Sixth Installment of Jay Inslee's Climate Plan Champions Regenerative Farming and Massive Investment in Rural America

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who has based his campaign for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination on battling the climate crisis, released a new plan Wednesday that promotes regenerative agriculture and federal investment in rural communities.

“My Growing Rural Prosperity plan will reinvigorate America’s rural and farming communities, while empowering farmers to benefit from enormous economic opportunities as we build America’s clean economy and work to defeat climate change,” Inslee said in a statement to The Hill.

The proposal is the sixth and final piece of his Climate Mission agenda, which also includes a 100% Clean Energy for America plan, Evergreen Economy plan, Global Climate Mobilization plan, Freedom from Fossil Fuels plan, and Community Climate Justice plan.

“Inslee’s climate plan now stands at 213-pages of specific policies built on state and local successes,” according to Jared Leopold, a senior adviser for his campaign.

Inslee presents the newest plan as a solution to the “triple threat” currently faced by agricultural communities: “an erratic Trump administration that’s harder to predict than the weather,” decades of failing to adequately invest in rural infrastructure or prioritize family farms over large corporations, and the growing climate emergency. The proposal features 15 policy initiatives and four broad strategies:

  • Investing in agricultural innovations to defeat climate change;
  • Keeping farmers farming;
  • Investing in rural prosperity and advancing equity; and
  • Improving forest health and protecting America’s public lands.

As part of the first strategy, an Inlsee administration would “launch a new Carbon Farming initiative to reward farmers for the environmental services they provide by removing carbon emissions from the atmosphere to build healthier soils, and by capturing methane,” according to his campaign. Inslee would also “triple funding for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) to $3 billion annually, reform crop insurance, and expand other U.S. Department of Agriculture programs to promote climate-smart agriculture.”

In his mission to aid American farmers, Inlsee vows to reverse the Trump administration’s “chaotic trade policies” and “take aggressive anti-trust action—through existing and expanded authorities at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ)—against agribusinesses that are undermining small and family farms.”

The plan calls for the creation of “a Next-Generation Rural Electrification initiative to revitalize rural economies through bottom-up strategies for renewable energy, efficiency, and transmission deployment” as well as “massive new investments in rural broadband connectivity.”

The candidate also promises that, if elected, his administration would “incentivize and reward landowners for forest-based carbon removal, and launch a major reinvestment in the U.S. Forest Service to repair and sustain the health of federal forest lands.” Additionally, he would “restore and enhance protections for America’s public lands.”

Inslee, who scored the top spot on Greenpeace’s ranking of the Democratic presidential contenders’ climate plans earlier this year, released his new proposal less than two weeks after the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) put out a report that underscored the importance of rapidly pursuing more sustainable land practices to battle global hunger and rein in planet-warming emissions.