Economist Barry Flinchbaugh Talks Indirect Land Use

Joanna Schroeder

BarryFlinchbaughYesterday during the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists Congress/Ag Media Summit, a “Great Debate” ensued between retired K-State ag economist Barry Flinchbaugh and former Texas congressman Charlie Stenholm. Their topics were ag policy and trade but a lot of the focus was on the new cap and trade legislation, climate change and indirect land use.

I had a chance to speak with Flinchbaugh for a few minutes after the session to have him expand on climate change and renewable fuels.

“Front and center is renewable fuels and climate change and you can’t separate the two. And the question is global warming a hoax is a stupid question because the political system worldwide has decided that its for real and things are going to happen,” said Flinchbaugh. “The Supreme Court gave the EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. So to pretend we can whip this, we being agriculture is ridiculous. We can’t whip this and we need to get inside the tent and help make the decisions.”

Although his comments on how current climate change policy will affect both America and the international communities are insightful, I wanted to know how the cap and trade bill would affect the profitability of farmers in America. To put his answer in perspective, Big Oil receives 2 percent in credits and agriculture receives 7 percent.

“I think we can come out a net winner but we need to refine the current law to do this,” answered Flinchbaugh. But what happens when you add the policy surrounding indirect land use (which has been deferred for five years)?

“No. Absolutely not. And this whole indirect land use issue is an emotional bogus issue. One of the things that Colin really got done was put this off for five years. One of the things we can do in the next five years is prove this is bogus issue.”

Listen here to the joint interview with myself and Kansas Ag Network reporter Greg Akagi.

Agribusiness, Audio, biofuels, Indirect Land Use, News