USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack met with farm broadcasters yesterday to repeat support for cap and trade legislation. After visiting 17 states the secretary says he does not get the impression that there is a concerted or unified effort to block cap and trade. Vilsack's take is, “I think there is an interest in learning more about it, an interest in participating in conversations and discussions about how it needs to be shaped, and I think there was an expectation when it passed the House that the Senate should have its say, and it should. But I don’t anticipate and expect that there’s going to be a real concerted effort to block this legislation. I think there will be a concerted effort to improve it from the Senate perspective.”

Vilsack said based on USDA analysis and their understanding of possibilities and opportunities, the economic benefits to agriculture from cap and trade will likely outweigh the costs. “In the short term we believe those economic benefits will likely outweigh the costs, and in the long term we think they will easily trump those costs. Why? Because the House bill as passed creates an offset market that creates opportunities for domestic offsets, and we believe the agriculture sector will benefit most directly from that offset market.”

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