While it has serious concerns about the potential impact on dairy producers of proposed climate change legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said today it supports three points that rural lawmakers helped negotiate into the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act.
The agreement, brokered yesterday by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Energy and Commerce Committee leaders, includes three critical points that NMPF had pushed for in the legislation:
- It allows the USDA to be the regulatory body responsible for establishing the terms governing how farming operations could create offsets under a cap and trade scenario;
- It allows those operations that already have manure digesters to participate in the offset program, regardless of when they installed their digester, or how it was funded. Any reductions in greenhouse gases from digesters would be considered additional reductions under the legislation;
- Beyond digesters, the legislation would allow for a wide variety of practices to be considered offsets, such as reduced tillage practices, nitrogen efficiencies, and changes in livestock diets that reduce methane.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote tomorrow on the proposed clean energy legislation, named after co-authors Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).
"Until now, it wasn't clear that dairy farms would even be able to produce greenhouse gas offsets from which they could profit under a cap and trade system of carbon regulation,” said NMPF President and CEO Jerry Kozak.
"What's clear now is that congressional leaders realize that agriculture has a great deal riding on the outcome of this historic legislation,” Kozak said. "What's not clear is the final form of the legislation, particularly since the Senate must also create a similar bill. We're a long way from knowing how this will play out, but we will continue to be sure that the concerns of dairy farmers are recognized in the legislative process.”
Read more about the bill at: http://energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1560.
NMPF's 31 dairy cooperative members produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply and represented more than 40,000 producers.
Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at email@example.com.