Last month, Congressman Mike Lawler and Representative Elissa Slotkin introduced a new bill, the Conservation and Regenerative Optimization Practices (CROP) for Farming Act. The goal of the CROP for Farming Act is to reduce nitrous oxide and methane emissions.
Furthermore, it promotes carbon sequestration, also known as “carbon farming,” to take carbon from the air and store it in the soil. By doing so, farmers can prevent the carbon from becoming carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, thereby reducing our carbon footprint. Lawler, who represents Rockland in the House of Representatives, shared his goals in regards to the bill in a conversation with the RCT this week.
“Reducing methane and nitrous oxide emissions represents an opportunity for innovation while simultaneously helping make farmers and ranchers a larger part of a climate solution,” said Lawler. “Our collective responsibility is to ensure that we leave a healthy planet for our children and grandchildren.”
Lawler aims to make the reduction of our carbon footprint a priority for the Conservation Incentive Contracts, pointing out that “only 23 percent of EQIP payments were for practices that mitigated climate change” between 2017 and 2023. The CROP for Farming Act will ensure that America’s farmers who take steps to conserve their lands are supported in their efforts.
While many farmers are already taking steps towards minimizing their carbon footprint, the CROP for Farming Act goes a step further by providing additional funding to the farmers who choose to adopt these eco-friendly practices.
“I think the number one criticism of this legislation is that many farmers are already tackling climate change and working to find ways to reduce emissions, so why spend money on something that’s already happening?” said Lawler. “However, this bill does not force farmers to adopt these practices, instead it uses Conservation Incentive Contracts, which are short-term contracts that offer financial assistance to farmers who adopt conservation management practices on their farms and report on their projects.”
The CROP for Farming Act also makes environmentally friendly practices and farming techniques more accessible. Due to the nature of the bill, farmers can count on flexibility and a smooth transition in adopting carbon sequestering as one of their agricultural strategies.
“Under the bill, farmers and ranchers would still have the ability to choose additional priority resource concerns to access this whole-of-farm, comprehensive program,” said Lawler. “Specifically, it streamlines the process for farmers who want to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adopt new practices voluntarily.”
Furthermore, Lawler shared that the bill can further motivate others. “We need to balance environmental protection with incentivizing industries to push for innovative solutions to climate change, and the CROP for Farming Act does exactly that,” he said.
Lawler continues to work on improving understanding of carbon sequestration. He stresses the importance of taking action, stating, “I understand the need to preserve and protect our many parks, open spaces, and waterways by tackling climate change. As a member of the Conservative Climate Caucus and the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, I am committed to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find common-sense solutions to protect our environment for future generations,” said Lawler.