Dear Editor,

As a fifth-generation farmer, I often consider the legacy I want to leave behind. Our family farm in Mahaska County has a long history of environmentally friendly soil and water practices. Like those before me, I want to make our land better for the next generation and I take pride in promoting conservation techniques. Many farmers, like myself, share this common goal and take proactive approaches to sustainability.

This year, I was honored to receive the 2020 Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year awarded by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. While I am grateful to be recognized for my achievements in conservation, I didn’t implement climate friendly practices to win an award. As a farmer, it is my responsibility to protect and preserve our land. It is my hope that the ag sector continues to implement and encourage proven, science based conservation practices.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act is a step in the right direction. This legislation creates a USDA certification program that removes the barriers for farmers and forest landowners to participate in carbon credit markets. I commend the broad bipartisan action by Senators Braun (R-IN), Stabenow (D-MI), Graham (R-SC) and Whitehouse (D-RI) to make progress to reduce the carbon footprint within the farming community. It is also encouraging to see diverse agricultural groups supporting this legislation like the American Soybean Association American Farm Bureau Federation, National Corn Growers Association, among others.

I believe our leaders in Congress, including Senators Ernst and Grassley, can help these efforts by supporting the Growing Climate Solutions Act and build upon the resources needed to enhance sustainable farming.

Mark Jackson, rural Oskaloosa

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