Climate Legislation

Currently, there is climate legislation being drafted in Congress that would have far reaching effects on American agriculture as well as the world food supply. Joe Brown has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.

"That's a very complex piece of legislation, about fourteen hundred pages, but the bottom line for agriculture is if things play out like we believe they will, we will produce 40 million acres less food than what we currently do, a downsizing of American agriculture by about 20%."

Bob Stallman is a rice and cattle producer from Columbus, Texas and president of the American Farm Bureau.

"And that's because tress will be planted to capture carbon under the bill. Now that is very difficult for us to accept as agricultural producers that we would want to down size American agriculture, just at a time when the world will be able to feed 9 billion people by 2050, produce seventy per cent more food, and so it makes no sense to try and down size American agriculture, but that would be the ultimate impact in addition to higher energy costs for consumers."

The current legislation would encourage trees to be planted.

"Landowners will be paid to sequester carbon by planting trees, and that payment rate will be high enough, we believe, to cause landowners to make the economic decision to plant trees, to move land from crop land into forestry."

We asked how something this massive could stay under most consumers’ radars.

"Unfortunately all of the spin and all of the complexities around the legislation make it difficult for someone who's not involved in the policy on a day to day basis to understand it, but the analysis by the Treasury Department for consumers indicates that this is the equivalent, because of higher energy costs, of putting a 200 billion dollar a year tax, equivalent to a 15% increase in income tax rates."

And that doesn’t take into account the increasing demand for food from a growing world population. I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.

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