Senate passes bill with ag carbon credit incentives  

The Senate on June 24 passed a bipartisan bill that provides incentives for agriculture producers to use carbon credit markets by offering government certification and verification.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act, passed by a 92-8 vote, proposes a certification program led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to mitigate technical entry barriers to farmer and forest landowner participation in carbon credit markets. 

“Farmers have always led the way on protecting our environment, and the Growing Climate Solutions Act helps them get paid for their sustainable practices through voluntary carbon credit markets,” said Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., a key sponsor of the legislation. 

The measure (S. 1251), sponsored by Braun and Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and co-sponsored by 52 bipartisan senators, directs USDA to establish a Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Certification Program. 

“Our bill is a perfect example of how we can work across the aisle and find common ground to address a critical issue affecting all of us and our future,” Stabenow said. 

During the floor debate, senators rejected an amendment from Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, that would have removed the USDA certification program. 

Braun and Stabenow noted that more than 175 organizations and companies representing food, agriculture, forestry and conservation supported the legislation. But it may face resistance from some House Republicans. 

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, criticized the Senate’s bill as “a big-government solution in search of a problem,” adding that Congress should explore the consequences of involving the federal government in voluntary carbon markets.
House Agriculture Committee members Reps. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., and Don Bacon, R-Neb., have introduced a companion bill (H.R. 2820) in the House.