Farming has always been a risky business. But today, extreme weather events and trade wars are creating challenges that threaten food production and jeopardize farmers’ livelihoods. We must work to keep farmers on the land and in business.
We know that climate change impacts agriculture. Farmers are on the frontlines of climate change. The changing climate necessitates urgent action, and farmers are an essential part of the climate solution. Climate change could jeopardize agricultural productivity, alter the nutrient content of crops, increase the price of food, and create other challenges. We need to support farmers in mitigating the effects of climate change now.
We also know that agriculture impacts climate change. Agricultural activities contributed 8.4% of total US greenhouse gas emissions in 2017. We can reduce that number and sequester more carbon in the soil by providing farmers with more diverse, voluntary, incentive-based conservation options. Farmers are already environmental stewards and have a clear interest in adopting conservation practices and renewable energy systems, based on adoption rate increases in the last USDA Census of Agriculture.
Luckily we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. USDA already has a suite of research and conservation programs that we can build off of. Unlike other industries, agriculture is unique in that crops can draw down carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil. Farmers are an integral part of the climate solution. This bill aims to give farmers the tools they need to become net-zero by 2040.