July 25, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laura Zaks
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Monday, July 25, 2022, Washington, DC – This week, across the country, advocates for sustainable agriculture are joining together in a week of action to highlight the impacts that farmers increasingly face from climate change and the solutions needed to mitigate and adapt their practices to build greater resiliency and to bolster the food system. The week of action also builds support for the Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA), a comprehensive set of policy changes that would steer agriculture in the US towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 and serves as an important roadmap for how the next farm bill can effectively address climate change.
Farmers in all regions increasingly confront climate-related challenges like extreme weather events (fires, floods, storms), pests, and hotter and drier conditions, among other impacts. These challenges impact productivity and livelihoods and take a toll on natural resources and farmers urgently need greater support and access to federal programs in order to implement effective solutions.
“It has been amazing to see how the land has responded to these animals,” notes Carie Starr of Cherokee Valley Bison Ranch in Thornville, Ohio whose indigenous heritage informs her holistic approach to land stewardship.
Carie raises 46 bison rotationally grazing across 50 acres on the land that her grandmother farmed. As her Bison regenerate the landscape and ecosystem, the ranch also generates essential income and fosters a sense of community. Her ranch sells products at a variety of community food hubs in addition to on-farm retail and is a hotspot for education and farm tours.
Carie’s climate story underscores the need for greater funding for NRCS conservation programs, such as EQIP and CSP, specifically aimed at regenerative systems. Carie has applied for EQIP funding several years in a row and has not received funding. After speaking with a local NRCS agent, Carie learned there were very few pasture programs funded in Ohio.
“In order to mitigate climate change, we need to financially incentivize small farmers growing healthy and safe food,” Carie said.
Experiences like that of Cherokee Valley Bison Ranch help demonstrate why advocates are calling for greater support for the ARA. The bill offers resources to turn agricultural solutions into wins for farmers and producers as well as for consumer health and the environment.
“The bill would provide much needed, and long overdue, support for farmers and ranchers in the face of climate change. By supporting farmers in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon, and increasing farm resilience, the bill prepares agriculture to continuously improve its environmental stewardship and to better weather the challenges climate change presents. In the face of drought, floods, and heat waves, farmers will have the tools they need to transform their farms and thrive well into the future,” said Cathy Day, NSAC Climate Policy Coordinator.
A common thread among all of the stories gathered in our network is that now is the time for bold action on climate change and the ARA is an important pathway to help move our country to net-zero agricultural emissions, while supporting farmer livelihoods.
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: http://sustainableagriculture.net