Legislation helps farmers and ranchers participate in carbon credit markets

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today joined Senators Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) in introducing The Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2020. The legislation would reduce barriers to entry to enable more farmers and ranchers to voluntarily participate in carbon credit markets

“Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers have long been good stewards of the land and innovators of ways to conserve our precious natural resources. By reducing barriers to carbon credit markets, Senator Braun’s bipartisan legislation will enable more ag producers to be part of the climate solution and it will help them expand on existing practices,” said Senator Fischer.

“On behalf of Nebraska’s corn farmers, I’d like to thank Sen. Deb Fischer for signing on to the Growing Climate Solutions Act. This legislation not only recognizes the current work of our farmers’ conservation efforts, but it also improves the opportunity for access to carbon markets, helping our farmers take the next step in their stewardship and environmental efforts,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. 

“The Growing Climate Solutions Act is an important step toward solving climate change in a manner that supports Nebraska's farms and ranches. Senator Fischer is to be commended for sponsoring this act, which has support from major farm and environmental organizations and members of both parties.  Climate change is already affecting our weather across Nebraska and our farmers and ranchers are feeling much of the pain.  It is great that Congress has developed a response that has both short and long-term benefits.  It will improve our croplands while reducing carbon emissions.  The Nebraska Citizens' Climate Lobby strongly supports Senator Fischer's decision to sponsor this important bill,” said the Nebraska Citizens' Climate Lobby.

“We greatly appreciate Sen. Fischer’s support for the Growing Climate Solutions Act. Nebraska Farm Bureau has long been a proponent of ensuring farmers and ranchers are recognized for their ongoing efforts to protect and conserve soil health. That’s why Farm Bureau offered support for this forward-looking legislation when it was introduced this past June. The bill, which authorizes USDA to establish a third-party verification system and technical support, is an important step forward to facilitate farmers being financially rewarded for their ongoing efforts to keep carbon in the soil,” said Steve Nelson, president, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation

“Passage of the GCSA would be a big win for agriculture and for conservation. Farmers and ranchers need a straightforward way to tap into voluntary carbon markets, and this bill is a big step in that direction. Thanks to Senator Fischer for her leadership on this important issue,” said Mace Hack, State Director of The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska.

“CRES applauds Senator Fischer for joining the Growing Climate Solutions Act. Covering 92% of the state’s total land, Nebraska’s farms and ranches are an impressive engine for the state’s economy. With support from Nebraska’s Senior Senator, the Growing Climate Solutions Act recognizes that these hard-working men and women can be trusted to help protect our environment while continuing to feed our nation and the world. Senator Fischer is a recognized advocate for agriculture and conservation, and her commitment to commonsense, limited-government climate solutions is a welcomed, much-needed voice in the Federal government. CRES is thrilled to work with Senator Fischer and the other Growing Climate Solutions Act sponsors to advance this bipartisan, voluntary framework for empowering America’s farmers, ranchers and landowners to address climate change while boosting local economies,”said Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions’ Executive Director Heather Reams.  

More information:

The Growing Climate Solutions Act creates a certification process at USDA to help solve technical entry barriers to farmer and forest landowner participation in carbon credit markets.

The bill establishes a process through which USDA will be able to provide transparency, legitimacy, and informal endorsements of third party verifiers and technical service providers that help private landowners generate carbon credits.

Through the program, USDA will help connect landowners to private sector actors who can assist the landowners in implementing the protocols and monetizing the climate value of their sustainable practices. Third party entities, certified under the program, will be able to claim the status of a “USDA Certified” technical assistance provider or verifier. The USDA certification lowers barriers to entry in the credit markets by reducing confusion and improving information for farmers looking to implement practices that capture carbon, reduce emissions, improve soil health, and make operations more sustainable. The bill also instructs USDA to produce a report to Congress to advise about the further development of this policy area.

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