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Clearing the air on taxing livestock methane emissions

Image credit: AFBF

A recent opinion piece published by Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) has raised some questions about the possibility of a methane emissions fee on agricultural emissions,  primarily livestock methane emissions through a per-head tax.

In the piece, which has been widely circulated in ag communities, Mullin references specific numbers on fees per animal as part of a budget reconciliation being worked on by Congress. But it is important to note that current legislation does not impose a methane tax on agriculture.

Some are citing a previous impact analysis conducted by American Farm Bureau Federation economists as the basis for Mullin’s tax estimates. This analysis was conducted over the summer at the request of Congressional committee staff to examine the impact if agriculture were to be included.

In a statement released earlier this week, AFBF Vice President for Public Affairs Sam Kieffer said the analysis demonstrated the devastating impact of a methane tax on agriculture.

“While we oppose any tax on methane, Farm Bureau is grateful to lawmakers for recognizing the thin margins in agriculture and that such a tax would undoubtedly put family farms out of business. We are especially grateful to the Senate for passing an amendment that specifically exempts agriculture,” Kiefer added.

While the current budget legislation does not include any sort of fee or tax on methane emissions from agriculture, the House reconciliation package does propose increasing taxes on energy producers which could lead to higher prices for input supplies farmers rely on to grow food through a fee on methane from petroleum and natural gas systems. 

“AFBF and MFB continue to monitor the debate over the reconciliation package in the House and its impact on American agriculture,” said MFB National Legislative Counsel John Kran. “U.S. agriculture is among the leaders in conservation and methane reductions. We are always looking for opportunities to build on voluntary strategies already in place.”

Date Posted: October 4, 2021
Media Contacts
John Kran headshot

John Kran

National Legislative Counsel 517-679-5336 [email protected]