Policy Update: Rep. Pingree’s Ag Resilience Act Released
Today Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced new legislation titled the Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA). The Act sets an ambitious goal of making the agriculture sector carbon-neutral by no later than 2040. It touches on a broad range of issues including farmland protection, soil carbon sequestration, livestock and manure management, on-farm energy use, and reduction of food waste. The Act has already been endorsed by many individuals and organizations, including AFT.
AFT is particularly supportive of the provisions that we worked closely with the office to advance, which include:
- Reducing capital gains tax on agricultural land sold to qualified farmers (new, beginning, disadvantaged, veteran, etc.) who agree to farm the land for at least 10 years (Section 403).
- Strengthening the federal Farmland Protection Policy Act and including special protection for nationally significant, state significant, and eased agricultural land (Section 404).
- Increasing funding for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (Section 405).
By 2040, the Act calls to:
- Quadruple total federal funding for food and agriculture research and extension.
- Restore at least half of lost soil carbon.
- Maintain year-round cover on at least 75 percent of cropland acres.
- Eliminate farmland and grassland conversion.
- Establish advanced grazing management on 100 percent of grazing land.
- Reduce GHG emissions related to the feeding of ruminants by at least 50 percent.
- Increase crop-livestock integration by at least 100 percent over 2017 levels.
- Convert at least two thirds of wet manure handling and storage to alternative management.
- Implement energy audits on 100 percent of farms.
- Triple on-farm renewable energy production.
- Reduce food waste by at least 75 percent.
The bill is not expected to pass through Congress. However, many of the ideas that it introduces are likely to be considered as part of the upcoming climate policy recommendations from the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis (expected in March 2020) as well as forthcoming legislation, such as the next Farm Bill.