The House Democrats’ climate change committee released an ambitious framework for slashing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition says those plans include agriculture playing a key role in the goal.
The emission cutting would be achieved in part by ramping up conservation programs for ag producers that cover just a fraction of the country’s farmland. The plan will be pushing a lot more money into “climate-smart” agricultural practices, such as making climate adaptation and mitigation a specific goal of federal farm policy. Other steps include creating a “Climate-Based Producer” certification for farmers, as well as developing feed additives that can lower methane emissions from livestock farms.
The Sustainable Ag Coalition applauds the committee for “acknowledging agriculture’s critical role in mitigating the climate crisis in their report.” Not all groups were as optimistic. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs, Ethan Lane responded to the report saying:
“The report released by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis is unfortunately the product of partisan discussions that failed to encompass important constituent communities across the country. NCBA is committed to working with Congress to find real solutions that set us on a path toward long-term environmental and economic sustainability.”
“All segments of the beef supply chain – ranchers, feeders, haulers, processors, and retailers – play a necessary role in ensuring that beef consumption is a climate solution. Every cattle producer plays a role in cattle’s positive climate impact. Pasture-based operations cultivate healthy soil to improve carbon storage, grazing reduces fine fuels that contribute to catastrophic wildfire that causes significant air pollution and long-term damage to soil and water health, and advancements in feed efficiency directly reduce methane emissions. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, methane from beef cattle accounts for only 2% of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions while providing a host of opportunities for improved carbon storage in landscapes across the country.”
“NCBA will continue working to ensure that all segments of the beef supply chain are recognized for their beneficial contributions and do not face punitive measures that unfairly or inaccurately target domestic food and fiber production. Voluntary, inventive-based conservation is the most fruitful path to conserving America’s agricultural land through increased adoption of sustainable management practices. Consistent, achievable conservation goals ensure that all farmers and ranchers, regardless of size or segment, have the necessary resources to continue producing the world’s safest beef.”