Statement, Hearing On “The Role Of Agriculture And Forestry In Global Warming Legislation”

Thank you Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Chambliss for holding this important hearing today to discuss agriculture and forest’s critical role in global warming legislation.
There should be no doubt in any of our minds that agricultural and forestry have a great opportunity to play an important role in efforts to reduce global warming.  In fact, some farms and forestry operations are already leading the way to reduce their carbon footprint and have a phenomenal story to tell, while also contributing financially to their businesses.  For example, when Norm Audet started farming back in 1965 with 30 cows in Bridport, Vermont, he never imagined that his Blue Spruce Farm would someday help to power the green mountain state.  Today, Norm’s three sons: Earnest, Earl, and Eugene run the family farm that not only produces 24 million pounds of fresh, delicious milk a year, but also 1.3 million kilowatt hours of clean, renewable energy in the Central Vermont Public Service Cow Power Program.  Enough to power roughly 200 Vermont homes annually.
By trapping their farm’s methane, Blue Spruce Farm is able to provide the residents of Vermont with clean green cow power.  I am thrilled to see the Audets, and other Vermont farmers like them, leading the way to show the potential for changing the way Vermont dairy farms, and farms across the country, can do business while helping the environment.
However, our farmers could do a lot more if we had a legitimate market for ag offsets in place today.  With a properly functioning cap and trade system, more of our nation’s farmers could find ways for their manure management, grazing, and sustainable forestry practices to generate additional revenue for their operations.

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