Climate change, farmers, ranchers, food regulation, food policy

Document Type



The Farm Bill has an enormous impact on climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture account for almost 10 percent of total U.S. emissions and up to a quarter of all emissions globally. The Farm Bill encourages the use of carbon-intensive agricultural practices and products responsible for these emissions, but nonetheless offers several opportunities to quickly expand carbon sequestration, making it a critical piece of climate legislation. This essay will examine the climate impact of the Farm Bill, focusing on the commodity, conservation, and crop insurance programs. It then proposes politically feasible changes to these programs aimed at minimizing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and maximizing carbon storage. The essay concludes with an ambitious, long-term set of Farm Bill proposals designed to transform the U.S. agricultural sector into a carbon sink.