FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laura Zaks
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Release: Agriculture Resilience Act Delivers Farming’s Solutions to the Climate Crisis
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Applauds Crucial Climate and Agriculture Bill
Washington, DC, March 28, 2023 – Today, Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1) and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA) in both the House and Senate. The ARA outlines a farmer-focused, science-based path to agricultural climate mitigation and adaptation. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is proud to endorse this bill which delivers a bold vision for the future of agriculture. The ARA would refocus Farm Bill conservation, research, renewable energy, and rural economic development programs on climate resilience and empower farmers and ranchers eager to drive climate change solutions on the ground.
Farmers and ranchers have experienced the profound effects of the climate crisis as they have dealt with increasingly extreme conditions including floods, drought, wildfires, and increasing pest pressures. Recognizing that solutions are needed in the next farm bill, more than a thousand farmers have signed on in support of the Agriculture Resilience Act. Recently hundreds of farmers, ranchers, and advocates assembled at the Capitol to demand climate action in the farm bill. Moreover, there is a clear public perception that climate change will have negative effects on agriculture, and that the government should provide incentives for farmers to adopt improved conservation practices. The fact that such concerns and beliefs have strong support from those who identify with both major parties suggests that this bill should receive bipartisan support.
Representative Pingree and Senator Heinrich offer vital support to farmers and ranchers in the form of the ARA. They underscore their commitment to producers:
“Climate change is one of the most pressing issues for farmers and our food system, which is why we must prioritize climate-smart solutions in the next Farm Bill. Across the U.S., farmers are on the frontlines of the climate crisis – dealing with severe drought, flooding, wildfires, and other extreme weather conditions. Challenges of this scale demand bold solutions. Unlike other industries, agriculture is unique in that crops can draw down carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil,” said Representative Pingree, a longtime farmer.
“As my Agriculture Committee colleagues and I negotiate the next Farm Bill, I will be fighting to give farmers more resources to tackle the climate crisis,” Pingree said. “The Agriculture Resilience Act aims to give farmers the tools they need to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. My landmark bill sets an ambitious but achievable goal: to reduce agricultural emissions 50% by 2030 and to reach net-zero by 2040.”
“New Mexico’s farmers and ranchers’ livelihoods depend on the health of our land and water. They are also on the frontlines of the climate crisis and know all too well the effects that extreme weather events can have on their operations. Through regenerative agriculture and soil management, our producers can simultaneously make their land more resilient and play a large role in the fight against climate change,” said Senator Heinrich. “I’m proud to partner with Congresswoman Pingree, an organic farmer of more than 40 years, to introduce the Agriculture Resilience Act, which sets a national goal of achieving net-zero emissions in agriculture by 2040 through farmer-led, science-based initiatives. This legislation will make ambitious investments to help our farmers and ranchers improve soil health, expand conservation programs, increase research into climate agricultural practices, and support on-farm renewable energy projects.“
The ARA represents a comprehensive approach to climate and agriculture legislation that offers both funding for farmer-led solutions and policy specifics that ensure targeting of the practices of the highest ecological value. The bill represents an important step forward toward building a public climate and agriculture research framework that will benefit communities. In addition, it provides expanded opportunities for farmers of color as well as states and Tribes to more fully implement their own climate change solutions.
In response to the reintroduction of the bill, NSAC released the following comment:
“The ARA includes the provisions and investments needed in the 2023 Farm Bill to ensure the long-term viability of our farms and food system. Climate change presents a fundamental threat to farms as increasing challenges from extreme heat, drought, flooding, catastrophic wildfire, and rapidly shifting pests and diseases expand farm risks. Farmers and ranchers across the country understand the solutions and stewardship practices they most need to build resilience to climate stresses and protect their livelihoods. Investments in conservation and farm programs that increase the resilience of our farming communities are more essential than ever,” said Cathy Day, PhD, NSAC Climate Policy Coordinator.
The new version of the ARA heightens the focus of the bill on important climate and agriculture solutions, including perennial practices like agroforestry, agrivoltaics that combine agriculture and renewable energy goals, and the breeding of regionally-adapted crop varieties and animal breeds. By offering both incentives and research in support of solutions on which sustainable farmers are already taking the lead, the bill expands opportunities for the establishment of strong, farmer- and community-led strategies for resolving the climate crisis.
The updated section-by-section can be found here. Farmers can continue to signal their support for the bill by signing the ARA Farmer Climate Letter.
About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: https://sustainableagriculture.net