TFI’s West Testifies On Cap-And-Trade

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Ford B. West testified last week before the U.S. House Agriculture Committee at a climate change legislation hearing. What did he say?

The hearing was held to examine the Waxman-Markey climate change legislation, which is pending in various committees of the House after its recent passage by members of the Energy and Commerce Committee. The June 18 hearing provided the first opportunity for agriculture to weigh in on the issue and included testimony from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, as well as a number of witnesses from national trade associations representing a broad range of agricultural and rural interests.

West provided testimony highlighting the opportunity that exists for agriculture to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and also described the ramifications to the fertilizer industry, and in turn U.S. growers, which may come as a result of implementing a cap and trade system.

"Farmers can play a very important role in the reduction of climate change related emissions," explained West. "Best management practices including low till and no-till farming, as well as farmers’ use of the right fertilizer product, at the right rate, right time, and right place, all contribute to increasing the carbon content of soils, reducing erosion, boosting crop yields, and significantly reducing GHG emissions."

In addition to describing the role that exists for agriculture to contribute to climate change mitigation, West explained some of the preemptive efforts that the fertilizer industry has taken to become more energy efficient and environmentally sensitive.

"The fertilizer industry has gone to great lengths to advocate environmental stewardship," said West. "Between 1983 and 2006, the industry reduced the amount of natural gas used to produce a ton of ammonia by 11 percent and along with that energy efficiency came carbon reductions that are estimated by EPA to have allowed U.S. nitrogen producers to reduce their GHG emissions from 1990 to 2006 by 4.5 million tons of CO2 equivalent."

Despite the preemptive efficiency efforts that have been undertaken, West pointed out that in order for the domestic fertilizer industry to remain competitive, while operating under the proposed cap and trade policy, the industry will need to achieve even greater efficiencies, which is problematic due to the fact that there will be a time when the industry’s efficiency gains will eventually be limited.

"While our industry is committed to additional energy efficiency projects, there will come a point where, due to the constraints of chemistry, the U.S. fertilizer industry will not be able to achieve additional efficiency gains," stated West.

Adding to this problem is the potential for the proposed legislation to encourage a number of utilities to turn to natural gas as an alternative for generating electricity, which may drive up the price of that commodity. Natural gas is a feedstock that is required for the production of nitrogen fertilizers and the U.S. nitrogen industry has already been impacted by challenges associated with rising natural gas prices.

"Since 2000, the U.S. nitrogen industry has closed 26 nitrogen fertilizer production facilities, due primarily to the high cost of natural gas," said West. "The fertilizer industry has grave concerns that our remaining domestic nitrogen production cannot stay operational through any transition period of a cap and trade system where utilities switch to natural gas and fertilizer producers are forced to buy emission credits on the open market."

In closing, West provided perspective on how the proposed climate change bill could place the domestic fertilizer industry at a competitive disadvantage compared to global fertilizer producers who are not operating under a cap and trade system and who have access to plentiful supplies of cheap natural gas.

"What Congress needs to understand is that this cap and trade proposal may place our industry at a serious competitive disadvantage compared to global fertilizer production and could force the domestic fertilizer industry overseas to countries that have no carbon reduction policies in place,” he said. Congress must tread cautiously and consider the fact that without dramatic changes, the current climate change bill will render the U.S. nitrogen industry uncompetitive and result in a loss for the economy and for the cause of reducing CO2 emissions."

(Source: TFI press release)

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “TFI’s West Testifies On Cap-And-Trade

  1. Fertilizer produced without regard for carbon emissions should be tarriffed at a rate to equal fertilizer produced under those constraints. The dollars gained should be used to build U.S. fertilizer infrastructure that is as carbon neutral as possible.

    Weaning ourselves off of fossil fuel is not a game. It is critical to our future.

  2. Fertilizer produced without regard for carbon emissions should be tarriffed at a rate to equal fertilizer produced under those constraints. The dollars gained should be used to build U.S. fertilizer infrastructure that is as carbon neutral as possible. Weaning ourselves off of fossil fuel is not a game. It is critical to our future.

