A U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry hearing this week focused discussion on actions Congress can take to help establish stewardship as a viable revenue stream for farmers, featuring testimony and discussion from Land O’Lakes own Jason Weller, Vice President of Truterra, LLC.
Land O’Lakes is supporting a new bill before the Senate, the Growing Climate Solutions Act, as the bipartisan legislation, introduced in Congress by Senators Stabenow, Braun and others, recognizes that working with farmers and ranchers is one of the quickest, most scalable and economically feasible solutions to lowering greenhouse gases (GHGs).
During the hearing, Jason shared the perspective of not only Truterra and Land O’Lakes, but of the network of thousands of farmer and ag retail owners across the country.
The invitation for Truterra to testify is a testament to the power of Land O’Lakes, Inc. and Truterra’s farmer-driven approach to stewardship and to the leadership of our farmer and ag retail owners in addressing the climate crisis and farmer-led solutions to positively affect climate change.
In his remarks, Jason noted that, if passed, the Growing Climate Solutions Act would provide the core building blocks for viable GHG and ecosystem markets. These markets are most efficient when there is transparency in rules and prices, when sellers can clearly see the most cost-effective path to bring a product to market and when buyers can trust in the quality of their purchase.
These conditions are critical to compensating farmers for the impact of their stewardship, but they do not yet exist in the market – which is why enacting this legislation would be such an important step. GHG credits offer new, potential revenue sources for farmers to diversify their income and to provide offset for their costs.
“Operations today can utilize ag tech and precision ag management to not only enhance profitability but also prepare farmers to participate in future GHG credit markets,” Weller said. “Additionally, these systems of agronomic and conservation practices increase the long-term productivity and profitability of production while helping farms literally and figuratively weather a changing climate.”
The bill also complements the work that Truterra is doing to create the market conditions to drive demand for stewardship by connecting the dots between what is happening on the farm to consumers.
Jason also noted the critical need to invest in the infrastructure upon which precision conservation depends – reliable broadband access. In his written testimony, he commented:
“Land O’Lakes is building and executing a strategy based in precision agriculture and conservation. We know that the only way to protect water quality, sequester carbon, reduce GHG emissions and maximize farmer profitability, will be through precision conservation solutions, fueled by technology. None of these advancements are possible without broadband.”
Through the American Connection Project, Land O’Lakes and our ag retail owner network has provided free Wi-Fi access points at over 150 locations in 19 states for community members to use the Internet during the pandemic, but this is just a short-term solution. Investing in rural connectivity is crucial not only for the success of these communities, but for the ability of farmers to deploy precision conservation.
One noteworthy takeaway was the hearing’s focus on lifting up farmer voices. In addition to Jason, other speakers at the hearing included Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Rob Larew, president of the National Farmers Union, and Brent Bible, a corn and soybean grower in Indiana. Truterra was the only company invited to speak at the hearing, because of our farmer-centric approach to stewardship.
“The growing mainstream enthusiasm for, and embrace of, the major role that farmers and ranchers can play in mitigating and offsetting the impacts of climate change while balancing profitability is very exciting,” Jason commented. “This is a great first step in the process and we’ll continue to advocate on behalf of the cooperative and its network on these issues.”
More about the hearing can be found here.