October 2021 Congressional Insights
RIPE tracks the ins and outs of the Congressional Hill policy landscape, focusing on how to create a bipartisan policy that works for farmers and the climate. Here are some insights we’ve gained along the way:
- House and Senate ag leaders add $28 billion for conservation agriculture to the reconciliation package, but the proposal doesn’t cover policy costs, so farmers and the public deserve a better deal. While RIPE applauds legislators for elevating the conversation around the positive impact farmers have on climate and supports increased investment in conservation practices, we believe the programs outlined don’t do enough for farmers. At just $25 per acre for cover crops, the reconciliation plan, along with current stewardship and carbon plans, do not pay farmers for the total value of their environmental contributions — since cover crops deliver over $100/acre in environmental benefits. Nor do payments cover increased input costs due to climate policy.RIPE believes farmers shouldn’t sacrifice their own livelihood to participate in stewardship practices. That’s why the RIPE100 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.
- Senators and Congressional reps like the RIPE concept! But they need to hear from farmers before they advance it. 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 stay engaged. The infrastructure bill framework that advanced with bipartisan support 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. As a result, we expect to see a renewed push for a comprehensive climate policy in the next couple of years. 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? Talk with our Ag Outreach team to help shape the RIPE100 policy and learn about how to build support within your organization.