The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives brought together representatives from a broad range of agricultural and farm organizations to discuss the real world costs that climate legislation will impose on farms, cooperatives and rural households across America. NCFC President Chuck Conner says that agriculture needs to become a much more active participant in the process as climate change legislation begins to move through Congress.
Last week's discussion focused on the fact that climate change legislation could cost the average American family more than $2,400 a year in increased utility costs; EPA predicts the cost of natural gas, a key component nitrogen fertilizers, will increase by 25% almost immediately under the plan; and the plan would jeopardize the existence of small, rural petroleum refiners who produce nearly two-thirds of the fuel used in rural America thereby resulting in increased gasoline and diesel costs for farmers and others across a broad swath of middle America.
The meeting was the first in a series that NCFC plans to hold; future sessions will look at commodity impacts, opportunities provided in a cap-and-trade system, and how legislation might affect the transportation infrastructure and agricultural trade. The next session is scheduled for Friday, May 1, and will focus on how specific commodities will be affected.