PERRYSBURG, OHIO – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today visited Owens Community College to host a Summit on Clean Energy and Agriculture. Along with the Ohio Corn Growers Association and the American Farmland Trust, Brown convened the summit to explore how clean energy or climate change legislation should be drafted to work for Ohio farmers.

“Agriculture remains the number one industry in Ohio,” Brown said. “Over the past three years, I’ve held more than 130 roundtables and have visited all 88 counties in Ohio. These roundtables allowed me to meet face-to-face with the farmers who will be affected by climate legislation. As the Senate considers any clean energy legislation, we must craft it to work for Ohio’s farmers. We have a rich agricultural history in Ohio and a bright future. I will continue to work to ensure that it stays that way.”

Brown is the first Ohioan to serve on the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee in more than 40 years and chairs the Subcommittee on Food, Nutrition and Family Farms. He was joined today by William Hohenstein, director, USDA Global Change Program Office; Dwayne Siekman of the Ohio Corn Growers Association; Roger Wise of the Ohio Farmers Union; and Dennis Nuxoll of American Farmland Trust.

Brown’s summit follows a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) economic analysis released last month showing that the economic benefits to agriculture from the climate change legislation would likely outweigh the costs in the short term, with lasting long-term economic benefits. Brown believes climate change legislation should ensure that family farmers can participate in the offset market, but that it is important to exempt them from any greenhouse gas cap. He supports giving USDA the primary role in administering the agricultural offsets policy. If done right, it’s estimated that the offsets policy could provide farmers with a new market worth as much as $3 billion dollars annually in the first few years and as much as $9 billion dollars by 2030.