Farm Bill Main Topic of Ag Commissioners Meeting

Mid-year meeting of NASDA will cover several issues, but Farm Bill will dominate discussion.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture is meeting in Washington D.C. Thursday, Feb. 7 through Tuesday, Feb. 12. North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson, who is this year's association president, says the Farm Bill will be the top issue during the five-day meeting of state agricultural officials.

"We will certainly discuss and recommend policy on other issues, notably foreign trade, animal welfare, farm chemicals and food safety," Johnson says. "The Farm Bill, however, is our foremost concern and will take up most of our time."

The meeting kicks off Thursday with a panel discussion on the Farm Bill with ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn. The panel will be moderated by former House Ag Committee ranking member, Charlie Stenholm.

Johnson and Montana Agriculture Director Ron de Yong will present an amendment to the membership that would have NASDA support a national mandatory carbon emission cap as well as a trade system that would provide credits for greenhouse gas reductions to the agriculture sector.

"This system would include provisions for standardized, cost-effective protocols for estimating greenhouse gas emission reductions from agriculture," Johnson says. "It would also mandate the continuation and expansion of the Chicago Climate Exchange to provide financial compensation to farmers and ranchers for environmentally sound practices."

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