WASHINGTON — Rep. Frank Lucas lashed out Wednesday at President Barack Obama’s administration, saying it had been the most unfriendly one to farmers and ranchers in recent history.
"It is clear the Obama administration is no friend to agriculture,” Lucas, R-Cheyenne, said in a speech to the National Association of Farm Broadcasting on Obama’s 100th day in office.
Lucas, the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, said the administration has done more to undermine the 2008 farm bill than to implement it, "starting with efforts to eliminate direct payments and to force all farmers to release their tax returns before receiving support payments.”
But the main target of Lucas’ ire was the president’s goal of capping carbon emissions, possibly by instituting a "cap-and-trade” system in which industries that exceed the emissions limits buy allowances.
"Cap and trade is nothing more than a national energy tax, and the effects will be far-reaching to businesses, consumers and even more so to rural America,” Lucas said.
"Agriculture is a bull’s-eye industry for cap and trade because it is an energy-intensive industry. Whether it’s the fuel in the tractor, the fertilizer for the crops or the delivery of food to the grocery store, agriculture uses a great deal of energy throughout production.