On February 26th, Representative Chellie Pingree (ME-01) introduced the Agriculture Resilience Act (H.R. 5861). This bill sets ambitious goals for reaching net zero emissions from agriculture by 2040 and would provide much-needed resources for farmers and ranchers as they work to reduce their carbon emissions and sequester carbon in their soils.
Congresswoman Pingree, who is herself an organic farmer, introduced the bill with an eye towards being practical, science-driven, and farmer-focused. The Agriculture Resilience Act includes titles focusing on research, soil health, farmland preservation and farm viability, pasture-based livestock, on-farm renewable energy, and food waste.
The National Young Farmers Coalition recognizes the urgent need for Congress to meet the climate crisis head-on, and for climate policy that acknowledges the exceptional climate leadership capability of our young farmers. The Agriculture Resilience Act aims to meet these goals by:
- Increasing Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) funding to $3 billion starting in 2024 (up from $2.025 billion).
- Increasing Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) funding to $2 billion in 2021, stair-stepped up to $4 billion starting in 2024 (up from $725 million).
- Increasing Agricultural Conservation Easement Program funding to $700 million starting in 2022 (up from $450 million).
- Increasing the beginning and socially disadvantaged farmer and rancher set-aside in EQIP and CSP to 30 percent of funding combined (up from 5 percent of funding for each).
- Creating a new program to enhance farm viability and expand markets for farm products that significantly improve soil health and carbon sequestration (including assistance with business plans, feasibility studies, marketing strategies, enterprise development, financial recordkeeping, and succession planning).
- Incentivizing the sale of farmland and ranchland to beginning, socially disadvantaged, veteran, and young farmers by excluding some of the proceeds from capital gains taxes.
In response to the bill, the Coalition’s Federal Policy Director, Sanaz Arjomand said, “The National Young Farmers Coalition commends Representative Pingree for introducing a bill to provide support for the many ways that farmers and ranchers can be a part of the solution to the climate crisis. The Agriculture Resilience Act recognizes how vital supporting young farmers and farmers of color is to ensuring that agricultural climate solutions can continue for generations to come.”