By Jeff Schahczenski, NCAT Agricultural and Natural Resource Economist
American farmers are stepping up to demonstrate that agriculture can be an important part of the climate solution by improving the resilience of America’s food system, reducing emissions, and facilitating on-farm production of renewable energy. Now, thousands of U.S. farmers and ranchers have signed a joint letter calling on partners in the private and public sector to help advance these solutions and invest in our rural and agricultural communities.
One farmer who signed onto the letter is Nina Prater, a soil health specialist for the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and a farmer in Cedarville, Arkansas. “As a farmer, I understand first-hand how intricately my livelihood—and the entire system of food production—is tied in with nature. Climate change is throwing all natural patterns out of order, and this disrupts our ability to produce food in an economically viable way. Farmers are uniquely positioned to help solve the problem of climate change through soil carbon sequestration,” Prater said.
In November 2019, NCAT agriculture economist Jeff Schahczenski co-authored a major report on agriculture and climate change that identified federal policy initiatives that would support farmers who are committed to being part of the climate solution. The report, published by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, identifies policy opportunities to:
• build soil organic matter, soil health, and agricultural resilience;
• sequester C in soil and above-ground biomass;
• reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
• use resources sustainably; and
• maximize energy conservation.
NCAT is working with NSAC and its 116 member groups to make sure farmers have a direct voice in the national conversation about climate solutions in agriculture. In just a few months, more than 2000 farmers and ranchers from nearly every state have signed the letter. We have been overwhelmed with the response and want to build on this momentum!
If you are a food producer, please add your voice by April 15. Email addresses and contact information captured through the Google forms document will not be shared, sold, or retained by NSAC or any other party. Click here to read the letter and add your name.
Later this spring, NCAT, NSAC and partner groups will share this Farmer Letter on Climate Change in meetings with members of Congress, USDA program leaders, and other key decision-makers to urge effective policy action to combat climate change, and especially to help farmers and ranchers weather the storm and lead the way towards a more resilient future.
If you have any questions about the letter, contact Jeff Schahczenski at firstname.lastname@example.org.