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ND Farmer's Group: Ag Needs to Be Included in Climate Debate

October 12, 2009

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, is coming up for debate in Congress. According to Robert Carlson, president of the North Dakota Farmers Union, it won't mean much until agriculture is included, in an offset program controlled by the Department of Agriculture. Carlson says that if Congress fails to act to include farming and ranching, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will.

"That will be done without much public input, so it would be much better from a policy point of view to have Congress act, rather than have the EPA simply regulate."

Carlson says agricultural practices that capture carbon, such as no-till farming, grass planting and managed grazing, offer a quick path to the lowering of greenhouse gases.

"Agriculture has some opportunities to provide some early offsets to get some carbon out of the atmosphere fairly quickly."

He says Congress, rather than the EPA, is better equipped to come up with workable legislation that reduces emissions while minimizing the cost.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - ND