Posted by: Matt Dempsey

Note: Listen to Inhofe interview with Agri-Pulse as part of their “Open Mic” series. From the Agri-Pulse newsletter: “Our guest on Open Mic is Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (E&PW) and a global warming skeptic, who reacts to E&PW Chairman Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) decision to delay markup of climate change legislation until after the August recess. Inhofe cautions farm and commodity groups not to fall for the strategy of advocates of a cap and trade system, which he claims is to convince each group it will come out a winner, and explains why the 5-year deferral of international land use change requirements contained in the House-passed version will not survive a House-Senate conference committee.”

With the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee convening a hearing tomorrow on the role of agriculture under a cap-and-trade system, EPW Policy Beat decided to highlight the significant, broad-based opposition to cap-and-trade and Waxman-Markey in the agricultural sector. 

Four themes ring loudly and clearly in the comments below: cap-and-trade is simply bad for business; cap-and-trade won’t have any effect on climate without meaningful participation from China and India; cap-and-trade could undermine agriculture’s competitiveness in the global marketplace; and any provisions allowing for offsets won’t defray the devastating price increases of farm inputs, such as gasoline, diesel, electricity, and natural gas. 


The following Top Ten is abstracted from comments written by 120 agriculture groups opposed to cap-and-trade and Waxman-Markey:

10. ““The last thing we need is a cap-and-trade program that will sharply increase already high production costs, while offering little, if any, economic upside from participation in a carbon offset program.”  -Letter signed by the New Mexico Peanut Growers Association, North Carolina Peanut Growers Association, Oklahoma Peanut Commission, Panhandle Peanut Growers Association, Peanut Growers Cooperative Marketing Association, South Carolina Peanut Growers Association, Texas Peanut Producers Board, Virginia Peanut Growers Association, and the Western Peanut Growers Association.

9. “As the bill is written, it does not address the complex needs of agriculture and will result in increased energy prices.  These new expenses cannot be passed on to consumers due to the nature of commodity markets and the global competitiveness of the food sector.  While already in a period of unprecedented volatility and with razor-thin margins, any new input costs the producer is asked to absorb will simply put them at a disadvantage in the world market..In total, H.R. 2454 will not benefit Indiana agriculture and will create substantial obstacles for our nation and international competitiveness.”-Letter signed by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Kip Tom, CEO – Tom Farms, Indiana Beef Cattle Association, Indiana Office of Energy Development, Indiana Professional Dairy Producers, Indiana Plant Food and Agriculture Chemicals Association, Indiana Pork Producers Association, Beck’s Superior Hybrids, Indiana Grain and Feed Association, Indiana Farm Bureau.

8. “‘Skeptical and ‘apprehensive’ may understate our members’ feelings toward proposed legislation and regulations to reduce man’s supposed impact on the Earth’s climate.  Whether it is called global warming or global climate change, we have serious reservations about lawmakers and regulatory officials imposing sweeping new regulatory requirements and costs on the U.S. economy while it is business as usual in China, India, and other countries emitting large quantities of greenhouse gases (GHGs).” -Missouri Farm Bureau

7. “North Dakota ranchers and farmers are very concerned about the environment; it is the environment that allows us to make a living.  With that said, placing an undue regulatory and cost burden on the state’s agriculture industry in a time of recession makes no economic sense.” -Letter signed by the North Dakota Grain Growers Association, North Dakota Farm Bureau, Northern Canola Growers Association, AmeriFlax, North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, North Dakota Grain Dealers Association, North Dakota Soybean Growers Association, North Dakota Corn Growers Association, Northern Pulse Growers Association, North Dakota Wheat Commission, and the North Dakota Barley Council

6. “In fact, due to the broad nature of H.R. 2454 it is impossible to measure and evaluate the bill’s full impact on Ohio farms.  That said, the bill will clearly increase farm operating costs, including fertilizer prices, and reduce our competitiveness abroad by effectively locking the United States into these changes regardless of what is done by other major agricultural competitors, such as China and India.  The bill does not meet the needs and concerns of Ohio agriculture, and we urge all members of Congress to reject this approach and oppose H.R. 2454.” -Ohio Farm Bureau

5. “Many pork producers now are at risk of being put out of business, and passage of this climate change bill would only make that risk greater and put more producers in jeopardy…the organization doesn’t believe that revenues from the sale of offset credits for the majority of pork producers would counterbalance the energy and input costs increases associated with the bill.” -National Pork Producers Council

4. “Specifically, the bill’s provisions related to carbon emissions could significantly increase energy, production and transportation costs for the meat and poultry industry.  One need look no further than to last year to see the impact that high input and energy costs had on the price and competitiveness of meat and poultry products in the market place and for consumers.”-American Meat Institute

3. “Our industry cannot support legislation that would have the sole effect of driving up our production and processing costs resulting in a competitive disadvantage while providing little, if any, opportunity to make up for the added costs by participating in an agriculture offset program. Therefore, on behalf of the U.S. rice industry, we ask that you oppose H.R. 2454 when it comes before the House for a vote.”
–USA Rice Federation

 2.  “Our members remain very concerned, however, about the effects the overall climate bill could have on their costs of fuel, electricity, feed, fertilizer, equipment and other inputs necessary to maintain a cattle operation, as well as the costs of potential future regulation.” -National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

1. “The American Farm Bureau strongly opposes this bill and urges all members to vote ‘No’ on final passage. Congress is on the threshold of debating a program that will unquestionably impose enormous costs on the American economy, including agriculture.” -American Farm Bureau Federation