After COVID hit, toilet paper and many groceries became scarce. Thanks in part to Maine farmers, our stores’ shelves have been replenished and local fruits and vegetables have burst into produce aisles, road-side stands and farmers markets.

While the pandemic has tested the mettle of farmers, climate change may soon bring them to a breaking point. Unpredictable rain, rising temperatures and extreme weather events are bearing down on agriculture. However, the pandemic’s impact on our supply chain pales in comparison to what climate change holds for access to basic food items.

Fortunately, a bipartisan group of senators and representatives has a solution: the Growing Climate Solutions Act. The bill provides incentives for farmers and foresters to employ sustainable practices and access lucrative carbon credit markets that would pay them for reduced emissions and captured carbon. The bill is a win for both farmers (read: jobs) and the planet, given that agriculture and forestry together contribute an estimated 10.5 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases.

Maine’s congressional delegation needs to sign on to this bill, given that 5 percent of our state’s gross domestic product is sustained by the agricultural production and processing industries and over 7,500 farms pump nearly $700 million into Maine’s economy annually.

Helping farmers navigate our changing climate can be coupled with an opportunity for them to profit from helping to fix it. Congress must work together to pass the Growing Climate Solutions Act to help farmers help themselves, and our planet.

Harry Brown

volunteer, Portland chapter, Citizens’ Climate Lobby

South Portland

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