Posted on February 2, 2023 at 8:41 AM by Stewardship Advocate
The Growing Climate Solutions Act was recently passed into law as part of the Omnibus bill that has been signed by the President. It creates a program at USDA to help solve technical entry barriers to farmer and forest landowner participation in carbon credit markets. These issues – including access to reliable information about markets and access to qualified technical assistance providers and credit protocol verifiers – have limited both landowner participation and the adoption of practices to help reduce the costs of developing carbon credits. The bill directs USDA to conduct an assessment of existing agriculture carbon credit markets to create a record of data at USDA concerning the size of these markets, the demand for agriculture and forestry credits, barriers to producer entry, and the potential role of USDA programs to resolve these barriers to entry. Through this program, USDA will be able 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.
Through the program, USDA will help connect landowners to the private sector who can assist landowners in implementing the protocols and monetizing the climate value of their sustainable practices. The USDA certification lowers barriers to entry in the credit markets by reducing confusion and improving information for farmers looking to implement practices that capture carbon, reduce emissions, improve soil health and make operations more sustainable.
Specific features of the Bill:
Purpose: 1) Facilitate participation of farmers in voluntary environmental credit markets; 2) facilitate technical assistance to farmers to remove barriers to participation; 3) assist entities in certifying under the Program; and 4) establish an Advisory Council to advise the Secretary within 90 days.
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