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Ranking Ag Members Have Questions for Vilsack

Republicans curious why secretary won't back his department's own experts.

Published on: Dec 18, 2009

The Ranking Members of the House and Senate Ag Committees have questions about remarks made by Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack this week regarding USDA's climate change legislation analysis. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Representative Frank Lucas, R-Okla., say the Secretary's statement implies a lack of confidence in the modeling used by his department and the Environmental Protection Agency.

 

"The Department's testimony delivered earlier this month to the House Agriculture Committee is clear and unequivocal; agriculture will undergo significant structural impacts that will change how food, feed, fiber and fuel are produced in the United States," Lucas and Chambliss wrote in a letter to Vilsack.  "The disappearance of 59 million acres of cropland, higher food prices and lower exports will undoubtedly shape how farmers and ranchers make a living in the years ahead.  While we can disagree on policy, we cannot ignore the facts when they are inconvenient to our preferred narrative."

 

The two are asking both the USDA and EPA to report to their committees on the problems with the economic model in order to reflect realistic scenarios while examining the impact of cap and trade on the ag and forestry sectors.

 

In a separate letter, Senator Mike Johanns, R-Neb., a former ag secretary, wrote," It was confusing to read that you have called into question an analysis produced by your own department."