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Energy bill a good move

CHICAGO -- We at the Environmental Law and Policy Center agree with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recent study showing that actions to reduce greenhouse gas pollution can produce long-term gains for farmers. It's time for strong energy and...

CHICAGO -- We at the Environmental Law and Policy Center agree with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recent study showing that actions to reduce greenhouse gas pollution can produce long-term gains for farmers. It's time for strong energy and climate legislation that will boost farm income and reduce the risk of global warming.

The costs of inaction are high -- farmers and agricultural industries are particularly vulnerable to changes in temperature, rainfall patterns and pests that will result from unchecked climate change. Federal climate solutions and clean energy legislation can help farmers and foresters tap into growing markets in carbon offsets, renewable energy generation, advanced biofuels and energy efficiency savings.

The USDA study, among others, shows that minimal short-term costs to farmers soon will be outpaced by significant long-term gains in income, job creation and other rural development opportunities.

With a strong climate bill, including new investments in farm-based energy and conservation, the agricultural community can help lead efforts to protect and improve our health and environment while fueling our clean energy economy.

Editor's Note: Learner is executive director of the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center.

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“In our industry there aren’t a lot of young people in it. I like the fact that there are a lot of young people in agriculture here,” he said of the Mitchell area.