This week, Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) reintroduced their bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act. The act establishes a U.S. Department of Agriculture technical assistance and certification program to assist producers and forest owners seeking to participate in voluntary carbon markets.
Climate change directly impacts the farmers, ranchers and forest owners who rely on a healthy environment to produce food and forest products. The Growing Climate Solutions Act would ensure agricultural producers and forest owners of all sizes looking to enter the carbon market for the first time have access to reliable information, qualified technical service providers and third-party verifiers. In addition, the bill establishes a robust USDA advisory council composed of farmers, scientists, and other climate stakeholders.
The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, consisting of almost 70 agriculture, food, forestry, and environmental organizations, stresses that federal climate policy must be built upon voluntary, incentive-based programs and market-driven opportunities, promote resilience and adaptation in rural communities, and be grounded in scientific evidence. In addition, they believe climate solutions must be strongly bipartisan and accommodate the diverse needs of producers and landowners, regardless of size, geographic region, or commodity.
The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, a member of FACA said, “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 CEO Dr. Barb Glenn continued, “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.”
The legislation, if passed, would also 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.”
Stabenow and Braun are joined by 34 co-sponsors of the bill, including Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman (R-Ark.) and 12 other committee members.