Hayes Addresses U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee about Impacts to Agriculture of Domestic Offsets

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Professor Dermot Hayes made a statement at a hearing on costs and benefits of domestic offsets on December 3 before a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture. Hayes gave the Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Research an overview of his analysis on the reaction of crop prices and the resulting conversion of agricultural land due to domestic agricultural offsets of carbon if such a program were instituted.

The analysis suggests that by 2023, the price of corn would be about 28% higher and the price of soybeans would be 20% higher in the Corn Belt. The analysis, using models of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, also suggests that with higher crop prices, about 10 million acres of pasture and land in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) would be converted into cropland so that the net price impact would lead to conversion of 40 million acres. Hayes said that limiting the conversion of crop land for domestic offsets and confining it to pasture, CRP, and publically owned lands would be one solution to the challenge to agriculture of cropland conversion. Another would be using other means, such as biochar, to sequester carbon in agricultural soils. Read the full statement.

(Released December 2009)