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Farm States Seek Cover From Climate Bill

tractor2Farm states, fearing a rise in input costs related  passage of climate legislation, are making their voices heard on Capital Hill.

Carbon caps would cause increased input costs for farmers in the form of higher fuel and fertilizer costs, the National Corn Growers Association on April 29 told the House of Representatives’ Small Business Committee.

“Our costs are going to go up even if agriculture remains an uncapped entity — we will be profoundly impacted by everyone else’s carbon,” said Fred Yoder of the corn growers association, reports the New York Times. “Really what we are looking for is an offset to bring back some of those extra costs.”

Still, farmers may gain from climate legislation if it provides for payments based on the fact their crops capture carbon emissions. Therefore, farmers seek a seat at the table when it comes to carbon offsets, Yoder said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture should have oversight of any farm offset programs, the National Farmers Union told the committee.

Already in California, where a rule to reduce the carbon footprint of fuel production has been pushed through, farmers of feedstock for biofuels claim to be getting squeezed out of market viability.

Recently, Rabobank released its sustainable agriculture survey that finds that nearly 70 percent of the U.S. farmers and ranchers have taken steps toward implementing sustainable agricultural practices. Only 2 percent of farmers, however, are purchasing carbon offsets to reduce their own carbon footprints. See a related chart here.

According to Rabobank Farm & Ranch Survey, three out of every four U.S. farmers are aware of sustainable practices, and most have used direct seeding, minimized the use of chemicals or employed crop rotation. The survey targeted farmers who own or operate a farm grossing $250,000 or more in one of three U.S. census regions: Midwest, South and West.

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