USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has requested a review on climate change analysis models being used to calculate the impacts of climate legislation on agriculture, according to The request arises from the concern that too many farmers and ranchers converting land to forest could take too much land out of food production.

Currently the Environmental Protection Agency is using the FASOM model developed at Texas A&M University which projects proposed legislation would raise crop prices because landowners would be encouraged to convert up to 59 million acres of farmland into forests over the next 40 years.

Under the legislation farmers would receive free emission credits for planting forests and adopting low-carbon farming and ranching practices. They could then sell those credits to major emitters of greenhouse gasses.

In a statement issued in December, Vilsack instructed USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber to work with the EPA to review assumptions in the FASOM model, to update the model, and to develop options on how best to avoid unintended consequences for agriculture that might result from climate change legislation.

[Editor’s Note: NPPC sent to Sec. Vilsack a letter that questioned USDA’s analysis of the effects on livestock production of climate change legislation. NPPC requested a meeting with the secretary.

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