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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack wants to review the climate change analysis after the EPA released a model showing how food production could decrease as farmers and ranchers take advantage of emission credits according to MeatingPlace.com.
The EPA is using the FASOM model which projects an increase in crop prices as farmers convert farmland to forests over the next 40 years. The estimated land conversion could total up to 59 million acres over that time.
Vilsack wants to update the FASOM model to develop options that avoid unintended consequences for agriculture and food production stemming from climate change legislation. He says the current model raises concern within the farm community about the number of acres converted to forest which would result in lower crop production.
In addition to reviewing the model, Vilsack wants Congress to consider the needs of agriculture moving forward with climate change legislation.
"As other recent analyses have shown, there are opportunities to expand greenhouse gas offsets and biomass energy production without removing significant amounts of land from production…careful design of the offsets program will be important in order to avoid unintended consequences," Vilsack said. "In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, I strongly believe that energy and climate legislation should be structured to help farmers profit from new income opportunities and that an outcome that damages agriculture is not anyone's intent or interest."