America’s farmers and ranchers have the opportunity to address global warming by adopting environmentally friendly practices. Enacting a robust agricultural offset program will allow producers to mitigate some of the increased energy input costs a cap and trade program will bring.

Unfortunately, the climate change bill passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee does not include provisions addressing the beneficial role agriculture can play in climate change legislation.

This is why National Farmers Union, along American Farmland Trust, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Milk Producers Federation and International Biochar Initiative, recently wrote to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer outlining the needed improvements to ensure agriculture’s participation.

The groups said the committee-passed bill is a good first step, but laid out a number of priorities for consideration:

· The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is granted control and administration of the agricultural and forestry offset program;
· Early actors are fully recognized;
· No artificial cap is placed on domestic offsets;
· Offset credits for carbon sequestration rates are based upon science;
· Producers are permitted to stack environmental benefit credits;
· Establishment of a static baseline; and
· Limiting leakage analysis to the confines of the United States.