Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by AFBF President Zippy Duvall on The Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2020Wed, 24 Jun 2020 10:10:33 CDT
Chairman Roberts, Ranking Member Stabenow, and other members of the committee, I want to begin my testimony by thanking you for everything you’ve done to help America’s farmers and ranchers get through such a difficult time, with the market disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic coming on top of an already-distressed farm economy.
Keeping our farmers and ranchers in production is vital to our food security and our national security, as the members of this committee know. Thank you for supporting measures to assist farm businesses.
At the same time farmers and ranchers work hard to keep food on our plates, they continue to make great strides in sustainability-which brings me to the topic of today’s hearing.
I would like to provide just a snapshot of agriculture’s leadership in sustainable farming practices.
· American agriculture accounts for less than 10 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions-far less than transportation, electricity generation and other industry sectors.
· Total carbon sink efforts from forestland management, land converted to forests, grasslands, and management of wetlands more than offset agriculture’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
· Farmers continue to produce more food, fiber and energy with more efficiency than our parents and grandparents did. Over two generations, we’ve increased productivity 270 percent, without using more resources. In fact, we would have needed nearly 100 million MORE acres in 1990 to match 2018 production levels.
Our advancements in sustainability are due to adoption of technologies. And they are due to farmers’ overwhelming participation in voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs.
As we continue to navigate trade challenges and the economic impacts of COVID-19, America’s farmers and ranchers are facing difficult headwinds. Yet, we remain committed to SMART farming.
Whether our farms were passed on to us from our parents or whether we started them ourselves, our farms and our land are our heritage.
Every farmer I know wants to leave the land, air and water, as well as our farm and ranch businesses, in better condition than we found them.
To achieve that goal, Congress must protect agriculture from undue burdens and respect farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to innovate and solve problems.
And, we must work with Congress to explore new markets and new opportunities for agriculture.
Farm Bureau’s grassroots-developed policy supports market-based incentives and compensation to farmers for planting crops or adopting farming practices that keep carbon in the soil. That is why we welcome opportunities to participate in emerging carbon markets.
We also recognize that a number of companies, coalitions and consortiums are working to develop carbon market exchanges or programs. Rather than allowing it to become the Wild West, we support empowering USDA to help farmers navigate this new frontier.
The Growing Climate Solutions Act would create a certification program at USDA to help solve technical barriers to participation in carbon credit markets… for farmers and forest landowners.
The bill also would provide the Secretary of Agriculture with an advisory council made up of agriculture experts, scientists, producers, and others -- to ensure the certification program works for all participants.
The Growing Climate Solutions Act seeks to provide more clarity and guidance for farmers and ranchers who want to provide the ecosystem services that more and more consumers and businesses are demanding. This builds upon American agriculture’s strong foundation of environmental stewardship and innovation.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding today’s hearing. I would be pleased to answer any questions the committee might have.
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