Farm Bureau, along with other agricultural organizations, applauded last week’s introduction of the Growing Climate Solutions Act in the U.S. Senate. The bipartisan measure is designed to create a certification program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help solve the technical entry barriers for farmers interested in marketing carbon credits.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act builds on the strong foundation of environmental stewardship in American ag­­riculture and will provide more clarity and guidance for farmers and ranchers as they explore or expand participation in carbon markets, said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). “This bill is evidence lawmakers can come together in a bipartisan manner to find solutions to environmental challenges while respecting the role of farmers and ranchers as they feed families around the globe,” he said.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act was also applauded by the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, which the Iowa Farm Bureau

Federation joined recently. The Growing Climate Solutions Act, the group said, would ensure that farms of all sizes interested in entering the carbon market have access to reliable information, qualified technical service providers and third-party verifiers.

Iowa Sens. Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst were both co-sponsors of the measure, which was led by Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Indiana Sen. Mike Braun. In addition, the measure was co-sponsored by Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas, ranking member of the Ag Committee.

“Iowa farmers continue to lead the way in conservation measures that help the environment and have also proven to sequester carbon,” Grassley said in a news release. “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.”

Ernst said carbon credit markets provide the ag community with an avenue to capitalize on their ongoing commitment to sustainable farming. “It’s critical that we dissolve any obstacles standing in the way of this untapped potential,” she said in a news release.

Under the proposed Growing Climate Solutions Act, the USDA would be directed to create a “one-stop shop” for farmers interested in selling carbon credits. The site would provide contacts to USDA-certified entities to set up carbon credit contracts.

The act would also establish a certification program for the buyers of carbon credits. It would also certify the third-party verifiers of carbon credits to help provide transparency and legitimacy to programs.

The measure would direct the USDA to organize an advisory council, made up of farmers, conservationists, scientists and others, to keep the agriculture secretary and department updated on new developments in carbon markets.