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US farmer groups not happy with Boxer-Kerry Bill

- Sunday, October 04, 2009

The general commentary from most USA farm groups in response to the release of the Boxer-Kerry Senate bill to implement a national emissions trading scheme in the USA indicate that the Senate bill is less favourable to farmers than the Waxman-Markey Bill passed by the US House of Representatives.

The National Corngrowers Association has not yet adopted an official position, although a spokesman commented that the protections for agriculture in the Waxman-Markey Bill - such as having the USDA administer farm offsets - wer not in the Boxer-Kerry Bill, and the higher emission reduction target makes the size of input costs likely to be greater under the Senate legislation.

The National Farmers Union (which generally represents smaller-scale farmers and dairy producers) has stated that it prefers the Waxman-Markey bill. A release from the NFU states "Since this debate began nearly two years ago, NFU has been clear in expressing our support for a national, mandatory carbon emission cap and trade system if a number of core principles are met: the U.S. Department of Agriculture is granted control and administration of the agriculture offset program; early actors are recognized; no artificial cap is placed on domestic offsets; carbon sequestration rates are based upon science; and producers are permitted to stack environmental benefit credits. The draft Boxer-Kerry language fails to address these provisions."


The American Farm Bureau provided a similar assessment. Federation President Bob Stallman stated “America’s farmers and ranchers did not fare that well in the House-passed climate change bill and they fare even worse in the Senate bill, There are few benefits and even greater costs to agriculture and the American public.”

Some commentators have suggested the Boxer-Kerry Bill will probably be modified as Senate committees consider it and produce their reports, and the horse-trading begins in earnest to get the legislation passed by the Senate. 

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