By WES SANDER

Capital Press

A bill to help farmers reduce greenhouse-gas emissions has cleared the Senate Food and Agriculture committee.

SB1241, by Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, D-Davis, would direct state revenue streams from emissions regulations toward projects to help agriculture reduce its emissions and help producers capitalize on a possible cap-and-trade program.

The bill was approved on a 3-0 vote involving only Democrats. It draws support from a list of organic and small producers and trade associations, the California Farmers Union and Pesticide Action Network North America. It has drawn no opposition.

The bill addresses the revenue stream that the California Air Resources Board will generate by implementing regulations to fulfill AB32, the state's landmark greenhouse gas-reduction law.

The bill would establish an Agricultural Climate Benefits Advisory Committee to advise the agency on distributing the money.

The board is currently assembling a cap-and-trade system to help meet AB32's targets. The board has proposed that the state auction the system's carbon allowances, which businesses can purchase to help meet limits.

Businesses can further purchase carbon offsets, which come from operations that have implemented third party-approved systems for reducing emissions. Credits could come from farmers who have invested in reduced tillage or methane digesters, among other practices.

The bill now goes to the Senate Environmental Quality committee.

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