U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-KS, has applauded the Senate Agriculture Committee's passage of his legislation to expand research into the link between farming practices and the reduction of climate change.

"The relationship between agriculture and the environment is a positive one which should be encouraged and developed," Senator Roberts said. "There is a growing belief among scientists that voluntary farming practices may hold the key to reducing harmful climate change. We should fully explore that theory before rushing to new taxes and regulations. Committee support for this research is a step in the right direction."

It is the second major climate change victory for Senator Roberts in recent weeks. Legislation passed recently contains $15 million in funding for climate change research by a consortium of universities that includes Kansas State University and the University of Kansas.

Senator Roberts, a key member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, last year introduced The Carbon Cycle and Agricultural Best Practices Act (S 1066), which the committee approved in a voice vote. The bill now goes to the full Senate for approval.

Senator Roberts' legislation makes carbon cycle research a higher priority at U.S. Department of Agriculture. It incorporates state-of-the-art research tools, including satellite-based technology. The plan also directs the Natural Resource Conservation Service to develop a soil carbon database, so that climate change policy decisions can be based on science instead of politics or emotion.

"Through voluntary practices, like conservation tillage, crop rotation, the Conservation Reserve Program buffer strips and new technologies, America's farmers and ranchers are contributing to clean air and water, healthy soil, sustainable forestry and improved wildlife habitat," Senator Roberts said. "Some of these practices help to store carbon dioxide in the soil, making the soil more fertile and less vulnerable to erosion, while reducing climate change."

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