The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry today held a hearing to review the Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2020 (S. 3894). The bipartisan legislation addresses the potential for agriculture to serve as a critical climate solution by making it easier for producers to participate in climate-smart practices, navigate carbon markets and earn extra income through carbon sequestration. NCGA has endorsed the bill.
The committee heard from witnesses representing varied agriculture industries, including Brent Bible, a corn and soybean farmer and Soil Health Partnership (SHP) participant from Lafayette, Ind.
“Agriculture has a tremendous opportunity to lead by example with impactful, common-sense climate solutions. Farmers are vital partners in stabilizing the climate and increasing resilience to climate impacts we can’t avoid,” Bible told the Committee.
The Growing Climate Solutions Act will:
- Create an Online “One Stop Shop” for Producers and Foresters interested in carbon markets to help them get their foot in the door. A new USDA website will serve as a comprehensive resource with information for farmers and foresters interested in generating carbon credits. It will explain how they can get started and connect them with USDA-certified entities to set up their carbon credit operation and provide more details on the private-sector marketplace.
- Establish a USDA Certification for the private parties that farmers work with in order to generate and ultimately sell their carbon credits. Modeled off of the National Organic Program, the certification provides transparency and legitimacy to technical assistance providers, who advise producers on conservation practices to use in order to generate carbon credits, and third party verifiers, who verify that the appropriate protocols were followed to ensure the integrity of the credits so they can be sold. The USDA will ensure that these private third parties have agriculture and/or forestry experience, which is lacking in the current marketplace.
- Organize an Advisory Council to keep the Secretary and USDA updated on new developments in the rapidly-expanding landscape of carbon markets. The council of agriculture experts, scientists, conservationists, and producers will ensure that the certification program remains relevant, credible, and responsive to the needs of farmers, forest landowners, and carbon market participants alike.
- Assess Progress in Carbon Markets through a regular report to keep lawmakers up to speed on barriers to market entry, producer challenges, market performance, and opportunities for USDA to contribute to the further adoption of voluntary carbon sequestration.
Learn more about NCGA’s sustainability efforts.