Category: Action

Gov. Inslee signs SB5947

This afternoon, Governor Inslee signed SB 5947 into law, officially creating the Sustainable Farms and Fields Program

The product of months of bipartisan collaboration, this voluntary grant program will provide much-needed economic support to WA farmers and ensure that our state remains a leader in climate action as well as agricultural production and innovation. 

Thank you to the many partners and stakeholders that have worked so hard to make this day possible. The collaborative effort that led to the passage of Sustainable Farms and Fields is a powerful example of the type of statewide engagement that is possible and needed to unite WA communities and move forward together toward net zero emissions.

Thank you to the 115 farms and organizations from across the state that signed onto the letter of support for the program. Click on the following links to find out more about a few of these farms: Spoon Full Farm, Living Heritage Farms, and Klickitat Canyon Winery (more…)

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The new grant program will fund carbon sequestration practices in the agricultural community aimed at combating climate change.

Seattle, Washington, March 19, 2020 – With broad, bipartisan support, last week, the Washington State legislature passed Sustainable Farms & Fields (SB 5947). This bill creates a voluntary grant program to support farmers in the implementation of practices that increase the quantity of carbon stored in the land through efficient carbon-reduction and sequestration practices. The bill’s passage marks a significant victory during a short session wherein legislators struggled to find consensus on other much-needed climate legislation.

Initially introduced to the legislature in 2019, Sustainable Farms & Fields is the product of more than twelve months of stakeholder engagement and policy revisions. It is a testament to the legislative process and the potential for greater bipartisan collaboration in ensuring Washington remains a leader in both climate action and agricultural production and innovation. The program has been seeded with $225,000 to create an organizational structure and develop metrics for project evaluation and the grant selection process.

“We are so grateful for all the hard work and collaboration that went into shaping this bill,” said Jessie Martin, the newly appointed executive director of Carbon Washington. “Passing the bill is a great first step, but there is much more work to do to make sure the program is a success and to support Washington farmers at the scale that is needed to see real climate impacts as well as benefits to their bottom lines.”

The bill was supported at its final public hearing by leading agricultural commodity groups, including theWashington branches of the Farm Bureau, Dairy Federation, Wheat Growers Association, Cattleman’s Association, and Potato Commission. The bill was also backed by a coalition of more than 100 farms, food system stakeholders, and environmental/conservation organizations from across the state. Carbon Washington is already working with these partners, as well as others, to expand the program and increase funding in the 2021 legislative budget.

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On Tuesday, March 10, the Sustainable Farms and Fields bill (SB 5947) passed the Washington State legislature! The Senate accepted the amendments that were made in the House with an overwhelming bipartisan majority (63-6).

We are thrilled that many stakeholders in the agriculture sector came to the table to improve the bill and provide resources that farmers need to lead on climate. The collaborative efforts that led to the passage of Sustainable Farms and Fields is a powerful example of the type of state-wide engagement that is possible and needed to move Washington State to net zero emissions.

We are grateful for the partnership of the 115 farms and organizations that signed onto the letter of support for the Sustainable Farms & Fields grant program. Click on the following links to find out more about a few of these farms: Spoon Full Farm, Living Heritage Farms, and Klickitat Canyon Winery. Thank you to all of you for connecting us to farmers in your network and amplifying farmers’ voices by continuing to contact your legislators. Your calls and emails make a difference!

We want to specifically recognize the incredible efforts of volunteers like Melinda McBride, Pauline Druffel, Pat Rasmussen, Warren Neth, and the Carbon Washington advocacy team. Megan Conaway, Cecilia Mirabile, and Matt Stidham promoted grassroots action. Jim Baird, Penny Dex, Jake Stewart, Warren Shoemaker, Lisa Hasselman, Joel Hansen, Steve Ghan, Margaret Homerding, Melissa Spear, and Phyllis Farrell made the trip to Olympia to give powerful testimony at the public hearing. Organizational partners worked to improve the bill and advocate for its passage, including Audubon Washington, The Nature Conservancy, Washington State Farm Bureau, Washington State Dairy Federation, Washington Young Farmers Coalition, Tilth Alliance, Northwest Farmers Union, Faith Action Network, and many others. Thank you! (more…)

