Guest Opinion: Growing Climate Solutions Act demonstrates support of conservation efforts

Published 3:40 pm Sunday, May 16, 2021

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By Kayla Bergman

Carbon payment programs offer a financial opportunity for farmers implementing important conservation on their farms and while there has been growing excitement for these programs, standardization and verification is necessary.

Thanks to a bipartisan effort, which includes Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the Growing Climate Solutions Act has been reintroduced in Congress and passed through the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry on April 22.

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The act will establish a certification program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture for private parties who work with farmers to receive payments for carbon sequestration, which will bring legitimacy and transparency to agricultural carbon trading.

The large group of bipartisan legislators sponsoring this bill demonstrates the support for America’s farmers scaling up their conservation efforts to address climate change. In addition to bringing legitimacy to carbon trading, the legislation would make the enrollment process less cumbersome.

Farmers have the important opportunity to sequester carbon, the most prevalent greenhouse gas, by implementing conservation in their operations. This legislation solidifies the important role agriculture plays in addressing climate change by providing a good path forward for carbon markets.

While carbon payment programs have already generated excitement among farmers and companies, this legislation further increases the interest in these programs. By providing a streamlined process, the Growing Solutions Act would raise the excitement even more, giving farmers the opportunity to earn more revenue while protecting the environment.

Kayla Bergman is a senior policy associate at the Center for Rural Affairs.