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USDA seeks input for climate solutions program


The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reaching out to gather input from the public regarding the development of a new program aimed at supporting carbon markets in agriculture and forestry. This initiative is part of the implementation process for the Growing Climate Solutions Act (GCSA).

The Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Program, the main program of the GCSA, is being shaped with the assistance of feedback gathered through a Request for Information (RFI). The USDA is particularly interested in input on various protocols and criteria that will ensure the integrity, reliability, and transparency of the carbon markets.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack highlighted the importance of voluntary carbon markets in generating revenue for producers and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture and forest sectors. However, barriers exist that impede agricultural participation in these markets, which the new program aims to address.

The GCSA, part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, authorizes the establishment of this program to support carbon credit sales for farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners. The program aims to provide technical assistance and third-party verification services to help producers generate credible carbon credits.

Public input gathered through the RFI will inform the development of the program, including criteria for evaluating protocols, qualifications for technical assistance providers and third-party verifiers, and the selection of widely accepted voluntary carbon credit protocols.

The USDA emphasizes the importance of science-based practices in reducing emissions or sequestering carbon on agricultural land. Through participation in carbon credit programs, farmers and landowners can access additional income streams while contributing to climate change mitigation efforts.

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