4/22/21 • Sustainability

The Growing Climate Solutions Act Helps Advance Sustainability in Agriculture

April 21, 2021

By Justin Maroccia

Justin Maroccia

The global population is growing larger and wealthier with each passing year. To meet this need, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) advocates for sustainable policies that stand to benefit agriculture industry stakeholders across the corn value chain. American agriculture has an essential role to play in the fight against the growing threat of climate change, and CRA is dedicated to advancing policies that can make a difference.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act, recently re-introduced by Senators Mike Braun (R-IN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), is one such piece of legislation. This bill seeks to establish a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) certification system to help farmers and forest landowners participate in carbon credit markets.

The current system is full of confusion and technical barriers to entry for landowners. Improving information for farmers looking to implement practices that capture carbon will help reduce emissions, improve soil health, and make operations more sustainable. This measure falls directly in line with CRA’s Climate Change Policy Principles, which work to guide our industry’s advocacy to ensure a more sustainable future for corn refining, agriculture, and consumers.

In recent years, our nation’s farmers have made great strides towards sustainability – but there is still work to be done. Currently, serious technical and logistical entry barriers prevent American farmers and foresters from participating fully in carbon credit markets. Farmers often lack information about these complex markets, and they frequently face challenges finding technical assistance providers and agricultural carbon credit verifiers, whose expertise and guidance is essential for market participation.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act will enable the USDA to connect landowners to private companies who can assist them in entering the voluntary carbon credit market. By establishing a Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third Party Verifier Certification Program that allows the USDA to evaluate the credentials of these assistance providers and verifiers, farmers, foresters and ranchers will gain access to a pool of trusted professional advisors who can ensure that carbon sequestration protocols are implemented in accordance with federal guidelines.

This will help us address climate challenges head-on, and give farmers the added benefit of pursuing a new source of income – something needed in rural America more than ever before in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Importantly, this legislation is designed to serve the farmers who produce agricultural commodities like corn, representing an acknowledgement from leading policymakers that American agriculture is a crucial player in the fight against climate change. We encourage leaders to tackle more issues that farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness face by introducing policies in accordance with CRA’s Climate Change Policy Principles, finding solutions that are stringent but workable across a range of important environmental issues, including air quality, water quality, and pollution prevention.

CRA applauds the bipartisan group of lawmakers who have introduced the Growing Climate Solutions Act, and we look forward to working with these Senate leaders to advance policies that support American agriculture and protect our environment.