Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., wrote a letter to the President last week that encouraged the White House to include agricultural-based principles in its development of a new climate change strategy.
Enzi recommended that the Administration maintain and strengthen carbon sequestration as a tool to offset the emissions of greenhouse gases. Carbon sequestration is the process of improving agricultural and range management practices to stimulate the soil to take in carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere.
Enzi advocated the development of a climate change policy that includes a better reporting system and provides an incentive-based program to improve agricultural practices and range management.
Enzi encouraged the Administration to consider creating an improved voluntary reporting program that would allow farmers, ranchers, cooperatives, foresters and other agriculture parties to report their carbon conservation efforts.
The program would be patterned after the Department of Energy's 1605(b) program, a program that issues guidelines for the voluntary collection and reporting of information on sources of greenhouse gases.
"This system would create a point of reference for the European Union and other nations to recognize how American agriculture not only provides food and fiber for the world but provides an important global environmental benefit," Enzi wrote.
Enzi also proposed the use of incentive-based programs, such as providing longer-term contracts for certified grazing leaseholders, in order to reward stewardship. These incentives have the potential to tap into a significant offset for greenhouse gas emissions.
"Grazing lands represent the largest and most diverse single land resource in the U.S. and world," wrote Enzi.
Enzi also said that carbon cycle research should be a higher priority at the USDA in developing a climate change policy. Such a policy would incorporate state-of-the-art research within the USDA and would coordinate the delivery and dispersion of research findings.
Senators Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Mike Crapo, Idaho, also signed the letter.