AFBF resolution opposes cap and trade
SEATTLE -- Delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation convention Jan. 12 in Seattle unanimously passed a resolution in opposition to cap-and-trade legislation and in support of legislation to suspend the Environmental Protection Agency's au...
SEATTLE -- Delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation convention Jan. 12 in Seattle unanimously passed a resolution in opposition to cap-and-trade legislation and in support of legislation to suspend the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
The resolution said the potential benefits of agricultural offsets for carbon sequestration are outweighted by the costs, result in the planting of trees that would reduce food production and reduce jobs. The resolution also said EPA's proposal to use the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases "would significantly burden all sectors of the economy, especially agriculture."
Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman said the resoluton "firmly reaffirmed" the group's position onclimate change.
The resolution came only four days after Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., announced plans to introduce a bill to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from moving forward with a proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. Pomeroy acknowledged that the Supreme Court had ruled EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, but said such action would raise electricity rates and at risk 28,000 coal-related jobs in North Dakota.
In other action, the Farm Bureau, the nation's largest farm organization, also passed key resolutions on dairy policy and disaster aid, but only after regional battles over those issues. Reacting to the troubles in the dairy sector in 2009, the delegates passed a dairy policy that calls for modifications in the federal milk marketing order structure formulas and price classes to reflect market conditions and "take into account regional differences in the cost of milk production." Farm Bureau delegates from the western states, which have the biggest dairies, opposed taking regional differences into account, but an attempt to take out the regional provision failed.
A proposal to end Farm Bureau's opposition to a supply management program for dairy failed on a vote of 277 to 83 votes. Southern delegates in particular objected to a provision that would have called for the dairy industry to establish a program "to better manage milk supplies nationwide."
The delegates also included a provision to support use Cooperatives Working Together, a project of the National Milk Producers Federation to cull herds, and a phrase to "urge participation by all dairy producers."
Southern delegates also promoted and saw passed a resolution calling on Congress to pass an ad hoc disaster program. An Arkansas delegate said Southern farmers have been subject to a series of weather-related disasters and that the 2008 farm bill disaster program
known as SURE will not be implemented quickly enough to help them, nor will it provide enough money. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., has introduced a disaster aid bill, and the resolution may help her win support for it in Congress. Lincoln is in a tough re-election race.
Stallman said the resolution favoring the disaster aid would not change the group's views on those points, but Farm
Bureau lobbyists said they think Lincoln has been working on addressing those objections. They also said the bill is likely to be expanded to cover the weather-related agricultural disaster in Florida in recent weeks.
The Indiana Farm Bureau tried to oppose the call for ad hoc disaster aid, but a majority of delegates rejected those concerns. The delegates took out a provision calling for "reducing expenditures on subsidy payments" to establish better options for crop insurance and weather-related hazards. The North Dakota Farm Bureau proposed reinstating the language calling for subsidy reductions, but the Texas Farm Bureau noted that Farm Bureau has taken the position that agriculture already has absorbed federal budget cuts and that the language would encourage Congress to cut farm programs.