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18 October 2009 - Vote "NO" on Climate Change Bill

I wish I was wrong but I am sensing a growing negative attitude toward America's farmers and ranchers emanating from our nation's capitol; from members of Congress as well as the Obama White House. I think a prime example is the Climate Change Bill now being debated in Congress that could come to a vote before this session ends.

A recent column by the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Bob Stallman, summed it up very well in the title, " A Climate Bill that Won't Change the Climate". I certainly agree with Bob and many other critics of the Climate Change Bill who are concerned about America's farmers and ranchers being placed at a competitive disadvantage by the legislation. One of the main concerns is the increased cost of energy that not only powers the machines and irrigation systems to produce food, but also is a prime ingredient in fertilizer and crop protection products.

Under the terms of this bill being debated, those costs would increase sharply, so where is this great benefit for our nation's food producers? Ultimately, consumers would be affected by higher food prices.

Then there is Cap and Trade; here too, backers of the bill are trying to sell farmers and ranchers on the idea that carbon sequestration would provide a great deal of additional income for America's farmers. Once again, critics of the bill are saying "show me the money".

If it did prove to be profitable, however, Rick Krause, regulatory specialist at the American Farm Bureau Federation says it could lead to an interesting situation. If, in the future, carbon sequestration produces more income than corn, wheat or soybeans, we might lose crop land to trees and other crops that are suitable for carbon sequestration. The bottom line then would be to cut livestock and cereal grain production in this country, sending it to other countries of the world. Don't be surprised if animal rights groups become big supporters of carbon sequestration because it would help then in their campaign to eliminate livestock production in this country.

There's one more reason to oppose this bill; China and India, two of the world's biggest polluting countries would be exempt from most of the regulations because they are "developing" countries. As far as I'm concerned, this entire bill puts American agriculture really behind the eight ball, so let's work very hard to get a NO vote on, as Bob Stallman calls it "a climate change bill that won't change the climate".

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.