Committee OKs Climate Measure

Farmers, Ranchers, Food Processors Support Ag Climate Benefits Act.

Published on: Apr 13, 2010
A key Senate committee voted today to approve SB 1241, a measure by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) to provide farmers, ranchers and food processors throughout the state with opportunities to tackle the challenges posed to the state's agricultural community by climate change.

"California agriculture has real climate change solutions to offer," says Senator Lois Wolk. "The Agriculture Climate Benefits Act will provide agriculture, a vital contributor to the state's economy, with the resources necessary to address climate change and keep our farmers on the land."

Climate change threatens to dramatically strain California's agricultural community, which contributes $36 billion annually to the state's economy and supplies more than half of the country's fruit and vegetables. The Agriculture Climate Benefits Act designates that a portion of funds generated from state or federal climate change policies support greenhouse gas emission reductions and carbon sequestration in agriculture, while achieving environmental co-benefits such as improved air and water quality.

Farmers, ranchers, food processors and sustainable agriculture advocates have come together to support SB 1241.

California agriculture is uniquely vulnerable to climate change. In a state where water is already scarce, climate change scenarios predict that water supplies will become increasingly constrained. Warming temperatures also threaten to shift the kinds of crops that can be grown in the state. These and other predicted climate changes could severely strain important agricultural industries.

However, California agriculture is also positioned to assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering atmospheric carbon. Research funded by the California Energy Commission suggests that some agricultural practices can help sequester carbon in the soil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate-friendly agricultural practices can help the state meet its greenhouse gas emission reductions targets.

"SB 1241 supports innovation in agriculture while protecting our environment," said Jeanne Merrill with the California Climate and Agriculture Network. "By passing SB 1241, the Senate Food & Agriculture Committee acknowledges the importance of addressing climate change and agriculture issues in our state."

SB 1241 is supported by: Agriculture and Climate Change Coalition (sponsor), Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association, California Certified Organic Farmers, California Farmers Union, Californians Against Waste, Center for Food Safety, Center for Land-Based Learning, Central Coast Rangeland Coalition, Central Coast Vineyard Team, Community Alliance With Family Farmers, Dixon Ridge Farms, Earthbound Farm, Ecological Farming Association, Full Belly Farm, Hedgerow Farms, Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, Organic Farming Research Foundation, Pesticide Action Network North America, Rominger Brothers Farms, Inc., San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project, Sierra Orchards, Sustainable Agriculture Education, Terry Harrison, Visher Consulting and Wild Farm Alliance.

More is at www.calclimateag.org/sb1241_index.html.