Family Farm Action has come out in opposition to the Growing Climate Solutions Act, reintroduced this week by Senator Stabenow (D-MI), because it will create more opportunity for agribusiness corporations to consolidate their wealth and political power and offer little incentive for climate-friendly practices. Family Farm Action would not oppose a carbon credit market, but only under the condition that all farmers and ranchers, regardless of operation size, can equitably participate and be rewarded for their role in mitigating climate change.
Under the Growing Climate Solutions Act, the agribusinesses positioned to buy, sell, or regulate carbon credits already hold monopolistic control of global agricultural markets. Without strong, preemptive antitrust protections, a carbon credit program would pay these agribusinesses for their pollution, compounding the already-substantial challenges they pose to the food system and the planet.
If a carbon credit market is to be developed and implemented, Family Farm Action stipulates that it must:
- Include strong, preemptive, antitrust safeguards.
- Establish the USDA’s ARS and ERS as joint regulators of a carbon bank, as opposed to third-party companies.
- Ensure equitable access for independent farmers and ranchers.
- Be implemented only after formally disincentivizing agribusiness practices that produce high levels of greenhouse gasses. One acceptable example would be to bar CAFO manure from EQIP eligibility.
“You don’t have to look far to see that the same agribusinesses who stand to benefit the most from generating carbon credits also have a hand in the companies buying and selling credits to third parties. We don’t need legislation that will encourage agribusiness to consolidate more wealth,” said Jake Davis, Senior Policy Advisor for Family Farm Action. “Farmers, ranchers, and rural communities are already skeptical of federal climate legislation. An act that would actually pay CAFOs for polluting rural communities won’t address climate issues, it will further embolden the same bad actors who are causing the issues in the first place. Farmers and ranchers can be a part of the climate solution, so let’s incentivize that instead.”
Family Farm Action will continue to support legislation that fosters a sustainable and equitable food system, including the Farm System Reform Act, Climate Stewardship Act, and the Agricultural Resilience Act. The organization stands ready to work with Senator Stabenow and other co-sponsors of this legislation to provide policy recommendations that will ensure an effective, equitable carbon market.
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