November 29, 2021

U.S. Sen. Todd Young: Congress should help farmers improve conservation

Hoosier farmers know what they are doing. Every year, our agriculture industry feeds Indiana, the nation and the world.

Why are we so successful? Early on, our farmers learned that taking care of the environment makes the land more productive. This means protecting the soil from all four seasons that we know — and mostly love — in the Midwest.

I am constantly amazed at how Hoosiers are experimenting and innovating in their fields, benefiting wildlife habitats while also growing endless rows of 8-foot corn. I saw this innovation firsthand during my summer visits to the Weese family farm in Fort Wayne and at the Brocksmith family farm in Vincennes.

This doesn’t mean we do not need a leg up sometimes. Every farmer could use an expert to bounce ideas off of, or try a new technique. It is hard to get creative when the day starts before the sun is up and ends well after it sets.

That’s why I introduced the Conservation and Innovative Climate Partnership Act to do just this — provide a little extra help for farmers trying to improve conservation without wrecking their business operation.

My bill would create a modest grant program to fund partnerships between land-grant universities and nonprofits or state agencies. These partnerships would provide direct technical assistance, workshops, webinars, testing, or general education to farmers seeking to adopt or expand a conservation or innovative climate practice.

By harnessing the latest research at our land-grant universities, my bill would ensure that the science will reach its intended destination: the farmer.

Agriculture, businesses, environmentalists and academia support this proposal because it will work and allow everyone to continue improving and thriving.

We do not have to start from scratch when tackling climate change. Why not support Hoosiers who are already great stewards of our land?

Instead, Washington liberals think it makes sense to punish agriculture and raise energy prices for middle- and low-income Americans. Their misguided policies are the opposite of cooperation, and they fail to account for the huge strides already being made by our farming community.

The pandemic has shown us what happens when human lives and economic vitality are at stake. True economic recovery will require policies that allow all individuals and job creators to succeed, not just those the left approves of.

The far left’s attack on our farmers is sadly another example of how out of touch the coastal elites are with common-sense problem solving that our agriculture communities excel at every day.

Taxing small businesses and increasing regulation for family farms is one way to reduce emissions, sure. But we must be wary that weakening our economy and our food supply is one of the surest ways to expedite harm to humans.

Experts on both sides of the aisle acknowledge that climate change policies are oftentimes more likely to hurt food production and worsen rural poverty than climate change itself.

I fight every day to make sure policies debated in Congress are not hijacked by those out-of-touch with reality, particularly when it comes to climate issues.

It’s time for lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, and all regions of the country, to come to the table and find solutions that can benefit everyone.

Agriculture is the engine of our economy and we can’t leave it behind. My Conservation and Innovative Climate Partnership Act is a great place to start.

Todd Young is an American lawyer and politician serving as the senior U.S. senator for Indiana, a seat he has held since 2017. He currently serves on the U.S. Senate Committees on Finance; Foreign Relations; Commerce, Science and Transportation; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship.