Comments on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Request for Information on its Approach to Addressing Climate Action

Thursday, April 29, 2021 - 9:00am

Mr. Seth Meyer
Chief Economist
Office of the Chief Economist
U.S. Department of Agriculture Room 112-A, Whitten Federal Building (mail stop: 3810) Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. Meyer:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce appreciates the opportunity to comment on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Request for Information regarding the agency’s overall approach to address climate action. We value USDA’s leadership and agree that agriculture and forest and land management have a unique and important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The following principles are consistent with our support for market-based mechanisms and innovation as the foundations for USDA’s implementation of nature-based climate solutions. 

  • Co-benefits: Prioritize investments that have multiple ecosystem and economic benefits.
  • Interagency coordination: Foster interagency collaboration across federal resources management agencies to implement nature-based climate solutions, including further coordination on research and development of advanced biofuels for transportation and other applications.
  • Partnerships: Catalyze and leverage engagement and partnerships along the agriculture supply chain, across key sectors, and with manufacturing.
  • Permitting process updates: Updating the federal permitting and approval process will help drive the deployment of modern infrastructure such as broadband to support virtual learning and entrepreneurial opportunities and expansions of our electric transmission system to provide affordable and progressively cleaner energy. 
  • Resilience: Develop nature-based solutions and green infrastructure  among the priorities for deploying predisaster mitigation measures to reduce climate risks and improve resilience for farmers and across rural America. We also are promoting value of scaling more efficient and resilient vertical/indoor farming solutions as a more sustainable, local growing technology of the future.
  • Small, disadvantaged communities: Mobilize private capital to meet energy and water needs and build resilience in small, disadvantaged communities by leveraging USDA Rural Development programs.
  • Technology innovation: Promote methane capture and bioenergy, carbon, capture, and storage innovation, particularly around animal management, technology innovation research, development, and deployment of novel bio-based fuel pathways, and other technology innovations to reduce agriculture sector emissions and increase the global competitiveness of U.S. technologies, products, and services.
  • Voluntary carbon markets: Support voluntary carbon markets for agriculture and forest and land management practices, such as through the Growing Climate Solutions Act. Carbon offsets will allow our members to achieve their ambitious climate goals more quickly.
  • Voluntary practices: Offer incentives for farmers, ranchers, and foresters who voluntarily implement practices that increase soil carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their operations

We stand ready to assist as you continue to shape climate policy and programs at USDA.

Sincerely,

Marty Durbin