Farmers and ranchers are on the front lines of the climate crisis. They also hold a unique position to deliver solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve our soils’ ability to sequester carbon, and strengthen the resilience of our food and farming systems. Thousands of farmers nationwide have signed a letter to Congress highlighting the impacts of the climate crisis on their operations and the need for federal investment in agricultural solutions to a changing climate.
NSAC organized a call with members of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, where farmers delivered the letter and shared their stories with legislators and called for support from Congress. Now is the time to make sure that farmers and ranchers are included in future climate legislation and that Congress provides the tools and resources they need to be active leaders in our efforts to combat the climate crisis. In any future climate legislation, agriculture needs to have a robust title with policy solutions that empower and reward farmers for being climate stewards.
Sample Call Script: Hi, my name is [your name] and I’m a constituent [also let them know if you’re a farmer or rancher]. I’d like to share a message with [Senator/Representative_____] to ensure that farmers and ranchers are included in future climate legislation and that Congress provides the resources they need to combat the climate crisis.
I encourage [Senator/Representative _____] to support … [choose one or more of the important asks below!]
We are counting on [Senator/Representative _____] to stand with our nation’s farmers and ranchers in meeting the challenges of a changing climate.
Farmers and ranchers are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, and they have real solutions to offer to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve carbon sinks, and protect our food security as they adapt to greater weather extremes — but resources are needed. The Farmer Letter on Climate Change Solutions in Agriculture lifted up farmer voices in the national conversation about the climate crisis and what farmers need to be a part of the solution. The letter — now with more than 2,100 signatures— will be delivered via Zoom to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis on August 27, 2020. The call will feature several farmer letter signatories and other national grassroots leaders on climate issues.
The Select Committee’s action plan lays out the steps Congress needs to take to put our country on a path to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The agriculture section of the Select Committee’s report includes seven major components: increasing carbon sequestration and resilience, decreasing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, improving technical assistance and research, supporting on-farm renewable energy and energy efficiency, supporting the next generation of farmers, preserving farmland, and reducing food waste.
Earlier this year, Maine farmer and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced the Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA) to address one of the most pressing farm issues of our day: climate change. The legislation’s programmatic sections are divided into six titles: agricultural research, soil health, farmland preservation and viability, pasture-based livestock, on-farm renewable energy, and food waste. The vast majority of the provisions in the ARA were included in the Select Committee report. See our blog summarizing the agriculture chapter of the report, which also highlights the ARA provisions.
Note: as opposed to the two asks above which are intended for both House and Senate, this ask is just for the House (AKA your Representative, not Senator), as this is a House bill.
The most effective thing you can do is share your own story in your own voice — with photos. Most importantly, speak up about:
You don’t need to have all the answers – just be willing to speak up in your own words! Your own stories, photos, and questions are most important, as is tagging your Members of Congress and using our hashtag: #farmers4climate (bonus: if you use this hashtag, NSAC will be able to share your post!)
I am increasingly seeing the impacts of climate change on my farm in [your state/district]. This is a photo of [your fields, your crops, etc] – [share your story here – how has your farm been impacted and what does the photo illustrate?]. We are doing our best as environmental stewards to mitigate the effects of climate change through [what methods are you using?], but we need Congress to provide the resources we need to be leaders in combating the climate crisis. @[your member of Congress] #farmers4climate
Do you work with a network of farmers and “ag-vocates”? As allies and advocates, we want to be able to support farmers and ranchers in a way that is productive and effective. You can encourage farmers and partners you have relationships with to weigh in via social media and by sharing their stories with their Members of Congress directly using the resources/asks above.