The U.S. Senate passed the Growing Climate Solutions Act Thursday 92-8. The legislation will help farmers, ranchers, and foresters understand and access carbon markets, helping the environment and boosting farm income at the same time.
The legislation, introduced by U.S. Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) and Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), joined by U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Boozman (R-AR), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and co-sponsored by more than half the Senate, helps producers to generate and sell carbon credits by setting up a third-party certification process through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The bill also creates an online resource for farmers looking to connect with those experts and get more information and establishes an Advisory Council to provide input to USDA and ensure the program remains effective and works for farmers.
“Farmers have always led the way on protecting our environment, and the Growing Climate Solutions Act helps them get paid for their sustainable practices through voluntary carbon credit markets,” said Senator Braun. “Hoosiers want real-world solutions, and Growing Climate Solutions is a bipartisan, common-sense, pro-jobs win that farmers, industry leaders, and conservationists can all support – all without growing the government or adding to our deficit.”
The American Farm Bureau Federation is applauding the U.S. Senate for passing the Growing Climate Solutions Act. The act has 55 cosponsors, which makes it the first major piece of bipartisan legislation that would help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilience through voluntary, market-driven programs.
“We appreciate lawmakers putting aside their differences to work on bipartisan solutions to the challenges facing farmers and ranchers,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “The Growing Climate Solutions Act acknowledges the potential of climate-smart farming while ensuring farmers would be respected as partners who can build on our strong foundation of environmental stewardship.”
The Growing Climate Solutions Act is supported by more than 75 agriculture, food, forestry and environmental groups that are part of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA). The alliance advocates for responsible policies that build on voluntary, incentive-based programs, market-driven opportunities and science-based approaches.
“The Growing Climate Solutions Act demonstrates how far we’ve come in climate policy over the past decade,” President Duvall said. “Farm Bureau has worked tirelessly through the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance and directly with lawmakers to help them understand the importance of working with America’s farmers and ranchers to ensure climate policy remains voluntary and market-driven. We encourage members of the House to follow the Senate’s lead and work in a bipartisan manner to create responsible policy that protects the environment and protects the farmers and ranchers who rely on clean air and water to feed the nation.”
The House is currently working on its version of the Growing Climate Solutions Act.
Sources: Senator Mike Braun’s Press Office and the American Farm Bureau Federation