Clements: The Growing Climate Solutions Act directs the Department of Agriculture to create a certification of third parties and an advisory council for voluntary climate markets. Andrew Walmsley, American Farm Bureau Federation Congressional Relations Director, says the bill opens a path forward to allow farmers and ranchers to participate in carbon credit markets.
Walmsley: This is a bill that’s supported by the American Farm Bureau and a host of other groups that is really the first bipartisan bill in the space of climate and agriculture. It is an important bill in our view that will eventually provide information to farmers and ranchers who are interested in participating in these voluntary climate markets.
Clements: Walmsley says the legislation builds on agriculture’s strong foundation of sustainable practices.
Walmsley: In the last two generations roughly, we’ve increased our output by over 270 percent while our inputs have remained the same. So, America’s farmers and ranchers are producing more with less. And so, finding recognition for that great stride that we’ve made as stewards is important, but also building a foundation going forward on what we can do even more in this space that consumers are demanding.
Clements: The Senate Ag Committee held a hearing on the bill this week. Walmsley says the legislation rewards farmers for their sustainable practices.
Walmsley: How quickly it will be able to be marked up and moved is kind of up in the air. But it does set a good marker going into the future as we are having more and more of these conversations around climate. We expect that this demand will continue. As we see private companies make commitments, we need to make sure that farmers are at the table, understand our opportunities and continue to be the good stewards that we are.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.