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USDA to take another look at plan to change farm land to forest

Thursday, December 31, 2009

A plan to turn farm land into forest is getting further examination.
A plan to turn farm land into forest is getting further examination.

According to a recent report from the Washington Times, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has ordered staff members to re-examine a plan to convert farm land to forests.

The report, citing a statement made by Vilsack, noted that those who use agricultural equipment have shown concern over the plan, which could switch 59 million acres of agricultural space into forest. The proposal - part of a climate bill passed by the House - would give farmers incentives to do so in an effort to improve the environment.

The news organization said that a study of the plan done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture did state that the plan could provide long-term profits for farmers.

"But those profits would come mostly from higher crop prices as a result of the legislation's incentives to plant more forests and thus reduce the amount of land devoted to food-producing agriculture," the Times said.

Upon the bill's passage in the House, Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau, testified before a Senate committee that the new policies could end up increasing food costs for consumers.

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