On Feb. 7, an exciting coalition of climate organizations, small farmers, and large farm organizations came together to testify in support of a revised version of the Sustainable Farms and Fields bill (SB 5947) in front of the House Rural Development, Agriculture, and Natural Resources committee. (Photo: A diverse panel advocating for SB 5947: the Farm Bureau, the Dairy Commission, CarbonWA, and the Nature Conservancy)

A partial list of the SB 5947 supporters: 

The Nature Conservancy Tilth Alliance Washington State Dairy Federation
Carbon Washington Washington Young Farmer Coalition Washington State Farm Bureau
Washington Farmer Veterans Coalition Washington Association of Wheat Growers Washington Cattleman’s Association
Taylor Shellfish Wilcox Farms And 115 farms and organizations who joined the letter of support

In 2019, SB 5947 did not advance out of the House Rural Development, Agriculture, and Natural Resources committee in part due to concerns from several agricultural stakeholders. Throughout the summer and fall of 2019 Carbon Washington worked with partners to reach out to the farming community to improve the bill and build support for its passage in 2020.

Today, those outreach efforts paid off. At the Feb. 7 public hearing, 81 stakeholders supported the bill, while 0 opposed the bill.

CarbonWA board policy chair Greg Rock talks about prospects for the bill in the latest edition of CarbonCast(more…)

 

by Adam Maxwell and Douglas Ray, PhD

This article appeared in the Seattle Times on Jan. 13, 2020

During a short legislative session, conventional wisdom dictates that only a few small bills will pass into law, most likely on a partisan basis. Our organizations, however, choose not to accept conventional wisdom. As we have in previous legislative sessions, we will continue to work to pass several important climate bills this session while encouraging legislators — both Democrat and Republican — to support policies that protect people and birds from the worst effects of climate change.

Significant progress is possible. We know this because of our state’s tradition of transcending partisanship in the name of conservation. In 2020, elected officials can pass smart policies that reduce emissions in our state, while supporting rural economies.

So, back to that “conventional wisdom.”

Conventional wisdom No. 1: Don’t expect too much in a short legislative session.

While this might make sense in the normal course of things, we aren’t living in “normal times.” The impacts of the climate crisis are clear, here in our backyard and around the world. Audubon’s research shows that if we don’t cut emissions 45% by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by midcentury, two-thirds of North American birds will be vulnerable to extinction. It’s not just the birds that are impacted. Drought, sea-level rise and climatic shifts threaten our whole economy and way of life.

Against this backdrop, we expect legislators to advance effective climate policy, every single year. (more…)

The 2020 legislative session began on January 13th. It is a short 60-day session so Carbon Washington staff, board members, volunteers, and supporters have been working hard to lay the groundwork to advance important climate legislation.

Sustainable Farms and Fields Progress

Over 75 farms, food systems stakeholders, and environmental organizations from across the state have endorsed the Sustainable Farms and Fields campaign. This strong support underscores that effective climate policy can also benefit farm businesses and rural communities. Read this article to find out why Spoon Full Farm, a farm in Thorp, Washington, has endorsed Sustainable Farms and Fields and how they sequester carbon, improve fertility, and build healthy soil.

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Spoon Full Farm has endorsed Sustainable Farms and Fields

We expect that the Sustainable Farms and Fields bill (SB 5947) will be reintroduced in the Senate early in the legislative session. Now is a great time to call your state Senator to express your support for the bill and ask them to pass effective climate solutions, including SB 5947, that benefit communities across Washington State. (more…)

Over $5,000 raised toward our $7,500 match!

Give now to double your gift!

Thanks to over 25 donors who have helped us raise over $5,300 towards our $7,500 match to support our Sustainable Farms Campaign! You can help by donating now to help us hit our match. Funds raised go towards supporting our Sustainable Farms staff (meet Noa!), growing our coalition, lobbying in Olympia for the passage of SB 5947, and building broader awareness through events, like an upcoming presentation in Spokane at Forza Coffee at 5 pm on 10/24 and media (like The Washington Wire). Your gift goes directly to a lean, mean campaign for bipartisan legislation that will. cut. carbon. emissions.

