The Senate Agriculture Committee continued its discussions on climate change today with a hearing entitled “Carbon Markets and Producer Groups” and National Corn Growers Association Past President Fred Yoder testified on behalf of corn farmers. The Senate Agriculture Committee began its series of climate change hearings in July following House passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act.

Yoder testified on the importance of a properly structured agricultural offsets market under the jurisdiction of the USDA and urged the Senate to include such language in their version of the climate bill. He also stressed the significance of agriculture being exempted from a greenhouse gas emissions cap while also creating economic opportunities for producers to sell carbon credits.

One of the major areas of concern raised by Yoder during the hearing was that the House language that would penalize early actors who commenced no-till or other conservation practices earlier than 2001 and would be prohibited from participating in a carbon market.

“We are pleased that the Senate Agriculture Committee is actively involved in the climate change negotiations in Congress. Agriculture should be considered a significant part of the broader solution as we evaluate ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Yoder said in his prepared remarks. “Our nation’s corn growers should have the opportunity to make significant contributions under a market based cap and trade system through sequestering carbon on agriculture lands.”

Yoder also took the opportunity to urge members of the committee to block the EPA from considering indirect land use change when calculating carbon impacts from corn-based ethanol.

“NCGA disputes recent data that would suggest a direct correlation between domestic ethanol production and international deforestation,” Yoder said. “The language in the House bill is a step in the right direction towards sound science and a more rational life cycle analysis. We would urge the Senate to include the same provision in its version of the climate bill.”

Click here for a copy of the NCGA testimony