Senate Legislation Promotes Agriculture in Climate Policy

June 4, 2020

Senate Legislation Promotes Agriculture in Climate Policy

Jun 4, 2020

Key Issues:Sustainability

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today endorsed the Growing Climate Solutions Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Mike Braun, R-Ind., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.


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.


“Corn farmers have been leaders in adopting farming practices to improve the quality of soil, water, and the air around our farms and are pleased to endorse the Growing Climate Solutions Act. This bipartisan effort recognizes agriculture’s role in mitigating the impact of climate change and promotes voluntary, agriculture-friendly ideas into the climate discussion. NCGA thanks the Senators for their leadership and looks forward to working together to implement a policy that benefits both the environment and farmers’ bottom line,” said NCGA President Kevin Ross.


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.