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Iowa’s ag community, clean energy workers count on Congress

Iowa’s farmers and agricultural communities and the clean energy industry have all been devastated by the COVID-19 shutdown. We need some real leadership in Washington if we are going to get clean energy workers back to work while supporting the economic recovery for agricultural producers as well as the rest of our nation.

That’s one reason I was pleased to see a bipartisan group of senators introduce the Growing Climate Solutions Act. This bill would help many of the farming communities I work with while at the same time advancing agricultural sustainability. The fact that it has the support of environmental organizations as well as national agriculture groups like the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association and National Pork Producers Council should speak loudly to all members of Iowa’s congressional delegation.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act creates a certification process by which the USDA can solve technical barriers to entry for farmers and forest landowners to participate in the private, voluntary carbon credit markets. This legislation establishes a program which would provide transparency, legitimacy and the certified endorsement of third-party verifiers allowing private landowners and farmers to generate carbon credits through a variety of smart-agriculture practices. By developing and managing a process-oriented USDA website, certifying technical assistance providers and certifying third-party verifiers, farmers who voluntarily opt into the pre-existing carbon credit market may easily, safely and securely participate in the market.

This bill is a welcome development considering the absence of support for clean energy industries and jobs in its legislative response to the COVID-19 shutdown so far. Considering the impact clean energy has on our environment and our economy here in Iowa — particularly with Iowa being a leader in biofuels and wind energy – this should be a top priority for our elected officials.

By supporting the Growing Climate Solutions Act — alongside over 40 farm and environmental groups and corporations — and getting it passed in the Senate, Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst would be helping Iowa and the nation.

I encourage them to focus on doing just that.

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Al Giese is a board member of the Iowa Renewable Fuels

Association and Quad County Corn Processors.

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