A senior advisor to US agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack is a proponent of agriculture’s role in the nation’s renewable energy future. Robert Bonnie is senior advisor on climate change and the environment. Bonnie told participants at the Renewable Energy Roundtable in Walker that agricultural land should be included in cap and trade discussions.

"We’ve gotten used to land-owners and environmentalists fighting over issues," Bonnie says. "We have an opportunity to get this right. We can do things to address greenhouse gases and still be right for the land."

Numerous Roundtable participants voiced their concerns and ideas for the legislation. Bonnie says any climate change legislation will have costs, but he is hopeful for a system that works for landowners and will benefit the environment. He says there are concerns among those in agriculture, but also some serious potential.

Agriculture is best served by making sure any framework for climate change creates opportunities for landowners and addresses the problem climate change poses," Bonnie adds.

The Renewable Energy Roundtable is a statewide, multi-organizational effort to address the challenges and opporunities for Minnesota’s renewable energy industry. These efforts include talent development, public policy, infrastructure and economics and finance.