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.
With farmers on the front lines of climate-related events such as wildfire, flooding, drought, pests, and other threats to both natural resources and farm business, investing in practices that increase the natural and economic resilience of our farmland is critical. Farmers have been leading the way on land stewardship and soil health for decades. However, the economics of a highly trade-exposed industry in which producers cannot set their prices demand this investment now, and at a scale that enables meaningful impact.
About Carbon Washington
Carbon Washington’s vision is for net-zero carbon emissions and a prosperous, healthy future. Its mission is to increase the demand for climate action and fight for smart carbon policies. By focusing on effective, efficient, equitable, and economically viable climate solutions, we promote programs and policies that are supported by diverse stakeholders from across the political spectrum and can set an example for national and global action. Learn more at https://carbonwa.org/.
Executive Director, Carbon Washington