Today, the Co-Chairs of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC)’s Climate and Agriculture Task Force, Rep. Chellie Pingree and Rep. Kim Schrier, released a report on policy recommendations for next year’s reauthorization of the Farm Bill to ensure it is as climate-friendly as possible.
“Increasingly our farmers are experiencing the impacts of climate change firsthand. Every five years Congress has an opportunity to better support our nation’s farmers, but for too long the biggest threat they face has gone unaddressed. That’s why my SEEC colleagues and I are determined to see the next Farm Bill address the climate crisis. Today we’ve outlined a blueprint to advance climate-smart agriculture in the next Farm Bill, and as a member of the House Agriculture Committee I hope to push this plan over the finish line,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. “Since my earliest days in Congress, I have introduced solutions to create a more sustainable food system. The next Farm Bill represents a significant moment for Congress to deliver the urgent resources needed to support farmers dealing with extreme weather and incentivize America’s agriculture sector to take action in the fight against climate change.”
“Farmers and ranchers are at the front lines of the climate crisis as worsening droughts, fires, and floods affect their livelihoods. That’s why it’s so important to use all the tools available to us, including agriculture, to address the climate crisis. As we work on the 2023 Farm Bill, it’s critical that farmers and producers have a seat at the table, especially as we discuss climate smart practices. I’m so excited to release this report today, which lays a critical foundation for how we can incorporate climate smart agriculture moving into the 2023 Farm Bill. The report represents a broad set of ideas and practices, reflecting the diverse agriculture communities in our Task Force,” said Congresswoman Kim Schrier. “Many of our farmers and forest landowners have already developed creative ideas about how to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. I look forward to continuing to elevate the voices of farmers and producers and working with SEEC and the Agriculture Committee to incorporate these recommendations into the Farm Bill.”
Estimates show that in 2020, agriculture accounted for approximately 11 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Because agriculture also holds the potential to sequester significant quantities of carbon, it represents both a major challenge but also opportunity in our efforts to tackle climate change.
With Farm Bill reauthorizations only taking place every five years, it is critical that the upcoming Farm Bill include policies that support climate-related research, foster climate-smart innovation, and empower producers to utilize practices that mitigate climate change.
The recommendations in this report cover a broad array of opportunities within the Farm bill to give farmers and foresters the tools they need to tackle the climate crisis. They are organized into seven major categories: 1) Soil Health & Carbon Sequestration; 2) Food Waste; 3) Electrification; 4) Climate Resilience; 5) Research; 6) Support for Small, Rural, Beginning, and Organic Farms; 7) Forestry and Wildfires.
This report is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all climate-friendly policies and programs that could be or should be considered in the Farm Bill. Rather, it is a list of priorities that the task force members have collectively determined are crucial for inclusion in the final bill.
A link to the report can be found here.
The Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) is a coalition of 81 members of the U.S. House of Representatives that was founded in January 2009 to be a focused, active, and effective coalition for advancing policies that address climate change, promote clean energy innovation and domestic manufacturing, develop renewable energy resources, create good green jobs, protect our nation’s clean air, water and natural environment, and promote environmental justice.
SEEC is Co-Chaired by Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), and Doris Matsui (D-CA).
SEEC Vice-Chairs are Reps. A Donald McEachin (D-VA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), and Mike Quigley (D-IL).