Indiana Senator Mike Braun was in Shelbyville Monday to meet with his Agriculture Advisory Council made up of Indiana farmers. While there, he discussed the Growing Climate Solutions Act that passed through the Senate by a 92-8 vote last week. Braun says the legislation would help farmers get paid for sustainable practices.
“You can take your good stewardship and hopefully parlay that into existing credits that are out there that mostly small farmers can’t take advantage of because currently if that happens, you’ve got your larger landowners that would have the resources to maybe capture those currently. So, this uses the familiar portal of our Farm Service Agency where you can get your ground certified, folks to come in and verify what your current CO2 footprint is, and just makes it available for tree farmers and row crops.”
The legislation still needs to make its way through the House where it’s opposed by the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, Glen “GT” Thompson from Pennsylvania. Thompson says the bill is a “big-government solution in search of a problem”.
Braun responded saying, “Well, I’d say he’s probably not been listening to the Farm Bureau and all the soybean and corn grower groups across the country…I would have never been for it if that’s what it was. This is actually spending about as little as you can just to set up the process and it’s being offset with unspent COVID funds, which we as conservatives talk about. So, I think when he looks more into the details of it, he’s going to see the way you’re using the kind of conservatism that needs to be talked about more in government and I think he’ll come along.”
The legislation proposes a certification program at USDA to mitigate technical entry barriers to farmer and forest landowner participation in carbon credit markets. The bill also creates an online resource for farmers looking to connect with experts and establishes an Advisory Council, which Braun says will consist of a “good percentage” of farmers, to provide input to USDA and ensure the program remains effective and works for farmers.