WASHINGTON — Editor’s note: The below statements were released by agricultural organizations following the introduction of the Growing Climate Solutions Act in the U.S. Senate.
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture:
State agriculture officials celebrate introduction of Growing Climate Solutions Act
The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture commends Senator Stabenow, Senator Braun and the bill cosponsors for working in a bi-partisan fashion to introduce the Growing Climate Solutions Act.
“When governments invest in farmers, our communities and environment thrive. State department of agriculture leaders understand the central role agriculture serves in building climate resiliency and preserving our shared natural resources. NASDA is proud to support the Growing Climate Solutions Act, as it acknowledges and invests producers’ contribution to environmental sustainability and unites the industry around climate goals,” NASDA CEO Dr. Barb Glenn said.
NASDA serves as a founding member of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance and advocates for incentive and science-based climate solutions for agriculture. In 2019, NASDA members unanimously acknowledged the necessity of adapting to a changing climate to protect our nation’s natural resources and build a more resilient food system. Read more about NASDA’s work on climate at NASDA.org/climate-resiliency.
American Farm Bureau Federation:
Farm Bureau Supports New Growing Climate Solutions Act
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on the re-introduction of the Growing Climate Solutions Act.
“AFBF welcomes the introduction of the Growing Climate Solutions Act, which builds on the strong foundation of environmental stewardship in American agriculture by providing more clarity and guidance for farmers and ranchers as they explore or expand participation in carbon markets.
“This bill is evidence lawmakers can come together in a bipartisan manner to find solutions to environmental challenges while respecting the role of farmers and ranchers as they feed families around the globe. I commend Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) for working with Ranking Member John Boozman (R-Ark.) to introduce an improved Growing Climate Solutions Act.
“AFBF will continue to work with lawmakers, directly and through the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance that we co-founded, to advance policies and programs that are science-based, voluntary and market-driven.”
Highlights of the Growing Climate Solutions Act:
- Creates an online “One-Stop Shop” for farmers, ranchers and foresters interested in carbon markets to help them get their foot in the door.
- Establishes a USDA Certification for private parties that farmers work with to generate and ultimately sell their carbon credits.
- Commits to including farmers and other climate stakeholders on USDA’s Advisory Council.
National Farmers Union:
Growing Climate Solutions Act Improves Credibility of Carbon Markets, NFU Says
In the midst of Earth Week, Senators Debbie Stabenow, Mike Braun, Lindsey Graham, and Sheldon Whitehouse reintroduced the Growing Climate Solutions Act, which aims to provide certainty to farmers and ranchers seeking compensation for climate-smart agricultural practices through carbon markets.
To achieve this end, the bill would create a certification program for third-party verifiers and technical service providers that help farmers earn carbon credits to ensure they have the appropriate expertise. Information about those providers will be available to farmers via an online portal. Additionally, the bill would establish an advisory committee composed of farmers, industry experts, scientists, and representatives from private markets to make recommendations to Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on how they can further strengthen the credibility of carbon markets and facilitate farmers’ participation.
When the bill was first introduced last year, National Farmers Union (NFU) endorsed it, saying it was “an important step toward strong and comprehensive climate policy.” In a statement today, NFU President Rob Larew reiterated the organization’s support:
“Climate change is one of the greatest tests we have ever faced. To protect ourselves and our planet from this existential threat, we must leave no stone unturned – including agriculture, which holds immense promise when it comes to mitigation and adaptation. Through the implementation of climate-smart practices, family farmers and ranchers can not only reduce their operations’ climate impact, but they can also offset other sectors’ emissions by sequestering atmospheric carbon in their soil.
“Recognizing that potential, a patchwork of carbon markets has sprung up to incentivize and reward such practices. However, there is currently no formal oversight of these markets or uniformity among them for criteria, payment rates, or measurement, which can make selecting the right one a confusing and overwhelming process. By creating a certification program, the Growing Climate Solutions Act would bring much-needed clarity and certainty to this burgeoning sector, thus making it easier for farmers to obtain the financial resources they need to invest in climate solutions. We welcome and support this important initiative and will continue working with the committee to leverage agriculture in our fight against the climate crisis.”
National Milk Producers Federation:
NMPF Lauds Progress on Bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act, Welcomes Conservation Proposals
The National Milk Producers Federation today applauded bipartisan work that’s being done on legislation that would bolster the many conservation and environmental efforts dairy producers are leading as they continue their everyday stewardship of air, land, and water resources.
This week, Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) reintroduced their bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act. This important legislation creates a USDA certification program that would permit the Department to informally endorse technical service providers that can help farmers implement environmental stewardship practices that may generate carbon credits. The legislation, if passed, would be invaluable for dairy farmers seeking to achieve the sector’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality or better by 2050 through dairy’s Net Zero Initiative.
“We commend Chairwoman Stabenow and Senator Braun for continuing their bipartisan leadership on the Growing Climate Solutions Act, which would encourage greater farmer participation in environmental markets,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “This legislation will enhance the proactive, sustainable initiatives dairy farmers are expanding as our sector strives to achieve carbon neutrality.”
The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee held a hearing on the Growing Climate Solutions Act last June. NMPF submitted written testimony in support of the measure on behalf of Mulhern and Environmental Issues Committee Chair Mike McCloskey.
NMPF additionally commended the efforts of House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), who last Friday put forward several measures to adapt farm bill conservation programs to help address climate change by: allowing private sector funding to meet conservation program demand; emphasizing soil health and increasing funding for Conservation Innovation Trials; and incentivizing the adoption of precision agriculture systems.
“We thank Ranking Member Thompson for furthering the conversation on climate and sustainability by putting forward several proposals for discussion,” said Mulhern. “We agree that farm bill conservation programs can be vital to helping producers reduce their environmental footprint, and we look forward to more closely examining this suite of legislation and other proposals that may be introduced in the coming weeks.”
The Center for Rural Affairs:
Center for Rural Affairs applauds reintroduction of Growing Climate Solutions Act
The Center for Rural Affairs applauds the reintroduction of the Growing Climate Solutions Act. The legislation was reintroduced by its original sponsors for the 117th Congress.
“Carbon payment programs offer a financial opportunity for farmers implementing important conservation on their farms,” said Kayla Bergman, senior policy associate for the Center of Rural Affairs. “While there has been growing excitement for these programs, standardization and verification is necessary.”
Bergman commends the bipartisan leadership on this bill, including Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for joining their colleagues, Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mike Braun (R-IN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sheldon Whitehouse, (D-RI) in cosponsorship of this legislation.
“The large group of bipartisan legislators sponsoring this bill, including senators from our heartland states, demonstrates the support for America’s farmers scaling up their conservation efforts to address climate change,” Bergman said.
The Growing Climate Solutions Act will establish a certification program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture for private parties who work with producers to receive payments for carbon sequestration.
In addition to bringing legitimacy to carbon trading, Bergman said the legislation would make the enrollment process less cumbersome. The program has already generated interest among farmers and companies, she said.
“This legislation solidifies the important role agriculture plays in addressing climate change by providing a good path forward for carbon markets,” Bergman said.
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