Farmers understand better than anyone how a shift in the weather can change everything in the blink of an eye, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said on Wednesday in her opening statement at the legislative hearing to review the Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2020.
“Unfortunately, the climate crisis has caused these extremes to happen more and more often,” Stabenow said before the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing. “While farmers are uniquely affected by the climate crisis, they are also an important part of the solution. With the right support, our producers can cut down on their emissions and benefit from the adoption of practices to store more carbon in soil and trees. This is good for the environment and good for a farmer’s bottom line.”
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) expressed their commitment to environmental sustainability and their support of the Growing Climate Solutions Act. The legislation creates important elements needed to support a private carbon credit offset market, NPPC said in a release.
The bill would reward current and future contributions by pig farmers and other sectors of agriculture to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"U.S. pork producers, who have been at the forefront of environmental sustainability, are committed to the long-term protection of our country's natural resources," NPPC President Howard "AV" Roth, a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wis., said in a release. "Thanks to continuous on-farm improvements in nutrition, genetics and overall pig care, U.S. pork producers are doing more with less.”
The legislation, introduced by Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), directs the USDA to create a program to provide transparency, legitimacy and informal endorsement of third-party verifiers and technical service providers that help private landowners generate carbon credits through a variety of agriculture and forestry related practices.
“This bipartisan effort will help give the private sector the standards and certifications needed to recognize and reward the important work being done by U.S. hog farmers to reduce our carbon footprint,” Roth said in a release. “We thank the senators for their leadership and look forward to passage of this important legislation."
According to EPA, the production of U.S. pork is responsible for only 0.3% of all agriculture greenhouse gas emissions in the country. Likewise, according to a 2019 study by the National Pork Board, U.S. pig farmers have used 75.9% less land, 25.1% less water and 7% less energy since 1960. This also has resulted in a 7.7% smaller carbon footprint.
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