The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Monday sent a letter to Henry Waxman, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce regarding landmark climate change legislation, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454).

NCGA expressed its concern with the current version of the legislation, outlining the potential for negative economic impacts to the agriculture sector if a cap-and-trade system is not structured properly.

“After reviewing the legislation, we can see the bill does not clearly provide for a mechanism by which corn growers can sell carbon credits on the market,” NCGA president Bob Dickey says. “We strongly believe the bill will increase input costs without specific opportunities to offset those additions. We cannot support the American Clean Energy and Security Act in absence of the provisions that we have explained in some length to the Committee.”

NCGA and a broad range of other agriculture organizations compiled a list of nine key principles that highlight the potential opportunities for production agriculture in a market based cap-and-trade system.

One of the most important principles suggests that any cap-and-trade legislation should fully recognize the wide range of carbon mitigation or sequestration benefits that agriculture can provide. Recognizing this should allow farmers to earn the potential revenue from carbon sequestration trading to offset increased input costs of such items as diesel, fertilizer and steel. As it currently stands, the legislation does not mention agriculture offsets.

“In recent years, our grower members have seen increasingly higher input costs," Dickey explains. “Each year, growers must commit even more funds to put a crop in the ground and it would be beneficial to have the opportunity to generate revenue from greenhouse gas reduction practices.

“NCGA has been engaged in discussions surrounding this legislation for a long time," Dickey says. “Our organization has met with several Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee and we fully appreciate their willingness to sit down and work with us on important issue. However, we cannot support this legislation in its current form.”

Source: National Corn Growers Association