If you look beyond the headlines, there’s an opportunity for bipartisan agreement in the Farm Bill that could change the way we build, notes Susan Jones, in her Agri-Pulse Communication blog “Opinion: Why Architects Are Paying Attention to the Farm Bill”:

Architects are paying close attention to the Farm Bill because it could support innovation in building materials. Buildings account for 39 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions per year in the United States, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. Wood is the only renewable building material, and instead of giving off carbon, it sequesters it. Mass timber is a newer category of wood that allows us to build taller with a carbon-sequestering material. Mass timber could be a catalyst for changing how we build.

The Timber Innovation Act (TIA) prioritizes research and development into mass timber and the construction methods that use it. Some of the bill’s language is included in the House Farm Bill, and the Senate version should include the full text. The bill directs the U.S. Forest Service to act on its mandate, which is “To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.”

Read the full post here.