Groups announce the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance
An alliance of groups representing farmers, forest owners, the food sector, state governments and environmental advocates on Tuesday, Nov. 17 unveiled a set of recommendations to guide the development of federal climate policy.
The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) was formed in February 2020 by four groups that now co-chair the alliance: American Farm Bureau Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and National Farmers Union. The alliance has since expanded to include FMI — The Food Industry Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and The Nature Conservancy.
Together, the group developed more than 40 recommendations based on three principles: agricultural and forestry climate policies must be built upon voluntary, incentive-based programs and market-driven opportunities; they must promote resilience and adaptation in rural communities; and they must be science-based.
“These recommendations share an overarching goal to do no harm,” FACA said. “Climate policies will impact farmers, forest owners, ranchers, rural and limited-resources communities, wildlife and natural resources and must be thoughtfully crafted to account for any potential inequities, consequences and tradeoffs.”
“We are proud to have broken through historical barriers to form this unique alliance focused on climate policy,” said Zippy Duvall, FACA co-chair and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “We began discussions not knowing whether we would ultimately reach agreement. It was important to me to reject punitive climate policy ideas of the past in favor of policies that respect farmers and support positive change. Our final recommendations do just that.”
“The wide array of perspectives represented in this group — farmers, ranchers, forest owners and environmental advocates — sends a powerful message to Capitol Hill about the urgent need for bipartisan climate legislation,” said Fred Krupp, FACA co-chair and president of Environmental Defense Fund. “More resilient farms and forests protect the agricultural economy, reduce risk from the climate impacts that are already here and help prevent worsening climate impacts in the future.”
FACA Co-chair Chuck Conner, president of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, said, “Much as a farmer co-op gets its strength from uniting many producers to achieve a single goal, so too does FACA. Through FACA, the food, forestry and agriculture sectors can speak with a single voice on climate and, leveraging the unique perspectives and special talents of its members, help drive the conversation about the role that the food, forestry and agriculture sector can play in addressing climate policy.”
Rob Larew, FACA co-chair and president of National Farmers Union, said, “Climate change is adding another enormous variable to the already unpredictable work of farming. Every year, farmers face more frequent and severe weather events, making it just that much harder to make a profit. There are concrete actions farmers can take to build resilience to weather extremes and pull carbon out of the atmosphere, but they need strong policy behind them. The recommendations we’ve compiled are a good place to start.”
“Through authentic conversations with leaders from the climate, forestry and agriculture sectors, this group has pioneered a strategic plan to achieve our shared goal of empowering farmers to better protect and nourish our natural resources,” NASDA CEO Barb Glenn said.
Laura Wood Peterson of Indigo Ag said, “Indigo Ag welcomes the creation of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance. By making a nature-based tax credit for farmers central to its policy proposal, the FACA is accelerating the role of agriculture as a climate solution. Carbon as a cash crop presents a new income stream for farmers and is one of the most cost-effective ways to address climate change.”
Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said, “While agriculture and forestry are uniquely affected by the climate crisis, they are also a key part of the solution. We need to significantly scale up sustainable practices on farms and in forests that benefit producers and address the climate crisis. It’s great to see agriculture, forestry, and environmental leaders teaming up to advance common-sense climate solutions. I look forward to reviewing their recommendations and working with them to enact many of these policies into law.”
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I remember my dad saying, “Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.” But before we get to the history lesson, consider this: