Environmental groups have been clamoring for Congress to make this year’s farm bill the next big climate law. With more funding, climate advocates say, farmers could cut greenhouse gas emissions by storing carbon in soil, curbing nitrogen fertilizer use, and planting trees. But the farm bill — and the movement to make it climate-friendly — isn’t just about farming. It also pumps tens of millions of dollars each year into clean energy projects: solar panels on a poultry and cattle farm in Georgia; an energy-efficient refrigerator at a grocery store in South Dakota; a wind turbine in Minnesota.
The source of those funds, the farm bill’s Rural Energy for America Program, “helps to reduce input costs for farmers, to cut their energy costs, and to lower their carbon footprints,” said Andy Olsen, senior policy advocate at the Environmental Law and Policy Center.