FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jessica Manly, National Young Farmers Coalition
firstname.lastname@example.org , 518-643-3564 ext. 722
Washington, D.C. (March 28, 2023) 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. The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) is proud to endorse this bill on behalf of the next generation of farmers and ranchers who are a critical part of the solution to the climate crisis.
The urgency of the climate crisis requires making U.S. agriculture resilient to climate impacts while also moving the agricultural sector toward net-zero emissions. 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 that they are already putting into place on their farms.
The ARA expands resources for sustainable farmers working hard to improve soil health and combat climate change, and is focused on six key pillars: 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.
“Simply put, young farmers and ranchers are on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Every day, climate change is affecting how they grow food, raise livestock, and make a living. Despite the increasing challenges, they remain committed to sustainability, fostering healthy soil, and building ecosystem resilience,” said Lotanna Obodozie, Climate Campaign Director for the National Young Farmers Coalition. “The Agriculture Resilience Act is a transformative bill that directly resources farmers and brings the agriculture sector one step closer to achieving its net-zero goals. The National Young Farmers Coalition is grateful for Representative Pingree and Senator Heinrich’s leadership on this issue, and for advocating for the next generation of farmers.”
The ARA utilizes existing programs to keep farmers on the land and in operation, 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.
“Many young farmers in the western U.S. have been growing food in increasingly dry conditions for their entire careers. The changes in the ARA will provide farmers and ranchers with much needed relief by directing conservation dollars to the most dire climate concerns such as the ongoing drought in the West,” said Erin Foster West, Water Director for the National Young Farmers Coalition.
The ARA was first introduced in the 116th Congress and again in the 117th. This version of the bill includes important modifications, including expanding federally supported agriculture research, extension, and education to develop climate-resilient food systems, and reinforcing existing conservation programs by broadening the conservation practices encouraged therein.
Young farmers and farmers of color need secure land tenure and better access to new and existing federal conservation programs to do their part. 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.
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.