FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: https://www.youngfarmers.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Screen-Shot-2021-08-17-at-2.19.49-PM-2-1.png, National Young Farmers Coalition
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Washington, D.C. (April 22, 2021) – Today, Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1) and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA) in Congress, which outlines a farmer-focused, research-driven path to net zero agriculture. This Earth Week, National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) is proud to endorse this bill on behalf of the next generation of farmers and ranchers as part of the solution to the climate crisis.
The urgency of the climate crisis requires making US agriculture resilient to climate impacts while moving the agricultural sector toward climate neutrality. Farmers and ranchers recognize the fundamental threat that the climate crisis poses to agriculture and our shared future and they have unique solutions to offer.
The Agriculture Resilience Act will expand resources for sustainable farmers working hard to build healthy soils and fight climate change, building on six key focus areas: increasing investment in agricultural research, improving soil health, supporting the transition to pasture-based livestock, ensuring farmland preservation and viability, promoting on-farm renewable energy production, and reducing food waste.
“Climate risk is a present and unavoidable fact – and farming communities live that experience,” said Martin Lemos, Co-Executive Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition. “We know the future of agriculture will be defined by how we collectively manage the risk of climate change and generate community resilience. We have long needed a dedicated, whole-of-government approach and a federal commitment to provide us with the resources we need to manage and work our farms safely. This legislation is one of the strongest climate-agriculture proposals not only because it acknowledges the need to prioritize resilience instead of mitigation, but also because it brings a multi-faceted analysis of climate risk that incorporates land access challenges that will limit our climate action. It is legislation that comprehends the necessity of resourcing our farming communities with specific attention to communities of color. We are grateful to the leadership of Representative Chellie Pingree and Senator Martin Heinrich for putting forth legislation that will substantively address climate risk for our farming communities and reinforce our shared resilience.”
The ARA utilizes existing programs to keep farmers on the land and in business, while equipping them with the tools and resources they need to be active partners in our efforts to mitigate the climate crisis. It refocuses existing conservation, research, renewable energy, and rural economic development programs on climate resilience and will reward farmers for the ecosystem services they provide.
The ARA was first introduced last Congress and the reintroduced version of the bill, now with a Senate companion, incorporates important modifications. The ARA expands provisions to better serve farmers of color, as well as beginning and veteran farmers and ranchers; makes conservation programs more accessible to organic and transitioning to organic producers; and incorporates perennial agriculture throughout the bill, recognizing the climate mitigation and adaptation contributions of these production systems.
Young farmers and BIPOC farmers need secure land tenure and better access to new and existing federal conservation programs to do their part, and they need farmers and ranchers to work towards climate solutions that will lessen the impacts of climate change for all. We need comprehensive climate legislation that provides resources to young farmers and farmers of color who will combat climate change and build farm resiliency into the future.
In response to the introduction of the bill, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), of which Young Farmers is a member, issued the following comment:
“Farmers and ranchers are increasingly being recognized as an essential part of the solution to the climate crisis,” said Eric Deeble, NSAC Policy Director. “As they deal with increasing pressures brought on by a changing climate, they know what’s at stake and are committed to healthy soils and resilient, sustainable ecosystems. This legislation centers agriculture to ensure inclusion of the sector in meaningful and long-lasting policy action on climate change. NSAC is pleased to support this important bill, and to continue advocating for policies that support sustainable family farming.”
The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) is a national grassroots network of young farmers fighting for a brighter, more equitable future for U.S. agriculture. Visit Young Farmers on the web at www.youngfarmers.org, and on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.