Climate change legislation would lead to higher grain prices and major cuts in pork production, witnesses indicated at hearings held late last week by the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research in Washington, D.C., according to a release from the National Pork Producers.

By 2050, hog slaughter would be 23% lower compared with baseline levels, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture economist Joseph Glauber. Fed beef slaughter would fall by almost 10% and milk production by about 17%.

Those reductions would result from croplands being converted to woodlands, which the legislation promotes as a way to help cut greenhouse gases.

Glauber says consumer prices could be mitigated, in part, if foreign producers boost production of livestock beyond baseline levels in response to higher prices.

Iowa State University agricultural economist Dermot Hayes testified that as many as 50 million acres of cropland could end up being converted to woodlands under the climate-change legislation. Those acres would be in addition to the 30 million acres now in the Conservation Reserve Program and the 40 million acres now being used by the ethanol industry.

Hayes says with that many acres out of crop production, by 2030 corn prices would be about 28% higher than the baseline, and soybean prices would be 20% higher.

The National Pork Producers Council has expressed opposition to Senate and House climate-change bills because they would raise energy prices and production costs.