Conservation Groups Celebrate Senate Introduction of Rural Forest Markets Act

Legislation will unlock millions of private dollars for rural America

Two people walking through a sunny forest.
Family Forests Nearly 40% of forests in the U.S. are owned by families or individuals, on properties with an average size of just 67 acres. © Mike Wilkinson

Media Contacts

Today Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mike Braun (R-IN) and Bob Casey (D-PA) announced the introduction of the Rural Forest Markets Act (RFMA) in the Senate. The American Forest Foundation (AFF), The Nature Conservancy and Bipartisan Policy Center Action (BPC Action) issued the following statements in support of the legislation:

“We need our forests for clean air, clean water, wildlife and outdoor recreation—and for removing and storing atmospheric carbon that contributes to climate change,” said Alix Murdoch, Senior Policy Advisor at The Nature Conservancy. “With families owning nearly 40% of the forestland in the United States, it’s important that they can keep their forests healthy and in the family. This proposed legislation would help do so, at very little cost to the government. It’s a win for family forest owners and all of society.”

Quote: Alix Murdoch

The Rural Forest Market Act is a win for family forest owners and all of society.

Senior Policy Advisor, The Nature Conservancy

“The Rural Forest Markets Act would catalyze private investment into rural communities, helping landowners build generational wealth and ensure the long-term health and value of their forests,” said Rita Hite, president and CEO of AFF. “The bicameral, bipartisan support of the RFMA speaks to the massive potential it brings to our country’s 21 million family forest owners and their woodlands. It’s time to put the power of private finance into the hands of rural America—for the sake of our communities and our planet.”

“The Rural Forest Markets Act will support private forest landowners’ ability to implement innovative forest practices and cultivate new revenue streams from carbon, water and timber,” said Michele Stockwell, President of BPC Action. “The RFMA is a common sense solution that will help eliminate technical and financial barriers to fully realize the economic and environmental opportunities of nature-based solutions, as recommended by the Bipartisan Policy Center's Farm and Forest Carbon Solutions Task Force.”

The Rural Forest Markets Act was introduced in the House of Representatives in August of this year by Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and William Timmons (R-SC). The bicameral, bipartisan legislation would enable the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue guarantees for loans and bonds that help small landowners access carbon markets; incentivize family landowners to adopt climate-friendly forest practices that increase the value of market commodities like carbon, water and timber; and allow the U.S. to achieve the necessary scale of climate impact by bringing the power of private finance from large corporations to rural America.

Learn more about the Rural Forest Markets Act

About The American Forest Foundation

The American Forest Foundation is a national conservation organization that works with a broad coalition of partners to empower family forest owners to make a meaningful conservation impact around carbon sequestration, wildfire reduction, wildlife habitat, clean water, sustainable wood supplies and support for rural communities. To learn more about the Family Forest Carbon Program, visit

About The Bipartisan Policy Center Action

BPC Action is the 501(c)(4) arm of the Bipartisan Policy Center designed to advance smart policies through the legislative process and enact bipartisan policy solutions into law. While reasoned and rigorous analysis is a solid precursor to sound public policy, this alone does not move the political process forward. To impact the public dialogue and influence policy outcomes, BPC Action engages in advocacy and implements strategic education and outreach designed to bring Republicans and Democrats together to achieve policy changes on important issues. To learn more about BPC Action, visit

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. The Nature Conservancy is working to make a lasting difference around the world in 77 countries and territories (41 by direct conservation impact and 36 through partners) through a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on X.