WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Senate passed the Growing Climate Solutions Act, legislation that 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 John Boozman (R-AR), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), 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 and Americans 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 our government or our deficit.”
“Addressing the climate crisis is one of the most urgent challenges we face and our farmers and foresters are an important part of the solution,” said Chairwoman Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. “The bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act is a win-win for farmers, our economy and for our environment. Our bill is a perfect example of how we can work across the aisle and find common ground to address a critical issue affecting all of us and our future.”
“Farmers, ranchers and private forest land owners are eager to explore emerging voluntary markets that will compensate them for reducing their environmental footprint. The Growing Climate Solutions Act seeks to remove barriers that stand in their way. It will give farmers, ranchers and private forest land owners resources at USDA to learn more about the voluntary opportunities they may wish to pursue, as well as information to identify expertise that can help them implement practices to sequester carbon or reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Ranking Member Boozman said. “I commend Senators Braun and Stabenow for their willingness to partner with me to make improvements to this bill before committee consideration. This bipartisan approach was key to securing Senate passage.”
“As Americans, we have the ability to come up with climate solutions that can benefit our economy and our way of life,” said Senator Graham. “The United States has long been a leader in innovation. This legislation is an opportunity to put our knowledge and can-do spirit to work to promote business opportunities for the agriculture industry while promoting the protection of our environment.”
“Farmers and foresters are seeing firsthand the effects of climate change on their livelihoods, and I’m glad to have them at the table working on solutions,” said Senator Whitehouse. “We will need nature-based solutions like the ones this bill seeks to incentivize in order to rapidly get to net zero emissions, as science tells us we must.”
More than 175 organizations and companies from across food, agriculture, forestry and conservation support The Growing Climate Solutions Act. A full list of supporters is available by clicking here.