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Energy, Farm Bill Get Big Buzz at Ohio Farm Convention

February 1, 2007

This year's Ohio Farmers Union convention isn't just about soil and crops, it's about energy and global warming, too. Larry Mitchell with the American Corn Growers Association is speaking at the event. He says growing demand for ethanol and other bio-fuels is good news for Ohio farmers.

"It is very dynamic for not just Ohio farmers, but farmers around the nation, and we're returning to our previous position of providing farm-based, locally-based renewable energy."

Mitchell believes a stronger commitment to ethanol and wind power tax credits could help guarantee long-term revenue for farmers. The convention starts on the heels of the U.S. Agriculture Secretary announcing Bush administration proposals for the 2007 farm bill. Joe Logan, head of the Ohio Farmers Union, wishes the White House proposal did more to cap subsidies for large-scale producers, and more to help smaller farms with conservation projects.

"A lot of money can be invested in a few very large projects, and we would like to see a more broad-based approach that gives more farmers opportunities to access the conservation benefits that the government has to offer."

Global warming credits are a potential revenue stream for Ohio farmers who use no-till production or maintain grass and forest lands. Dale Enerson runs the carbon credit program for the National Farmers Union; he's speaking at the convention, and says the credits are promising for Ohio.

"There's a lot of potential. We're just seeing this whole trading carbon credits in its infancy, and it will be destined to grow the coming years."

The convention kicks off today in Dublin.

Rob Ferrett/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - OH