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FACA releases farm bill recommendations

The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, a broad-based group, on Wednesday released its policy recommendations for the 2023 farm bill, emphasizing that Congress should pass a farm bill that continues “voluntary, bipartisan climate solutions.”
In a joint statement after a Capitol Hill news conference, members of the alliance said that “the farm bill is essential legislation that impacts every family in America and has enormous potential to help the food, agriculture and forestry sectors achieve their climate mitigation potential while preserving and creating new economic opportunities. Further reducing emissions throughout agricultural and forestry supply chains will require a comprehensive effort involving financial and technical assistance, research investments, proactive response to innovation, public-private partnerships and a commitment to equitable opportunities for all producers.”
FACA’s recommendations, developed by the 23-member steering committee, are divided into six categories:
▪ Conservation, risk management and credit
▪ Energy
▪ Food waste
▪ Forestry
▪ Livestock and dairy
▪ Research, Extension and innovation
Leaders of FACA’s founding organizations and co-chairs emphasized different priorities in their individual statements.
Rob Larew, president of National Farmers Union, said: “Climate change continues to be a serious threat to farmers, ranchers and their communities. Farmers are already implementing practices to address the climate crisis and make their farms more resilient. The farm bill presents an opportunity to build upon the programs that support these voluntary, incentive-based practices. FACA’s farm bill recommendations will establish a strong foundation to support farmers and ranchers in sequestering carbon, building soil health and reducing emissions for years to come.”
Larew
Larew-RFP-022327
Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, said: “Throughout our work, FACA has been driven by the recognition that the farm bill is also a food bill, having importance beyond agriculture and impacting every family in America. Consumers are increasingly interested in both where their food comes from and the climate impact of what they eat. By helping America’s farmers, ranchers, and growers continue adoption of more climate-friendly farming practices, the recommendations will help producers meet growing consumer preferences. Also, by building on and strengthening efforts to combat food waste in the 2018 farm bill, the recommendations would ensure that the resources put towards growing and producing food are used as efficiently as possible.”
Elizabeth Gore, senior vice president for political affairs at Environmental Defense Fund, said: “The farm bill is one of the biggest opportunities to advance conservation and climate solutions in the U.S. FACA’s recommendations will make it easier for farmers, ranchers and foresters to help stabilize the climate, while building resilience to climate impacts that are already affecting crops and livestock. In doing so, they can continue to produce food for a growing population and support vibrant agricultural and rural economies.”
Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said: “Despite a pandemic, severe weather, volatile markets and rising costs, farmers continue to meet the growing needs of America’s families, and the farm bill helps make that possible. We look forward to working with Congress to strengthen Title I programs, improve risk management tools, and utilize these FACA recommendations to advance our sustainability mission in a manner that respects farmers and ranchers as partners.”
Chris Novak, president and CEO of CropLife America, who co-chaired FACA’s Research, Extension, and Innovation working group, emphasized that Congress should pass a bill that will:
▪ Help to ensure USDA Climate Hubs maximize research opportunities and outreach;
▪ Facilitate innovation to build strong and sustainable agriculture and food systems;
▪ Reauthorize and fund the Research Facilities Act;
▪ Strengthen grant programs through the Cooperative Extension System; and
▪ Provide consistent and comprehensive evaluation mechanisms for climate-smart agriculture practices, including measurement, verification, and data collection.
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