Agricultural Alliance to fight climate change is gaining momentum

In an effort to support the Biden administration’s efforts to tackle climate change, an alliance of organizations that have clashed heads in the past is forming. the Alliance for Food and Agriculture (FACA), a mix of agricultural and environmental organizations, now has 42 members.

FACA is made up of entities representing farmers, ranchers, forest owners, the food industry, state governments and conservationists who work together to define and promote climate policy priorities. Biden’s administration and Congress have expressed interest in the FACA recommendations and will work with organizations on how to achieve the proposed climate change targets. In response, the alliance’s policy working groups produce more detailed and specific proposals focusing on the concept of carbon banking, tax credits and other incentives, as well as climate research.

In November, the FACA released more than 40 recommendations, although many were only just beginning to materialize without any details of implementation. Today, however, alliance leaders are producing more structured proposals.

“We are encouraged that House and Senate leaders are asking for more detailed guidance to meet the FACA climate goals and recommendations,” said American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall , in a press release. “It is important that any new climate policy respects the people who will be most affected – farmers and ranchers. FACA’s more than 40 proposals demonstrate that farmers and ranchers must be treated as partners as we work together to build on the impressive progress already made towards climate-smart agriculture.

The group is work on development a set of policy recommendations for federal lawmakers in six specific areas: soil health, livestock and dairy, forestry and wood products, energy, research, and food loss and waste.

Agricultural and forestry climate policy requirements must be based on voluntary and incentive programs and market-driven opportunities, promote resilience and adaptation in rural communities and must be science-based.

Climate change has had a significant impact on agriculture over the past decades and gives groups – who have differed in the past on a number of issues – a chance to come together for mutual benefit.

In 2019, Columbia University published an article warning that agriculture was on a tipping point. Geoffrey Heal, an environmental economist at Columbia Business School, said that while agriculture makes up a relatively small share of the country’s total economy, “locally these effects could be significant. There are about a dozen states in the Midwest that are very dependent on agriculture and they could take a big hit. “

According to the school, extreme rain events have increased 37% in the Midwest over the past 70 years.

A 2015 study has shown that at the global level, climate change will lead to a drop in agricultural productivity (between -2% and -15% by 2050), an increase in food prices (between 1.3% and 56%) and expansion of cultivated areas (between 1% and 4%) by 2050.

In 2011, a Report of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that for every degree Celsius the world thermostat increases, there will be a 5-15% decrease in global agricultural production. This would have an extreme impact on staple crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, cotton, and oats that don’t grow well above certain temperatures.

A study published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science found that damage in agriculture could reach the annual loss of 0.3% of future total gross domestic product at the end of the century on a global scale, assuming a further opening of trade in agricultural products.

“For an incentive program to be meaningful, it must be simple, transparent, and deliver immediate tangible benefits,” said Max Teplitski, Scientific Director of the Produce Marketing Association, in a press release. “PMA sees it as our responsibility to ensure that, in collaboration with environmental groups, professional associations and nonprofits, we help stimulate the debate on how to make these incentives meaningful.”

The FACA, which was created last year, had four original members: AFBF, the National Council of Farmers’ Cooperatives, the Environmental Defense Fund and the National Farmers Union. Shortly after the initial alliance, four new members joined, including the Food Industry Association, the National Forest Owners Alliance, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and Conservation. of nature.

Following recent growth last week, new steering committee members also include American Seed Trade Association, American Sugar Alliance, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau, Ducks Unlimited, Agricultural Credit Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Milk Producers Federation, PMA and USA Rice Federation.

A hearing is set for Thursday at the House Agriculture Committee on climate change.

About Mary Moser

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