Thursday, September 12, 2019

State ag departments call for more research, incentives to help farmers adapt to increasingly severe weather

"The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture adopted new policies on climate resiliency at the group’s annual meeting in New Mexico, citing the need to safeguard the food and ag supply chain," Ryan McCrimmon reports for Politico's Morning Agriculture. "The policy framework calls for more climate research and incentive programs that help the industry adapt to increasingly severe weather."

The resolution says such weather is hurting ag producers' bottom lines and decreasing food security. And, though many already employ greener methods, more investment in research and incentive programs will help farmers and ranchers adopt practices that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration, and adjust to the changing climate. 

The NASDA resolution specifically called for:
  • Voluntary, incentive-based programs designed to sustainably increase productivity and incomes, help farmers and ranchers become more resilient and adapt better to the climate, and reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions where possible.
  • More advocacy and outreach to increase lawmakers' and consumers' awareness of the risks of climate change to the ag industry and food security, as well as awareness of environmentally responsible practices farmers and ranchers can adopt.
  • Encouraging governments, corporations, and philanthropists to collaborate with local communities and state ag departments to establish and expand voluntary, incentive-based programs that promote greener ag practices.
  • Encouraging Congress to enact and fund voluntary, incentive-based green ag programs in the next Farm Bill and in other bills.
  • Encouraging Congress to support research and forecasting tools to help farmers and ranchers adapt to the effects of a changing climate, including increased pests and disease, changes in cropping systems, and increases in extreme weather.
  • Expanding federal tools to incentivize and better measure soil health improvements, such as the soil health provision in the 2018 Farm Bill.
McCrimmon notes that the announcement comes just a few days after the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded more than $3 billion in aid for farmers affected by natural disasters. "As the price tag of such aid keeps rising, lawmakers are also looking to boost mandatory funding for ag research programs that could help brace farmers and ranchers for future disasters," McCrimmon reports.

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