Legislation to break down barriers for farmers, ranchers, and foresters interested in participating in carbon markets was introduced in Congress last week.
Limited access to reliable information about markets, qualified technical assistance providers, and credit protocol verifiers has restricted both landowner participation in carbon markets and the adoption of practices that help reduce the costs of developing carbon credits.
The Growing Climate Solutions Act, introduced by Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Don Bacon (R-NE-02), would address this problem by creating a certification program at the USDA to help solve technical entry barriers that prevent farmer and forest landowner participation in carbon credit markets.
Through the program, USDA would 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.
“As chair of the Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee, I know that agriculture can and should be a part of our solution to the climate crisis — and we need to invest in voluntary practices that have a proven record of success for America’s farmers. Carbon markets offer farmers and producers an opportunity to create new revenue streams and embrace practices that both boost yields and contribute to climate-friendling farming practices,” said Spanberger.
“By setting up a new certification program at USDA, this commonsense bill would jumpstart climate-smart projects throughout rural America. I’m glad to see that the reintroduced Growing Climate Solutions Act has wide support from farm, industry, and environmental organizations, and I am encouraged to see such strong, bipartisan support for the bill in the U.S. Senate. I’d like to thank Congressman Bacon for his continued partnership on this issue, as well as thank Sens. Stabenow and Braun for their leadership in making carbon credits more accessible to growers in Central Virginia and across the country.”
“Nebraska farmers and ranchers take great pride in being good environmental stewards and this bill will help them navigate and participate in carbon credit markets,” said Bacon. “Access to reliable information about markets, qualified technical assistance providers, and credit protocol verifiers will give landowners the confidence and information they need to participate. Our agriculture sector can serve a critical role as part of a solution to reducing global greenhouse emissions and shaping climate policy. I’m pleased to work alongside my colleague Rep. Spanberger as we again introduce the Growing Climate Solutions Act.”
The Growing Climate Solutions Act is supported by a wide range of farm, environment, and industry organizations in Virginia, Nebraska, and across the country.
“Farmers and forest-landowners manage the overwhelming majority of open space in this country and play a crucial role in adopting practices that naturally sequester carbon. This bipartisan bill will help solve technical entry barriers to farmer and forest-landowner participation in voluntary carbon credit markets. These issues – including access to reliable information about markets and access to qualified technical assistance providers and credit protocol verifiers – have limited both landowner participation and the adoption of practices to help reduce the costs of developing carbon credits,” said Wayne Pryor, president, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “We commend Congresswoman Spanberger and Congressman Bacon for taking the lead on this bill and helping to ensure farmers have opportunities to participate in emerging carbon markets.”
“The Growing Climate Solutions Act provides a needed certification program that gives producers critical information in navigating carbon credits. Access to this technical assistance is more important than ever and helps remove a barrier for farmers to participate in carbon markets,” said Kyle Shreve, executive director, Virginia Agribusiness Council. “We commend Congresswoman Spanberger and Congressman Bacon for continuing to lead on this important issue.”
“McDonald’s is committed to working collaboratively with our suppliers and agricultural producers to achieve our science-based climate commitments. The Growing Climate Solutions Act takes important steps toward supporting voluntary carbon credit markets that enhance assistance for farmers and ranchers that use climate smart agricultural practices. We advocate for incentives, recognition and rewards for agriculture operations that quantifiably deliver positive environmental impacts and foster agriculture’s unique ability to act as a climate solution,” said Marion Gross, McDonald’s Chief Supply Chain Officer, North America. “McDonald’s appreciates the leadership of Senators Braun and Stabenow and Representatives Spanberger and Bacon in introducing common sense climate policy that benefits both agriculture producers and the environment.”
“America’s farmers have a crucial role to play in addressing our changing climate and adopting climate-friendly practices that naturally sequester carbon. This bipartisan bill will help agricultural producers participate in voluntary carbon markets,” Aviva Glaser, Director of Agriculture Policy, National Wildlife Federation. “Thank you to Reps. Spanberger and Bacon for their leadership in finding solutions that not only act on climate, but also work for farmers, ranchers, and forest owners alike.”
The Growing Climate Solutions Act would establish a Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Certification Program through which USDA would be able to provide transparency, legitimacy, and informal endorsement of third-party verifiers and technical service providers that help private landowners generate carbon credits through a variety of agriculture and forestry related practices.
The USDA certification program would make sure these assistance providers have agriculture and forestry expertise, which is lacking in the current marketplace. As part of the program, USDA would administer a new website, which will serve as a “one stop shop” of information and resources for producers and foresters who are interested in participating in carbon markets.
Spanberger and Bacon first introduced the bipartisan bill in June 2020.