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Joni Ernst

04/20/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/20/2021 17:17

Ernst, Grassley Join Bipartisan Effort to Help Iowa Farmers Enter Carbon Credit Markets, Capitalize on their Commitment to Conservation

Building on their work to recognize Iowa farmers' commitment to conservation and responsible land stewardship, U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are helping lead a bipartisan effort, the Growing Climate Solutions Act, which would create a certification program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help solve technical entry barriers for farmer and forest landowners interested in entering carbon credit markets.

'Iowa's hardworking farmers continue to lead the way on conservation, and they've already made tremendous strides in practicing responsible stewardship of their land and farm while promoting a clean environment,' said Senator Ernst, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. 'Carbon credit markets provide our ag community with an avenue to capitalize on their ongoing commitment to sustainable farming, and it's critical that we dissolve any obstacles standing in the way of this untapped potential. That's why I'm proud to support this bipartisan effort to reduce barriers for Iowa farmers looking to enter carbon credit markets and adopt climate-smart conservation practices.'

'Iowa farmers continue to lead the way in conservation measures that help the environment and have also proven to sequester carbon,' Grassley said. 'This is a commonsense bill that will remove barriers to entry for farmers interested in participating in the carbon marketplace. I'm proud to join my colleagues in introducing this important bipartisan legislation that will continue to support these responsible farming efforts.'

'Iowa pig farmers take great pride in their environmental stewardship practices. They are committed to the long-term protection of Iowa's natural resources. Thanks to continuing advancements in nutrition, genetics, and overall animal care, Iowa pig farmers are doing more with less. We appreciate this bipartisan effort to assist the private sector in setting guidance, standards, and certification to recognize the hard work being done by Iowa pig farmers to reduce their carbon footprint. We would like to thank Senators Ernst and Grassley for their leadership on this important issue and look forward to passage of this legislation,' Drew Mogler, Public Policy Director at Iowa Pork producers Association said.

'The Iowa Soybean Association is a strong supporter of voluntary, market and outcomes-based solutions that recognize farmers' roles as suppliers of ecosystem services. By incorporating climate-smart conservation practices, farmers can optimize production, improve water quality and resiliency, and store carbon in their soils for future generations. The Growing Climate Solutions Act provides a clearer pathway for carbon market participation. As farmers navigate weather challenges and changing climate, we are grateful to Senators Ernst and Grassley for continuing to champion legislation that ensures farmers have a seat at the table and empowers them to diversify income streams through innovative solutions that incentivize positive environmental outcomes.' ISA President Jeff Jorgenson (Farmer, Sidney, IA).

Background:

The Growing Climate Solutions Act would create a certification program at USDA to help solve technical entry barriers to farmer and forest landowner participation in carbon credit markets, including access to reliable information about markets, qualified technical service providers, and protocol verifiers. The bill would also:
  • Establish the Greenhouse Gas Technical Service Provider and Third-Party Verifier Certification Program, allowing USDA to provide transparency, legitimacy, and informal endorsement of third party verifiers.
  • Guide USDA to publish protocols and standards for existing carbon credit markets widely used across agriculture and forestry and help connect landowners to private sector actors who can assist them with implementing the protocols and monetizing the climate value of their sustainable practices.
  • Instruct USDA to produce a report to Congress to advise about the further development of this policy area, including but not limited to, barriers to market entry, challenges raised by farmers and forest landowners, and market performance.

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