Sen. Marshall Op-ed: Agriculture should be in the driver’s seat on carbon policy

Senator Cosponsors Bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act

(Washington, D.C., April 22, 2021) – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. a member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, penned an op-ed for the Washington Times highlighting the productivity of the American farmer and their role in carbon capture. Additionally, Senator Marshall has signed on to the bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act, which will break down barriers for farmers interested in participating in carbon markets so they can be rewarded for climate-smart practices. The bill has broad, bipartisan support from over 60 leading agricultural and environmental organizations. Senator Marshall issued this statement on the Growing Climate Solutions Act:

“Everyone in agriculture understands we have been and will continue to be the solution, not the problem when it comes to ensuring a cleaner, safer, and healthier environment,” said Senator Marshall. “The bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act is completely voluntary and gives farmers the majority seat at the table – after all, they are the original environmentalist. I want to thank Chairwoman Stabenow, Ranking Member Boozman, and Senator Braun for their work on this and for allowing us to give input and make changes to improve this legislation.”

Senator Marshall expanded on this issue in his op-ed, Agriculture should be in the driver’s seat on carbon policy, saying in part, “Farmers and ranchers are the original conservationist and generational farming is on the forefront of every producer’s mind. For nearly every year over the past 50 years, farmers have steadily produced more food and fiber on fewer acres with less water and less nutrient inputs… Agriculture is one of, if not, the only industry that can naturally sequester carbon. And we convert it into high quality food and protein. I see too many companies and regulators trying a top-down approach. They want to make carbon markets that work for businesses at the end of the value chain rather than asking producers what is best for the land they touch every day… We have limited resources to feed, clothe, fuel, and house people. Anything that is proposed must, first and foremost, continue to encourage the efficient and abundant production of such. We must also ensure we can adequately and honestly measure all the good work farmers are currently doing…” You may click HERE to read Senator Marshall’s op-ed in its entirety.

Chairwoman Stabenow, Ranking Member Boozman, and Senator Braun issued these statements following introduction of the Growing Climate Solutions Act

“Addressing the climate crisis is one of the most urgent challenges we face and our farmers and foresters are an important part of the solution,” said Senator Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. “The bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act is a win-win for farmers, our economy and for our environment. Our bill is a perfect example of how we can work across the aisle and find common ground to address a critical issue affecting all of us and our future.”

“I appreciate the collaborative approach Chairwoman Stabenow and Senator Braun took in developing this bill. As a result of their hard work and their openness to input, the Growing Climate Solutions Act is poised to help our farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners benefit from becoming a greater part of our climate solution. American agriculture has already made great strides in reducing its environmental footprint while growing even more efficient. The Growing Climate Solutions Act will help empower farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners to build on that progress in a manner that rewards them for their efforts,” said Senator Boozman, Ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

“As a Main Street entrepreneur and conservationist, I know firsthand that if we want to address our changing climate then we need to facilitate real solutions that our farmers, environmentalists, and industry can all support, which this bill accomplishes by breaking down barriers for farmers and foresters interested in participating in carbon markets so they can be rewarded for climate-smart practices,” said Senator Braun.


The Growing Climate Solutions Act creates a certification program at USDA to help solve technical entry barriers that prevent 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 that help reduce the costs of developing carbon credits.

This, bill establishes a Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Certification Program through which is a completely voluntary program where 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. The USDA certification program will put guardrails on carbon credit markets and will ensure that these assistance providers have agriculture and forestry expertise, which is lacking in the current marketplace. As part of the program, USDA will administer a new website, which will serve as a “one stop shop” of information and resources for producers and foresters who are interested in participating in carbon markets.

Through the program, USDA will help connect landowners to private sector actors who can assist the landowners in implementing the protocols and monetizing the climate value of their sustainable practices. Third party entities, certified under the program, will be able to claim the status of a “USDA Certified” technical assistance provider or verifier. 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.

Today, many third-party groups are developing protocols and testing methods to calculate emissions reduction and sequestration in agriculture and forestry. The landscape is evolving rapidly. The Growing Climate Solutions Act recognizes this fact and provides the Secretary with a robust advisory council composed of a majority of farmers and forest landowners in addition to other agriculture experts, scientists, producers, and others. The advisory council shall advise the Secretary and ensure that the certification program remains relevant, credible, and responsive to the needs of farmers, forest landowners, and carbon market participants alike.

Finally, the bill instructs USDA to produce a report to Congress to advise about the further development of this policy area including: barriers to market entry, challenges raised by farmers and forest landowners, market performance, and suggestions on where USDA can make a positive contribution to the further adoption of voluntary carbon sequestration practices in agriculture and forestry. It also has a sunset of 2026 to allow congress to address any shortfalls.