More farms join our coalition!

Since our last newsletter, we have launched a sign-on letter for farms, environmental organizations, and other partners to sign in order to demonstrate the growing support for SB 5947 and climate-friendly farming practices broadly. Almost immediately, 7 farm or farming organizations joined us. We expect many more to join us in the coming months ahead of the next legislative session. You can help by sharing the attached letter with farms, farming and food organizations, environmental groups, and businesses so they can sign on. To officially sign on, please send an email to Noa@carbonwa.org demonstrating an appropriate officer of the organization approves of signing the letter and include a logo. (more…)

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Will You Invest in Climate-Friendly Farming Today?

CarbonWA’s campaign for climate-friendly farms and ranches needs your help!

Last legislative session SB 5947, a bill to support climate-friendly farming, moved through the Senate with bipartisan support led by Senators McCoy (D) and Schoesler (R). Senate Bill 5947 is the first step towards Carbon Washington’s goal of supporting our farming economy while maximizing the potential to use farm and prairie lands to fight climate change. You can learn more about the bill here and here. A CarbonWA supporter just offered to increase our matching amount from $5,000 to $7,500 to support this campaign. Please give today to help us take full advantage of the match!

A donor stepped up to increase the match from $5,000 to $7,500!

Can you give now?

(21 Acres Farm hosted CarbonWA at their fall harvest celebration)

We are already making progress! (more…)

Noa Kay is joining CarbonWA as sustainable farms campaign manager.

Noa earned masters degrees in Education and Public Health and has over 16 years of experience working as an educator and public policy researcher. Throughout her career, Noa has worked collaboratively with families, stakeholders, partner organizations, and elected officials. Recently, Noa’s commitment to improving both human and environmental health led her to launch a small no-till vegetable farm. She spends her time outside of work hiking, trail running, and cooking.

“We’re thrilled that Noa is part of our team,” says Kyle Murphy, CarbonWA executive director. “She brings the right mix of background experience in public policy, hands-on farming experience, and strong communication skills to the position.

“Noa will lead our coalition in a broad outreach and education effort to showcase the potential of climate-friendly farming practices. She will also work with our lobbying team to steward SB 5947 to success in 2020.” SB 5947 establishes a sustainable farms and fields grant program.

Other CarbonWA members, including Policy Chair Greg Rock, CarbonWA Vice Chair Peter Kelly, Melinda McBride and the broader advocacy and communication teams will continue to provide support on the sustainable farming campaign.

Adds Murphy: “We are especially grateful to the donors, large and small, who helped to make this hire happen!”

Will You Invest in Climate-Friendly Farms Today?

CarbonWA’s campaign for sustainable, climate-friendly farms and ranches needs your help!

Last legislative session SB 5947 moved through the Senate with bipartisan support led by Senators McCoy (D) and Schoesler (R) and testimony in support from many in the farming community. However, after passing the Senate the bill stalled in the House for reasons discussed here. Senate Bill 5947 is the first step towards Carbon Washington’s goal of supporting our farming economy while maximizing the potential to use farm and prairie lands to fight climate change. You can learn more about the bill here and here.

To get the bill over the finish line, we are launching a campaign to cultivate interest among farmers and rural communities while collecting input to perfect the bill for 2020’s legislative session. As a first step, we have hired a campaign manager to spearhead our work to build support and awareness in the farming community. We’ve raised roughly $30,000, but are short of our fundraising goal to support other critical elements like rural outreach coordinators, media support, lobbying and more.

That’s why the CarbonWA Board is matching gifts up to $5,000!

The beauty of focusing on farmland is that we can tackle climate change and help our farmers and improve our land for wildlife. We can reduce the fertilizer use which leads to algae blooms, help farmers buy new equipment that reduces air pollution, and store more carbon in our soils — which leads to increased yields and microbial activity. (more…)