stallman says the Peterson amendment incorporates provisions critical to agriculture - establishing an agricultural offset program within USDA; providing for a list of eligible offsets; correcting the misuse of indirect land use calculations in evaluating the use of biofuels and altering the definition of biomass. But according to a Farm Bureau economic analysis if H.R. 2454 is passed net farm income will decline by $5 billion a year by the year 2020 at a minimum. Stallman said those estimates don't begin to tell the story of what will happen when the program mandated by this legislation fully takes hold.
Farm Bureau is concerned because they believe the bill would result in a net economic cost to farmers with little or no environmental benefit. In addition the group says it creates an energy deficit for the United States by curtailing the use of fossil fuels without supplying any realistic alternative to make up the lost energy.
While praising the efforts of Peterson, the National Corn Growers Association is remaining neutral on H.R. 2454 and the National Pork Producers Council and National Sorghum Producers say they can not support the legislation. NPPC and NSP cite increased production costs in their reasons for opposing the bill. NCGA says recent negotiations have produced tremendous progress from the original version; the trouble is the complexity of the bill and the short period of time to analyze the measure.