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Will US farm carbon income be used to replace existing subsidies?

- Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Will the promised new carbon offset revenue to be received by US farmers simply replace existing farm subsidies, and leave US farmers worse off because of higher input costs? This was foreshadowed in a speech US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made earlier this year, when he urged farmers to look at climate legislation as a potential opportunity, while at the same time warning them that the generous subsidies available under the US Farm Bill would come under considerable pressure.


In a somewhat ironic development, former US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns (now a Senator) wants the matter clarified. This is an interesting twist for Johanns, who adopted the same approach in his former role by reducing direct farm subsidies and converting these into payments for conservation activities!

Johanns has asked the US Department of agriculture to provide detailed costing of the US Climate legislation for US agriculture at Senate hearings this week, which are likely to be quite important in determining the fate of the legislation.

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