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Blog | January 26, 2023

Farmers & Ranchers, You Are Climate Heroes. Tell Congress the 2023 Farm Bill Should Support You!

The next farm bill is being written now, and farmers, ranchers and eaters—all of us—need it to address climate change. In addition to the farming and food topics the Farm Bill typically covers, from crop insurance, beginning farmer support, nutrition assistance and disaster aid, climate change should be front and center.

Farmers need resources like funding, research, and risk management to implement climate-friendly farming practices that make their farms more resilient in the face of climate change and that also help them sequester carbon in the soil and mitigate the impacts of climate change for all of us.

We cannot afford to wait. Action is needed now to address our changing climate. Agriculture can and must be part of the solution.

The Agriculture Resilience Act asks Congress to implement these solutions in the next farm bill. We’re encouraging farmers and non-farmers alike to sign on to show your support for this important bill!

Add your name to the letter

To make sure farmer and rancher voices are heard, we’re partnering with our partners at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to gather signatures. Please sign below!

We know the Farm Aid community also values these ideas even if you don’t farm yourself, so please add your name to the petition to show your support below.

The Next Farm Bill Must Be A Climate Bill text over cows in a field. NSAC logo in bottom right.

Letter Text:

We, the undersigned farmers and ranchers, write to express our deep concerns about climate change impacts on agriculture in the United States and to call for funding climate solutions that address historical inequities and invest in our rural and agricultural communities.

Climate change presents a fundamental threat to our farms and ranches. Increasing challenges from extreme heat, drought, flooding, catastrophic wildfire, and rapidly shifting pests and diseases expand farm risks. We must act now to avoid even more devastating impacts, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and embrace holistic, systems-based solutions. Investment in conservation and farm programs that increase the resilience of our operations and rural communities is essential. The Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA) includes the provisions and investments we need in the 2023 Farm Bill to ensure the long-term viability of our farms and food system.

Agriculture can deliver climate solutions

Our livelihoods depend on sustainably managing natural resources. We are committed to being part of the solution. By improving soil health and increasing soil organic matter on our farms and ranches, we can draw down atmospheric carbon levels. We can also reduce potent greenhouse gas emissions, like nitrous oxide and methane emissions, through diverse sustainable and organic strategies. The approaches laid out in the ARA are recognized by farmers and scientists throughout the world as critical climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. These include good soil health practices like cover crops, crop rotation, reduced tillage, improved grazing management, and perennial conservation plantings.

These agricultural climate solutions benefit our farms, our communities, and our environment. They increase farm profitability and resilience to weather extremes, improve air and water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat. We should advance climate solutions that provide these multiple benefits.

Public investment is critical

Farmers need support to be part of the climate solution. Shifting to climate-friendly agricultural practices will require continued research, robust technical assistance, and financial incentives to reduce up-front costs. Such resources are especially critical for small and medium-scale farmers and ranchers and farmers of color who often lack the economic security and access to resources to implement new methods. At the same time, farmers of color and small farmers have often led the way in developing climate-friendly farming practices and deserve support for this innovative work.

The adoption of climate-friendly farm practices offers substantial public benefit and requires public investment. The solutions to climate change outlined in the ARA will promote a competitive and fair agricultural economy, expand opportunities for family farms and rural communities, and provide greater food security.

We support the ARA because:

  • Farmers need quality agricultural research on climate issues. The ARA includes funding for climate and agriculture research, including critical on-farm research and farmer technical assistance through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program and the regional Climate Hubs.
  • Farmers need crop insurance options that support resilience and adaptation. To that end, the ARA requires the Risk Management Agency to recognize all Natural Resources Conservation Service practices as good farming practices.
  • Beginning farmers and farmers of color need financial support for their expert work on building climate-friendly systems. The ARA offers expanded assistance to farmers of color and beginning farmers.
  • Farmers need investments in climate-friendly systems like advanced grazing management, agroforestry, organic agriculture, improved manure management, soil health, composting, user-friendly on-farm renewable energy, and other practices that sequester carbon. The ARA invests in these ecologically beneficial systems across a range of programs.

We cannot afford to wait. Climate change is an urgent challenge. Agriculture can and must be part of this country’s bold climate action. Please act now to incorporate the Agriculture Resilience Act into the 2023 Farm Bill.

Sincerely,

Your Name Here


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