WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last Friday, Republican Members of the Energy, Climate, and Conservation (ECC) Task Force traveled to Chambersburg, PA, to participate in a dairy tour at Burk-Lea Farms and an agriculture stakeholder roundtable highlighting conservation and innovative farming technologies as part of the ECC Task Force’s policy rollout for ‘Conservation with a Purpose.’
Members took an educational field tour of the dairy farm
Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), who serves as Ranking Member of the Agriculture Committee and is a member of the ECC Task Force, opened the roundtable by discussing how American farmers have always been a leader when it comes to conservation and innovation.
He said, “It’s not just the things that you’ve done today. You’re looking over the horizon and you’re thinking what’s next? What can you do next? That really is the heart of American agriculture. In terms of our productivity, our efficiency, our application of science and technology – we’re the best in the world.”
ECC Member Lead Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) commended the agriculture community for their work to increase efficiency while protecting the environment.
He said, “Between 1990 and 2020 we saw so much increase in production that it would take 100 million more acres in 1990 efficiency to produce the amount of agriculture outputs that we’re seeing today. And on the environmental side, we’ve seen that the ag sector is sequestering about 13 percent of the emissions in the United States. So look, y’all are the original conservationists. Some of the best opportunities we have in America to further sequester greenhouse gases and meet both this economic sustainable goal and the environmental sustainable goal is in the resources that y’all manage.”
Members participated in a roundtable discussion with agriculture stakeholders
Rep. John Joyce (R-PA), whose district the roundtable took place in, promised the roundtable participants he will continue to promote American natural gas.
He said, “My commitment for you is that I will continue to … protect that we have American, clean, cost-effective natural gas. That we have the ability to utilize what’s under our feet, what employs people, and what can make your prices less here.”
Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), who is a dairy farmer, spoke about the burdensome regulations in California that farmers like himself have had to face.
“I know California’s dairy [industry] is a little bit different than the rest of the country. I feel like we’ve been forced into a lot of it. A lot of the environmental regulations, a lot of the laws we have to live under forced a lot of consolidation over the years. And I think overall that’s been bad for the industry. I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful than driving around the countryside and seeing all of the different farms and people living in a free nation deciding how big of a farm they want to farm and how many cows or acres they want to take care of.”
Rep. John Rose (R-TN) slammed the Biden administration’s disastrous policies, particularly the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed Scope 3 emissions disclosure.
He said, “If that rule becomes law and is implemented, every farmer across the country is going to find themselves under yet another burden from federal government to count their greenhouse gas emissions and no one understands completely how that would unfold.”
During the roundtable, Jenna Beckett, the Pennsylvania State Director and Agriculture Program Director at the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, brought up the challenges they face helping small farmers to stay competitive.
Beckett said, “We all know that we’re at such an interesting time at the intersection of climate goals, water quality goals, energy goals, etc. It’s just fascinating how much we still don’t know. We’ve got companies, customers of Maryland and Virginia making extreme goals as far as what they want to hit for their science-based targets and the reality is we don’t actually know how to get there, especially with our plain sect farmers.… The same type of technology that might be working in California is not going to work on an Amish farm, and we literally are trying our best to figure out what to do and do not know what to do. So any work you all can put in to figuring out what technologies make sense for our small farmers – we want our small farmers to remain competitive; we don’t want to lose our small farmers – but we need to figure out what technologies work.”
Watch the full roundtable here.
Read an op-ed from ECC Task Force Members Reps. Glenn Thompson and David Valadao.
Read more about Republican solutions for ‘Conservation with a Purpose’ here.
Note: This summer, the ECC Task Force is rolling out six key policy issue areas, including: