Ag groups ask Congress to invest $200 billion in climate-focused ag improvements in the American Jobs Plan


Ag groups ask Congress to invest $200 billion in climate-focused ag improvements in the American Jobs Plan

More than 450 farm groups and businesses are asking Congressional leaders to invest $200 billion over 10 years to address agriculture, climate, and infrastructure needs.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition sent a letter on behalf of the organizations highlighting the need to bolster farm bill conservation, research, ag-related elements, and more already contained in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan.

Eric Deeble is policy director of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.  

“There is a dawning realization that farmers are an essential part of the solution to climate change. Farmers and other types of ag producers have been affected by a changing climate and changing weather patterns for years and they understand this and have tools available to them that can help them adapt to the changing climate and begin to mitigate the climate crisis by adopting additional conservation practices,” he says. “This change in administration and a prioritization around climate change both at USDA and across the government has created an environment in which we think significant investment in programs that help farmers adopt additional conservation programs, specifically those that help put carbon back into the soil, are going to be incredibly important as we look to transform our food production system to a more sustainable one.”

He tells Brownfield the investment, anchored by principles and programs found in the bicameral Agriculture Resilience Act and Climate Stewardship Act can help address climate change and infrastructure needs.

“What we’ve chosen to do in this letter and with the support of those 450 farm organizations was to highlight a couple of bills that have been introduced in previous Congresses. Both pieces of legislation focus on existing programs and ways they can be modified to be more focused on climate adaptation and mitigation and expanded to address the most important and urgent elements of the climate crisis,” he says. “There are lots of other conversations that are happening in and around agriculture including carbon banks and carbon markets, but some of those conversations will take awhile to develop. We think using the ARA and CSA in focusing additional resources in the ways those two bills spell out is going to be an effective way to get started right now helping farmers to adopt more conservation practices.”

The letter emphasizes support for inclusion of key funding elements from those bills in the agriculture portion of the American Jobs Plan Act.

Deeble says an agriculture and climate package of at least $200 billion is a key down payment toward climate change mitigation, resilience, and expanded program access.

“We think that by making these investments now over a 10-year timeframe, it’s going to give farmers the additional incentive to adopt these practices,” he says. “So, down the line if there is an additional incentive program to help farmers adopt more climate mitigation practices, this investment will get those farmers headed in the right direction and build momentum.”

He says the investment could be used for programs to improve soil health at the state level and it could help with alternative manure management, long-term enrollments into the Conservation Reserve Program, meat and poultry processing grants, help farmers with equipment grants, and more.

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