AFT Praises Senate Agriculture Committee Hearing on Agriculture and Climate
American Farmland Trust congratulates the Senate Agriculture Committee on their hearing “Farmers and Foresters: Opportunities to Lead in Tackling Climate Change.” The hearing, in combination with the House Agriculture Committee’s recent climate hearing, shows mounting bipartisan, bicameral support towards engaging the agriculture and forestry sectors in delivering climate solutions.
The hearing focused on how the federal government could best encourage farmers, ranchers, and foresters to adopt climate-friendly practices that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon into healthy soils. The overwhelming advice from the witnesses was that the government needed to develop and support additional incentives for producers to encourage broader practice adoption. Witnesses also voiced strong support for additional technical assistance, increased funding for existing federal conservation programs, and the necessity of bringing farmers to the table.
These testimonies align with what AFT has heard from farmers and ranchers across the nation – that in order to do this critical work, they first need incentives and on-the-ground support. As part of this effort, AFT has been working on numerous fronts to make regenerative agriculture a reality. AFT’s recent report highlights the effectiveness of no-till and cover crops in sequestering carbon, as well as improving overall soil health and water quality. The report’s sequestration and greenhouse gas reduction estimates were generated using the CaRPE tool which was developed by AFT in partnership with the USDA Agricultural Research Service.
Last fall, AFT’s Dr. Jen Moore, Climate Initiative Director, testified for the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis on the ability of regenerative agricultural practices to address climate change. In AFT’s transition recommendations to the new Administration, AFT proposed a National Cover Crop Initiative to enable more farmers to reap the benefits of the practice on their land. AFT has also been engaging in groundbreaking work with female non-operating landowners across the country to encourage their tenants to adopt regenerative practices. Finally, AFT has been supportive of proposed legislation to help develop the infrastructure necessary to create market-based incentives, such as the Growing Climate Solutions Act, introduced by Senators Braun (R-IN), Stabenow (D-MI), Graham (R-SC), and Whitehouse (D-RI).
AFT is grateful to the panelists for their clear and compelling messages, and applauds the Committee’s bipartisan recognition that farmers, ranchers, and other land stewards are critical allies in fighting climate change. We look forward to working on both sides of the aisle to achieve lasting solutions.