Featured Stories
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
Crop InputsWinField Unveiling NutriVision Technology, Ascend Dry Formulation
February 24, 2015
New for 2015 are NutriVision Technology, a unique tool for monitoring in-season plant nutrient availability, and Ascend WSG plant growth regulator, a new dry formulation of Ascend plant growth regulator. Read More
Crop InputsVilsack To Deliver Commodity Classic Keynote Address
February 19, 2015
The secretary will deliver a keynote address to several thousand farmers and ag allies during the event's General Session, to be held Friday, February 27, in Phoenix, AZ. Read More
Ribbon cutting at 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
Matt Hopkins5 Key Takeaways From The 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
February 14, 2015
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the largest indoor farm show in the country didn't disappoint with the latest in technology and trends on full display. Read More
Top 100 Articles
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
corn field
CropLife 100The Andersons’ Humic DG Now Available In Canada
February 13, 2015
The Andersons, Inc. Turf & Specialty Group has announced its Humic DG product is now available to customers in the Canadian turf, agriculture and horticulture markets. Read More
Latest News
Crop InputsCommodity Classic 2015 Sets Attendance High Mark
March 4, 2015
With nearly 8,000 total attendees, the 2015 Commodity Classic convention and trade show, which took place last week in Phoenix, AZ, shattered previous records for the landmark event, Read More
Young corn plants
FertilizerNew Nitrogen Stabilizer From Simplot Protects Fertilize…
March 4, 2015
By using OmniPierce Technology, Eclipse-N from Simplot Grower Solutions coats and protects more nitrogen, increasing nitrogen efficiency and decreasing loss due to volatilization. Read More
Industry NewsOhio Corn And Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Soybean A…
March 4, 2015
The associations truly appreciate the comprehensive approach and diligent work that the Ohio House of Representatives has dedicated to addressing water quality and House Bill 61. Read More
Mahindra Implement
Industry NewsMahindra USA Aligns With Paladin Attachment For Impleme…
March 4, 2015
Mahindra USA will begin utilizing Paladin Attachments as its implement supplier in April 2015. Read More
Crop InputsValent BioSciences Acquires Mycorrhizal Applications
March 4, 2015
The acquisition adds another strategic platform to VBC’s rapidly expanding global biorational business, providing additional tools for the Biorational Window platform being developed with its parent, Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation - Plant Nutrient on the Farm Station
Industry NewsNutrients For Life Foundation Launches New Station Prog…
March 4, 2015
This ready-to-implement station provides an interactive opportunity for farms to showcase crop nutrients’ important role in growing healthy crops. Read More
Adjuvants loading
AdjuvantsAdjuvants Continue Upward Trend
March 4, 2015
A dizzying array of developments in crop protection technologies promise to make specialty adjuvants a crucial piece of the puzzle going forward. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Me…
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
10 Tips for Spring Planter Preparation
Equipment10 Tips For Spring Planter Preparation
March 3, 2015
Kinze Manufacturing offers advice on how to ensure your planter is ready before you hit the field. Read More
Industry NewsOABA 2015 LAUNCH Program Recognizes 20 New Graduates
March 3, 2015
Twenty Ohio agribusiness leaders are being recognized as the latest graduates of Ohio AgriBusiness Association’s LAUNCH program. Read More
EquipmentNew AGCO Website Helps Customers Shop For Certified Pre…
March 3, 2015
RoGator sprayers are among the wide range of CPO equipment available through AGCO's site. Read More
Enlist spray Demo
HerbicidesGuiding New Herbicide Systems’ Launches
March 3, 2015
Under careful watch, the new 2,4-D- and dicamba-tolerant crops hit more acres this season. Read More
Eric SfiligojCommodity Classic 2015: Playing The Waiting Game
March 2, 2015
There was plenty of future-talk at this year’s event as companies (and growers) are largely in a holding pattern of sorts. Read More
Industry NewsHighway Equipment Appoints New Director Of Business Dev…
March 2, 2015
Cory Venable, who joined Highway Equipment Company (HECO) in 2013 as OEM Account Manager, has been promoted to Director of Business Development. Read More
Prairieland FS employees
Eric SfiligojWorkforce Worries
March 2, 2015
Finding good employees almost always ranks as the No. 1 or No. 2 problem for ag retailers in our annual CropLife 100 survey. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location I…
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More