October 2021 Congressional Insights

RIPE tracks the Congressional policy landscape, and is focused on developing key relationships with policymakers to help them create policy that works for farmers. Here are recent insights we’ve gained.

  • House and Senate Democratic ag leaders added $28 billion for conservation agriculture to the reconciliation package, but the proposal doesn’t cover policy costs.  Farmers and the public need a better deal. While RIPE applauds legislators for recognizing the positive impact farmers have on climate and supports increased investment in conservation practices, there is more work to be done to educate on what farmers need.At just $25 per acre for cover crops, the reconciliation plan, and current stewardship and carbon plans are not an acknowledgement of the actual value of farmers’ environmental contributions— which we know for  cover crops is  over $100/acre in environmental benefits delivered. Nor do payments cover increased input costs due to climate policy. That’s why RIPE’s policy plan would pay farmers a reasonable return at $100 per acre to reflect the value to society for carbon, soil health, water quality plus cover increased costs due to climate policy.
  • Members of Congress like the RIPE concept! But they need to hear from farmers before they will act. We’ve engaged over a dozen Congressional leaders in both parties, and about 80% love the core concepts we’re advancing. They’ve called it “politically promising and refreshing” for bipartisan potential and have said the policy “checks all of our boxes and achieves many of our goals.” However, almost all said that, in order to move forward, they need to hear from farmers and farm associations. As a result, we’re focused on spreading the word about this exciting opportunity to those groups. The doors in Congress are open — now we need farmers to step in.
  • Now is the time for farmers to engage. The bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate and awaits House action includes billions of dollars for climate spending, but does not include an agricultural compensation program nor does it include the larger climate policy that many constituents want. We are preparing to see a renewed push for a comprehensive climate policy in the next couple of years, and are poised to be at the center of that conversation. Additionally, the 2023 Farm Bill, along with the Renewable Fuel Standard, will require the voices of farmers and farm advocacy groups. Continued engagement with the climate policy landscape is crucial to influence those major economic and environmental policies.

Are you ready to take action? Learn how you can get involved to help shape RIPE’s policy and learn how to build support within your organization.