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AFBF: Market-oriented focus needed in climate change bill

The American Farm Bureau Federation supports a market-based incentive program rather than a government-mandated program to address the issue of climate change.

AFBF outlined its goals for climate change legislation in a 29-question survey recently sent to the House Agriculture Committee. The committee had asked AFBF and other farm groups to complete the questionnaire before hearings are held on climate change legislation.

In the questionnaire, AFBF President Bob Stallman emphasized that Congress should not enact legislation mandating carbon emission reductions to levels not justified by sound, peer-reviewed science and that any legislation designed to reduce carbon emissions must make sure the costs don't outweigh the benefits.

"Congress should not enact a carbon tax, and a cap-and-trade program should be voluntary," Stallman said, emphasizing that agriculture and forestry should not be regulated or capped under a carbon-reduction program.

"Capping or taxing agriculture or forestry will only limit the potential sequestration benefits those sectors can provide," Stallman said. "(Benefits) should be achieved through a robust agricultural and forestry voluntary offset program. The relatively small amount of agricultural and forestry emissions come from thousands of producers, making any cap or tax difficult to administer and enforce."

Stallman said an offset program would allow producers to voluntarily reduce emissions and allow producers to recoup a portion of their increased input costs.

"Over the past decade, improved agricultural practices such as no-till cropping, targeted chemical applications through global positioning satellite technology and methane digesters have reduced emissions from the agricultural sector," Stallman said. "This demonstrates that if the agriculture and forestry sector are provided proper incentives, they will reduce their emissions even further."

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