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Climate-Smart Forestry | Citizens' Climate Lobby

Climate-Smart Forestry 🌲🌲🌲

Let’s protect America’s $20 billion investment!

Sustainably managing our farmland and protecting our forests is essential to solving climate change and to preserving our way of life.


The Farm Bill is a legislative package that provides financial support to America’s farmers and forest-owners. Congress is working on a new version of the Farm Bill that should include $20 billion in aid for climate-smart practices that help farmers and forest-owners store more carbon pollution in trees. But right now, that funding is at risk of being reallocated – unless we step up.

Tell your member of Congress to secure our $20 billion investment in climate-smart farm and forest practices.

  • Congress has extended the existing 5-year Farm Bill through September 2024.
  • Congress will work on a new 5-year Farm Bill starting now.
  • The new Farm Bill will likely be enacted before September.

Your email will ask your members of Congress to protect the investments in climate-smart forestry and agriculture from the Inflation Reduction Act in the new Farm Bill.

In this quick briefing, CCL’s Senior Director of Government Affairs, Ben Pendergrass, gives an overview of CCL’s goal and priorities. Here’s what we want to see and how this initiative will help combat the effects of climate change:

Frequently (and infrequently) Asked Questions 👇

What is the Farm Bill?

The Farm Bill is a legislative package that lasts five years. It contains legislation regarding farmers, forests, food production and other agricultural issues. The current Farm Bill was signed into law in 2018 and extended into 2024. This year, Congress needs to pass a new version of the bill to continue funding new and existing programs. It’s important we continue to support America’s farmers, who are adapting to grow crops during a changing climate.


The $20 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act allocated for climate-smart conservation practices and healthy forests is set to be included in the new version of the Farm bill – we need to keep it that way.


Why is the funding from the Inflation Reduction Act at risk?

As negotiations for the new Farm bill begin, there have been talks in Congress of reallocating some of the $20 billion. We want to leave the IRA-specified provisions as they are! If we don’t make our voices heard, our members of Congress will hear from corporate lobbyists instead.


What funding for healthy forests was included in the Inflation Reduction Act?

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provided $19.5 billion over five years for climate smart agriculture through several of the conservation programs that U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) implements. These programs help farmers and ranchers implement conservation practices that increase storage of carbon through soil and trees. By asking your member of Congress to protect the funding, you are asking them to leave the money that has already been allocated to these programs in place.


When will the new Farm Bill pass?

Congress should pass the Farm Bill before the November election season gets underway – potentially September 2024, when the current extension expires. Potentially, they could pass another extension into 2025. CCL will continue to mobilize for climate-smart measures in new 5-year Farm Bill until it is enacted. We may need to turn up the volume of our mobilization as the vote gets closer!


What kinds of forest projects could be funded with this money?

There are many agroforestry projects that the USDA can fund with the money from the Inflation Reduction Act that will help our forests, including silvopasture, alley cropping, and forest management. These programs have all been funded in the past, but in limited amounts. Learn more about what USDA projects can be prioritized to help fight climate change.


Why do we need trees?

Trees are nature’s vacuum cleaner. Trees are hard at work storing carbon pollution, pulling the equivalent of 12% of America’s carbon pollution out of the air each year and reducing the impacts of climate change. By protecting, expanding, and managing our forests in a way that is climate-smart, they can do even more – up to 22% by 2030.

But the world is currently losing 25 million acres of forests per year to deforestation. That rate has slowed down from 40 million acres lost per year in the 1990s, but we still need to do much better, starting here at home.


What is agroforestry?

Agroforestry involves integrating trees and shrubs with animal agriculture and farmed crops to create a number of benefits, included higher crop yields, improved soil health, carbon sequestration, reduced erosion and more. More trees also means more shade for livestock to provide some resilience against extreme, worsening heat. It’s been practiced worldwide for centuries, but isn’t as popular in the United States as it in other countries. With proper funding and attention, we can use agroforestry to fight climate change.


Will my representative listen to me?

Yes! The idea that elected representatives don’t listen to their constituents is not true. Or at least, it’s highly unusual. In reality, congressional staffers take every call and voicemail and read every email their office receives and pass these onto their member of Congress in regular briefings. Congress works for you, and they want to know what their constituents care about. You may receive a generic email in response, but your message was still received loud and clear. And when you’re combining your voice with thousands of other CCLers across the nation, they tend to perk up even more.


How else can I help?

You only need to email your members of Congress once yourself. Then, share this page with friends, family, and coworkers who want to help get climate-smart forestry legislation passed in Congress!


Who is Citizens’ Climate Lobby?

Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan grassroots advocacy climate change organization that exists to create the political will for climate change solutions by enabling individual breakthroughs in the exercise of personal and political power.


Our consistently respectful, nonpartisan approach to climate education is designed to create a broad, sustainable foundation for climate action across all geographic regions and political inclinations.


CCL empowers everyday people to work with their community and their members of Congress. Our supporters cover the political spectrum and work in more than 450 local chapters. Together, we’re building support for a national bipartisan solution to climate change.