Organizations Urge Congress to Invest in Climate-Focused Ag Improvements
Over 450 conservation, consumer, farm, and environmental groups have collaborated on a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy requesting Congress to allocate $200 billion in new funding over the next 10 years to increase farm bill conservation, research, renewable energy, forestry, and regional food system and supply chain resilience programs, as well as the agriculture, forestry, and rural-related elements already contained in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan.
“We believe such an agriculture and climate package of at least $200 billion would represent a fair share for agriculture, one that reflects both the urgent need for U.S. agriculture to adapt to a rapidly changing climate as well as the tremendous opportunity our farmers, ranchers, private forest owners, and rural small businesses have to contribute to climate change mitigation,” the letter stated. “It would enable at least a doubling of farm bill conservation program funding while also addressing other key underfunded areas in the urgent efforts needed to enhance agricultural resilience, improve soil health, sequester carbon in the soil, and reduce emissions from the agricultural sector.”
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) sent the letter on behalf of the organizations. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that should result in new investments in resilient food and farming systems and transform how we tackle the climate crisis,” said Eric Deeble, NSAC Policy Director. “Making these investments now is key to achieving carbon-neutral agriculture, building increased resilience, improving rural economies, and increasing job and farming opportunities.”
President Biden has made it clear through several actions that climate is one of his top priorities, and agriculture plays a role in helping achieve his goal of negative emission farming. The letter notes the opportunity for “significant funding for important new programs -- Assistance to States for Soil Health, Alternative Manure Management Program grants, long-term Grassland CRP enrollments, Soil Health Equipment Grants, and Meat and Poultry Processing Resilience grants -- recognizing gaps in current USDA programs that if implemented could significantly improve rural infrastructure and climate outcomes.”
The animal agriculture sector has made significant changes and innovations to help the global climate problem. Check out this article published in The Journal of Animal Science that describes improvements in the environment by the United States dairy cattle industry between 2007 and 2017.
Read the letter here.