Senate Ag’s Schultz launches climate-smart, regenerative ag group

Joe Schultz, who until recently was staff director for Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., will be the inaugural executive director of The Platform for Agriculture and Climate Transformation (PACT), a foundation-funded organization focused on “advancing a full ecosystem of support for climate-smart and regenerative agriculture as a meaningful solution to the climate crisis.”

PACT will “focus on both supporting what leading farmers, ranchers, NGOs, investors, philanthropists, and the private sector are already doing, while also addressing unmet needs that prevent such initiatives from further scaling,” the group said in an announcement released by FGSGlobal.

The announcement said that “PACT will focus on:

▪ Closing the knowledge gap and expanding the toolbox of climate-smart solutions.

▪ Forging public-private partnerships to accelerate the adoption of climate-smart and regenerative practices at scale.

▪ Building a diverse coalition of stakeholders to support climate-smart agriculture policy outcomes.

▪ Creating economic value for farmers and ranchers by supporting markets that underlie profitability, sustainability and resiliency.”

PACT will deploy an array of tools, including grantmaking, coalition-building, and other forms of collaboration, to support federal and state policy, public-private partnerships, on-the-ground projects, innovative research, new technologies, and other initiatives, the announcement said.

“American agriculture must be a solution to the climate crisis while retaining its role as a global food supplier. There is already a tremendous amount of work happening to advance climate-smart agriculture. However, as anyone working in this space will tell you, there are big gaps that hold back effective solutions from scaling. We need all hands on deck to achieve our shared goals,” said Schultz. “PACT is launching an ambitious agenda focused on three key drivers of change – policy, markets and innovation – to help support the farmers, ranchers, businesses, researchers, policymakers, and other leaders bringing lasting science-based solutions to scale.”

PACT said it will operate based on four core principles:

▪ Good ideas come from everywhere: PACT will elevate and advance private and public sector solutions from across the political spectrum.

▪ Farmer-centric: Recent natural disasters have elevated the threat of climate change for many farmers and ranchers. They must be full partners for any climate solutions to scale. Productivity and profitability of working lands are integral to achieving ambitious climate goals.

▪ Inaction isn’t an option: PACT will be constructive, collaborative, and pragmatic in its approach, but cannot accept the status quo.

▪ Scale and innovation: PACT won’t replicate or replace what is already working. It seeks to scale effective climate solutions and support innovation where needed – bringing coordination and capacity to expand the impact of existing philanthropy, corporate commitments, policy advocacy, and individual farmer action.

PACT describes itself as “a new independent donor collaborative supported with initial funding from the Walton Family Foundation, the Builder’s Initiative, Vere, and Conscience Bay Research, with additional support from Crown Family Philanthropies, Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.”

Schultz worked on the past three bipartisan farm bills – including leading negotiations on the 2018 farm bill. Schultz grew up on a fourth-generation family farm in western Ohio, where he remains active in its management. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University and Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.


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