August 25, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laura Zaks
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Release: Letter Urges Congressional Leaders to Prioritize Climate Solutions for Agriculture in Budget Reconciliation
Washington, D. C., August 25, 2021 – Today the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) along with 62 leading farming, environmental, and rural development organizations, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Debbie Stabenow, and Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, David Scott, calling for a robust reconciliation package that advances climate friendly agriculture, food systems, and equity.
Along with NSAC, the group of signatories includes: American Sustainable Business Council, Earth Justice, National Family Farm Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, Rural Coalition, among other groups, who are urging Congressional leaders to dramatically increase public investments in sustainable farming and farming communities. Over the next month, Congress is writing a budget reconciliation bill proposing several trillion dollars in climate change and green infrastructure investments that could pass later this fall – and it includes approximately $135 billion designated for food and agriculture.
“The time for transformative investments to help farmers address the climate crisis is now. This reconciliation package is a down payment on programs that farmers need now to build more resilient food systems. Our organizations have come together to support this groundbreaking request,” said Eric Deeble, NSAC Policy Director.
Acknowledging USDA’s track record of marginalization of small-scale farmers and discrimination against farmers of color, which leaves many on the brink of financial ruin; the letter underscores the need to remove barriers that these and other farmers face, through debt relief and other tools that address access to land and capital, regionally and culturally appropriate technical assistance, research, and market development. These farmers are often leaders in climate-friendly agriculture, innovators in regionally tailored farming practices, and key providers of food for local communities. Consequently it is critically important that this reconciliation package contains resources to stabilize the operations of these producers while creating opportunities for the next generation to become successful stewards of the land.
The group of signatories calls for a reconciliation package that directs significant funding to climate-friendly agriculture and resources for underserved producers. The letter asks specifically for at a minimum:
In addition, the letter lays out a number of recommendations regarding the creation of a Civilian Conservation Corps that are foundational to building a sustainable and equitable future for rural and food producing communities.
“NSAC stands with its allies in requesting bold investments that will support the next generation of farmers, including beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. This bill could invest billions in renewable energy, on-farm conservation practices, climate and agriculture research, resilient food systems, and much more. We recognize the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for the agricultural sector to be a central part of the solution,” said Eric Deeble, NSAC Policy Director, adding that: “We urge Congress to finalize and pass the full reconciliation bill without delay or without diminished topline funding.”
The full letter is available 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: https://sustainableagriculture.net/