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RELEASE: Agriculture Resilience Act Delivers Bold Vision for Net Zero Agriculture

April 22, 2021


Contact: Eric Deeble

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Email: edeeble@sustainableagriculture.net 

Agriculture Resilience Act Delivers Bold Vision for Net Zero Agriculture

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Applauds Trailblazing Climate and Agriculture Bill

Washington, DC, April 22, 2021 – Today, Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA), which outlines a farmer-focused, research-driven path to net zero agriculture. This Earth Week, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is proud to endorse a bill delivering a bold vision for the future of agriculture. The ARA will refocus federal 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 know the fundamental threat that the climate crisis poses to their livelihoods and the viability of agriculture and have called on Congress to support them as they implement climate stewardship practices and build resilience to climate stresses. In response to American producers, Representative Pingree (D-ME) and Senator Heinrich (D-NM) offer the ARA and express their commitment:

Extreme weather events are upending farmers’ bottom lines, threatening their businesses and risking the future of our food supply. Congress must work to keep farmers on their land, and we must work to empower those farmers to implement climate-smart practices that reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and increase their resilience in the face of climate change,said Congresswoman Pingree. “The Agriculture Resilience Act focuses on solutions that are farmer-driven in order to reach net-zero emissions in this sector by 2040. Climate change deserves a whole-of-government approach, and I’m looking forward to working with the Biden administration to ensure farmers have a seat at the table as we work to address the climate crisis.

“New Mexico’s farmers and ranchers, whose livelihoods depend on the health of our land and water, are 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 U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich. “I’m proud to join 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 utilizes existing farm bill programs to keep farmers on the land and in business, while equipping them with the tools and resources they need to be active partners in our efforts to mitigate the climate crisis by doubling funding for conservation programs and tripling agricultural research funding.

The bill was first introduced in the House last Congress and the reintroduced version of the bill, now with a Senate companion, incorporates important modifications. The new version has several co-sponsors in the Senate and House, including Senators Sanders (I-VT), Gillibrand (D-NY), and Blumenthal (D-CT), and Representatives Spanberger (D-VA), Khanna (D-CA), Carbajal (D-CA), Hayes (D-CT), McGovern (D-MA), and Kuster (D-NH).

The new version of the ARA:

  • Expands provisions to better serve and prioritize farmers of color, as well as beginning and veteran farmers and ranchers;
  • Makes conservation programs more accessible to organic and transitioning to organic producers; and
  • Incorporates perennial agriculture throughout the bill, recognizing the climate mitigation and adaptation contributions of these production systems.

In response to the introduction of the bill, NSAC issued the following comment:

“NSAC is proud to endorse the Agriculture Resilience Act and wish to thank Representative Pingree and Senator Heinrich for their leadership in this vital work,” said Eric Deeble, NSAC Policy Director. “This bill continues to be the most comprehensive piece of legislation on climate and agriculture and includes actionable steps toward achieving net zero emissions by 2040.”

“Farmers and ranchers are increasingly being recognized as an essential part of the solution to the climate crisis,” said Deeble. “They are committed to healthy soils and resilient, sustainable production systems because they face the rising pressures of a changing climate every day and they know what’s at stake – their livelihood and their legacies. The ARA puts producers at the center of meaningful and long-lasting policy action on climate change. NSAC supports this bill and hopes that Congress will include the funding elements in the infrastructure and climate bill under consideration this year, with the balance of the proposed policy changes for inclusion in the next farm bill.”

The tenets of the ARA are fully in line with the recommendations of NSAC’s 2019 climate report, Agriculture and Climate Change: Policy Imperatives and Opportunities to Help Producers Meet the Challenge, and have the full support of our 130+ member organizations nationwide.

The updated section by section and fact sheet for the ARA can be found here.


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

Categories: Beginning and Minority Farmers, Carousel, Conservation, Energy & Environment, Local & Regional Food Systems, Organic, Press Releases, Research, Education & Extension, Rural Development, Sustainable Livestock

2 responses to “RELEASE: Agriculture Resilience Act Delivers Bold Vision for Net Zero Agriculture”

  1. Anne Curran says:

    Fantastic News! Will share with other members of my Baltimore City community vegetable co-op and others.
    Are there are Republicans supporting these efforts?

  2. Mary Gilbert says:

    Your article implies but does not clearly specify support for small businesses, like family farms. I worry about the takeover of small farms by large corporate entities who understand national and international marketing, but do not understand soil. And there is this trend whereby corporations own the actual land, or own the crops, and the farmer who lives there is essentially an employee. Is there support for limiting this trend? I am watching to see where opposition to this legislation will come from.