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Congressman Neguse Introduces Legislative Package to Invest in Sustainable Agriculture to Fight the Climate Crisis

July 31, 2019
Press Release

Washington D.C. —This week ahead of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis’s first field hearing in Boulder, Colorado, Congressman Joe Neguse introduced a legislative package aimed at combating the climate crisis through sustainable farming practices and soil health. The two bills would provide federal support for sustainable agriculture and soil research through the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AGARDA) program and by directing the National Academies of Science to study the state of soil health on public lands.

“Healthy soils are one of the most potent tools for mitigating climate change. By investing in sustainable farming practices, we ensure effective carbon sequestration to help combat the climate crisis,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “The climate crisis is an existential threat, not only do we need to work towards reducing carbon emissions, but we must also look at restoring and investing in natural methods to take carbon back out of the atmosphere. We must do everything in our power to protect our planet for future generations.” 

“As we look at ways to improve the state of our environment and ensure its sustainability for future generations, we must rely on science to guide our decisions,” said Congressman Curtis. “I am proud to introduce the bipartisan SOIL Act with my friend Representative Neguse, to study the importance of soil health to sequester carbon and be responsible stewards of our federal lands. I am confident the results of this study will help guide land managers and policymakers as we continue to work to find solutions to environmental challenges.”

The first bill, the Sustainable Agriculture Research Act, would amend the legislation authorizing AGARDA (Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority) to add goals that explicitly address carbon sequestration and reduction of emissions. The second bill, the Study on Improving Lands (SOIL) Act would direct the Department of Agriculture and Department of Interior to collaborate with the National Academies of Science on a study on the state of soil health on public lands and determine where there are gaps in knowledge.

“Congressman Neguse’s draft legislation is a critical foundation piece in a comprehensive approach to stabilizing climate,” said Brett KenCairn, Senior Policy Advisor for Climate and Resilience for the City of Boulder. “The recent IPCC 1.5deg report was a wake up call to the essential role of natural sequestration solutions.  The City of Boulder and Boulder County have both launched soil carbon sequestration initiatives designed to accelerate the development of land-based sequestration approaches.  These approaches are especially important because they not only contribute to reducing carbon in the atmosphere, they can also significantly improve local community resilience to climatic extremes. We will need policy support at both the State and National level to take these and other promising sequestration efforts to scale rapidly enough to address the intensifying impacts of climate change.  We are encouraged by Congressman Neguse’s leadership in this area.”

“Rocky Mountain Farmers Union’s grassroots policy supports the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices that enhance environmental quality, and make the most efficient use of nonrenewable and on-farm resources,” said Dr. Dale McCall, President of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. “Our members also prioritize actions to sustain the economic viability of farm operations, enhance the quality of life for farmers and society, and where appropriate, integrate natural biological cycles and controls to protect the resource base on which agriculture depends. RMFU encourages long-term research, development and advancement in production methods focused on soil health. We are encouraged by Representative Neguse’s leadership in addressing these issues with this vital legislation.”