Roger Bernard, Farm Journal Policy & Washington Editor
While some groups continue to push for climate-change legislation, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) put their name on the list of farm and commodity groups that oppose the climate-change package approved by the U.S. House in 2009 (HR 2454).
NCGA President Darrin Ihnen said the group "has no choice" but to oppose the package as it stands after it received an economic analysis of the package conducted by Informa Economics.
Here's the text of the statement by Ihnen:
"Since the passage of this bill by the U.S. House of Representatives in June 2009, the National Corn Growers Association has maintained a neutral position on the legislation pending further review. Although our neutrality has often put us at odds with the majority of other mainstream agricultural groups, we believe it was critical to remain engaged with lawmakers while the economic impacts were analyzed, and last year NCGA retained Informa Economics of Memphis, Tenn., to study the potential impacts on agriculture.
"Now, based on the recently completed economic analysis, NCGA has no choice but to oppose HR 2454. The results of the Informa study indicates that every corn grower in the country will experience increased costs of production resulting from HR 2454. In the early years of this legislation, these higher production costs will be relatively minor. However, over time these prices will significantly increase, placing an unnecessary burden on growers.
"Second, while this legislation offers opportunities to produce carbon offsets, this study demonstrates that not all growers will be able to participate. The single greatest offset opportunity is using continuous no-till. However, not every corn grower is able to adopt no-till practices. The ability to adopt continuous no-till production is driven by both economic and agronomic factors. Those growers unable to adopt no-till production will experience serious economic hardship resulting from HR 2454. This burden will fall disproportionally on growers in the northern Corn Belt.
"Finally, this analysis indicates HR 2454 will result in diverting productive farmland into afforestation (newly planted forests) or perennial grasses solely to gain offset credits. Although our analysis shows dramatically less acreage diversion than noted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it still diverts land needed to feed and fuel a hungry world and therefore affects both food security and energy security.
"While NCGA opposes HR 2454, we are very appreciative to the leadership provided by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson and the work of other allies in the House for their efforts to make this legislation as friendly to farmers as possible. NCGA still remains neutral on cap and trade as a policy issue, and will continue to work with U.S. Senate staff to craft legislation that benefits agriculture."