Government officials are now realizing it might not be a good idea to encourage farmers to plant trees rather than produce food.
According to The Washington Times, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has asked that an economic model — relied upon by the USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency in assessing the impact of cap-and-trade legislation — be updated.
The forecasting model showed that the climate legislation supported by President Obama would make planting trees more lucrative than producing food, The Washington Times said.
According to the computer model, up to 59 million acres of farmland could be converted to woodland by 2050.
Those forecasts have sent mixed signals to farmers and ranchers.
In its October issue, Dairy Herd Management reported that cap-and-trade legislation would not be beneficial to most dairy farmers. The article referenced a study by the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University.
“The study concluded that the only farms that would likely benefit under cap-and-trade are feedgrain/oilseed farms located in or near the Corn Belt and wheat farms located in the Great Plains,” the Dairy Herd Management article said. “These farms could potentially shift some of their marginal cropland to trees, which might have the benefit of raising grain prices (since there would be less cropland) and possibly providing those farms with carbon offsets.”
Source: The Washington Times and Dairy Herd Management