(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) today introduced bipartisan legislation, titled the Growing Climate Solutions Act, to help farmers, ranchers, and foresters overcome barriers they face when trying to participate in voluntary carbon markets, where they can sell credits they earn for implementing climate-friendly conservation practices.
The bill would create a certification program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to connect landowners with USDA-approved third parties that can provide information and technical assistance to help them adopt and verify conservation practices that qualify for carbon credits.
It would also set up an online “one-stop shop” with resources for landowners interested in participating in carbon credit markets.
Conservation measures such as forested streamside buffers, rotational grazing, and cover crops can lower greenhouse gas emissions by sequestering carbon. They also protect the Chesapeake Bay and the creeks, streams, and rivers that feed it from harmful runoff while enriching and regenerating precious topsoil.
Co-sponsoring the bill with Spanberger is Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon. In the Senate, the Agriculture Committee approved the companion bill by Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Mike Braun of Indiana today.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Director of Science and Agricultural Policy Beth McGee said:
“Farmers are essential partners in saving the Chesapeake Bay and slowing climate change. Plans to restore the Bay and its waterways rely heavily on farmers across the watershed adopting conservation measures to reduce polluted runoff.
“Many of these practices provide the added benefit of keeping greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere. Unfortunately, many farmers who want to implement them lack the financial and technical means to do so.
“CBF applauds Rep. Abigail Spanberger for her commitment to making it easier for farmers to participate in carbon markets and earn income for adopting practices that are good for the Bay and help fight climate change.”