The U.S. Senate made history Thursday when it passed the first major bipartisan bill to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners reduce greenhouse gas emissions through generating and selling carbon credits.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) re-introduced the Growing Climate Solutions Act in April, calling for establishment of a USDA technical assistance and certification program to assist producers and forest owners seeking to participate in voluntary carbon markets.
The act passed by a vote of 92-8, garnering support from 55 cosponsors aiming to build climate resilience through voluntary, market-driven programs by providing reliable information about markets, qualified technical assistance providers, and credit protocol verifiers.
“The Growing Climate Solutions Act provides the resources and expertise to help our growers address this crisis," Sen. Stabenow said. “It is another important part of my commitment to supporting Michigan farmers and foresters as they lead the way in addressing the climate crisis through effective conservation efforts.”
“This legislation will create a vital USDA certification program to help solve technical entry barriers for farmers and forest landowners who wish to participate in voluntary carbon credit markets, by providing more clarity and guidance to provide the ecosystem services that many consumers and businesses are desiring,” Bednarski said.
“Michigan Farm Bureau applauds Sen. Stabenow and her colleagues for passing the bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act. Michigan farmers have been at the forefront with conservation stewardship, and this important legislation will allow them to take the next step as they navigate developing carbon markets.”
The Growing Climate Solutions Act is supported by more than 75 agriculture, food, forestry and environmental groups that are part of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance. The alliance advocates for responsible policies that build on voluntary, incentive-based programs, market-driven opportunities and science-based approaches.
“We appreciate lawmakers putting aside their differences to work on bipartisan solutions to the challenges facing farmers and ranchers,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “The Growing Climate Solutions Act acknowledges the potential of climate-smart farming while ensuring farmers would be respected as partners who can build on our strong foundation of environmental stewardship.”
The bill now moves to the House for consideration.