Bennet, Crapo, Baldwin, Moran Introduce Bill to Voluntarily Reduce Methane Emissions from Livestock

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) introduced the Enteric Methane Innovation Tools for Lower Emissions and Sustainable Stock (EMIT LESS) Act to voluntarily reduce methane emissions from dairy and beef cattle across America’s family farms and ranches. 

“Colorado has led the nation by taking important steps to limit greenhouse gas emissions, including methane – and our state’s family farmers and ranchers play a crucial role in that effort,” said Bennet. “This bill will help Colorado’s cattlemen and livestock producers access every available tool to voluntarily reduce methane emissions, expand research into this field, and improve the sustainability of their farms and ranches.” 

“Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of Idaho’s economy. I proudly support this legislation that advances agricultural technology, invests in local ecology and provides hands-on training for the most up-to-date practices in the field,” said Crapo.

“Wisconsin’s farmers and ranchers work hard day in and day out to feed our families and we need to give them all the tools they need to succeed, including supporting the innovative practices for farmers that want to reduce their emissions,” said Baldwin. “I’m proud to work with Republicans and Democrats to unlock new tools for farmers to cut down their methane emissions and create sustainable farming operations for the next generation.”

“New research and ranching practices are showing promising results to reduce methane emissions and keep our farms and ranches thriving,” said Moran. “This legislation will invest in further research and provide our producers with tools to improve their farms and ranches.”

Enteric methane is naturally emitted during the digestive process of most livestock species. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide. The agricultural sector accounts for 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and enteric methane is the single largest source of agricultural methane emissions. Enteric methane is also the second largest source of all methane emissions in the nation, second only to the oil and gas industry.

The EMIT LESS Act aims to address enteric methane by expanding research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for products (e.g. feed additives) and practices that reduce these emissions and creating voluntary incentives through conservation programs to help get those products into the hands of farmers and ranchers. 

“It’s promising to see support and legislation poised to provide critical access to funds and infrastructure to better understand and research enteric emissions in the U.S. This opportunity has the potential to help close knowledge gaps that still exist in enteric methane research in production environments and offers on-farm support to farmers and ranchers to implement proven reduction strategies on a broader scale,” said Dr. Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, Director, Colorado State University’s AgNext Program. 

“We applaud Senator Bennet’s leadership in addressing the need for foundational research that has been prioritized by stakeholders to provide enhanced baseline measurements and reporting efforts related to enteric methane emissions. CSU is proud to be a leader in this space,” said Cass Moseley, Vice President of Research, Colorado State University.

“Colorado Farm Bureau fully supports this leadership effort by Senators Bennet and Crapo to elevate our industry's ever-boldening commitment to environmental stewardship. The expansion in research dollars for feed additives and practices that reduce enteric methane will pay real dividends for farmers and ranchers. Even better, our members will be able capitalize on these important options through conservation programs already familiar to them at USDA. This is a pro-active, common sense, voluntary solution to improving efficiency across our ranching businesses and cherished agricultural landscapes,” said James Henderson, Vice President of the Board of Directors, Colorado Farm Bureau.

“Our livestock industry is taking steps every day to lessen greenhouse gas emissions by improving efficiency and utilizing climate-smart practices. This bill will provide important resources to incentivize these practices and to develop additional tools in this effort,” said Chad Franke, President, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. “We thank Senator Bennet for bringing forward solutions that will empower family farmers and ranchers to reduce enteric methane emissions.” 

“Innovative feed ingredients are poised to help U.S. dairy farmers augment their ongoing voluntary, producer-led stewardship efforts. Once enteric methane-reducing feed additives are approved, dairy producers will need resources and support as they begin uptake. To that end, we commend Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Jerry Moran (R-KS) for their bipartisan legislation to better target USDA conservation programs to assist farmers as they begin to use these important feed ingredients on a voluntary basis,” said Gregg Doud, President and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation

“We applaud Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) for introducing the EMIT LESS Act. This bill recognizes and supports the environmental efforts of dairy farmers and will ensure that the necessary research and assistance is available to farmers committed to reducing emissions. It will also align existing conservation programs with the important work already taking place in the dairy sector, said Jackie Klippenstein, Senior Vice President and Chief Government and Industry Relations Officer, Dairy Farmers of America.

“The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) commends Senators Bennet and Crapo for supporting farmers and ranchers’ voluntary efforts to reduce methane emissions from ruminant livestock. The bipartisan EMIT LESS Act will bolster ongoing, farmer-led efforts to address enteric methane emissions and support research on the efficiency and environmental benefits associated with novel feed additives,” said the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA).

“We thank Senators Bennet and Crapo for introducing a bill that strengthens our country’s research and conservation programs while recognizing the unique role that animal nutrition and feed ingredients play in reducing on-farm enteric methane emissions. The EMIT LESS Act shows that right alongside animal food innovators, our country is willing to invest in a more sustainable future,” said Constance Cullman, President and Chief Executive, American Feed Industry Association. 

“This bill will allow our nation’s livestock producers to be better positioned to compete in the global climate economy. This bill empowers USDA to direct resources to voluntary livestock practices that have incredible potential to reduce GHG emissions and increase profitability for our nation’s livestock producers. I commend Senator Bennet and Crapo for their bipartisan leadership on this bill,” said Chuck Conner, President & CEO, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.

“New enteric methane-mitigating products and practices hold promise for U.S. beef and dairy producers to both reduce emissions and increase the productivity of their operations,” said David Hong, Federal Policy Director for Food & Agriculture, the Breakthrough Institute. “We applaud Senators Bennet and Crapo’s vision for scaling up the testing capacity, training opportunities, and on-farm trials needed to ensure solutions prove their effectiveness at reducing enteric methane, without compromising animal health or safety. The EMIT LESS Act will provide much-needed support for enteric methane research and cost-sharing to enable on-farm emissions reductions, bolstering the long-term sustainability and profitability of animal agriculture.”

“Danone is taking action to reduce methane emissions in our fresh milk supply by 30% by 2030. We are investing in farming partners to support and increase implementation of regenerative agriculture practices and innovative technologies that address methane from enteric fermentation. Reducing livestock methane emissions is vital for mitigating climate change, alongside efforts in decreasing carbon dioxide emissions. We thank Senator Bennet and the co-sponsors of this important bi-partisan legislation for prioritizing funding and training necessary to help U.S. agricultural producers accelerate the deployment of new tools necessary to mitigating methane,” said Chris Adamo, Vice President of Public Affairs and Regenerative Agriculture, Danone North America.

This bill is supported by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) Action, Breakthrough Institute, Clean Air Task Force (CATF), Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado State University and Colorado State University’s AgNext Program, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), Danone North America, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Environmental Working Group (EWG), Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA), Idaho Dairymen’s Association, International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), McDonald’s, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC), National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU). 

As Chair of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Conservation, Climate, Forestry, and Natural Resources, Bennet helped secure nearly $20 billion in working lands conservation measures in the Inflation Reduction Act, and has consistently worked to help farmers access new tools to reduce emissions. He has also pushed for strong federal policies to cut methane emissions from oil and gas operations, following Colorado’s lead.

The text of the bill is available HERE. A summary of the bill is available HERE.