Sustainability coalition Farm groups unite on sustainability
Published on Feb. 29, 2020
Farmers for a Sustainable Future is a new coalition of farm groups dedicated to providing a voice for the nation’s farmers in the discussion about climate change.
During an episode of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) podcast published Feb. 19, AFBF Senior Director of Congressional Relations Andrew Walmsley said it is a perfect opportunity for agriculture to be at the table during discussions on sustainability and climate policy.
“Farmers for a Sustainable Future is a recognition that we want to be part of the discussion, whether it’s taking place in the C Suite on Wall Street or on Capitol Hill,” Walmsley says. “It is an opportunity for what we believe is a pretty good story to tell about agriculture’s innovation and sustainability narrative, but also to be a resource for policy makers moving forward.”
Farmers for a Sustainable Future
Farmers for a Sustainable Future represent farmers and ranchers who are committed to producing the world’s food, feed and fiber supply in a sustainable way.
“Farmers and ranchers play a leading role in promoting soil health, conserving water, enhancing wildlife, efficiently using nutrients and caring for their animals,” reads their website. “For decades, they have pushed past the boundaries of innovation by investing in agricultural research and adopting practices with the goals of improving productivity, providing clean and renewable energy and enhancing sustainability.”
“Livestock and crop production are the heart of American agriculture and provide the food we enjoy everyday. Ensuring this production continues sustainably is essential for people and the planet,” the website continues. “Building upon the strong foundation of voluntary stewardship investments and practices, including those in the farm bill, we look forward to working with policy makers to further advance the successful sustainable practices used by U.S. ag producers.”
The website also notes the coalition believes throughout this process, lawmakers must ensure any governmental analysis characterizing U.S. crop and livestock systems reflects U.S. agriculture’s leadership globally in sustainable farming practices.
Agriculture’s sustainability story
“Agriculture accounts for 24 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally, but because of U.S. farmers’ and ranchers’ conservation efforts and improvements in technology, U.S. has lower GHG contributions than other ag industries around the world, averaging nine percent over the last decade, according to the Environmental Protection Agency,” says AFBF’s Host Chad Smith.
This means non-ag sectors including transportation, electricity, commercial and residential sectors make up the other 91 percent.
Of the nine percent GHG emissions in the U.S., beef production makes up two percent, dairy cattle make up less than one percent and pork less than 0.3 percent, according to Farmers for a Sustainable Future’s website.
“According to the USDA, in two generations, farmers have increased their output by 270 percent without using more resources, helping to save water and soil, enhance biodiversity and conserve energy,” Smith adds.
Walmsley notes Farmers for a Sustainable Future will be sharing advancements in sustainability.
“We want to build on that strong foundation of sustainability and let policy makers know first the achievements that we have made, but also that we are looking for partners on what we can do to be even better stewards, what policy options are out there for agriculture and where challenges and pitfalls in policy are that would cause problems for farmers and ranchers,” Walmsley says.
He also notes the new coalition will make sure all policy makers know what today’s farmers and ranchers are doing to be more sustainable than ever.
“There are people who have questions so we want to be here as a resource to provide answers to tell our story to policy makers,” he says. Hannah Bugas is the assistant editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org