NFU: USDA Must Continue to Proactively Address Climate Change
WASHINGTON – As family farmers and ranchers navigate warmer temperatures and increased weather variability as a result of climate change, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will play a vital role in helping producers adapt to and mitigate the adverse impacts of climate volatility.
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today, highlighting the important work the USDA is carrying out on climate change and urging the Secretary to expand these efforts.
“Climate change is underway, and it is undermining the livelihoods of American family farmers and global food security,” wrote Johnson. “We appreciate the many critical, laudable steps that the USDA has undertaken to help family farmers and ranchers cope with changing weather conditions and participate in climate change mitigation. We urge you to amplify USDA’s commitment to these efforts, and to think creatively about more opportunities to connect with family farmers and ranchers on climate change.”
Johnson pointed to several examples of the important work being done at the USDA on the climate change front, including:
- The Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) efforts to engage producers on the benefits of enhancing soil health and climate resiliency;
- The regional Climate Hub’s efforts to disperse location-specific information on changing weather conditions and what they mean for agriculture among producers;
- The innovative work of the Climate Change Program Office and Office of Environmental Markets, which establish opportunities for producers to receive value for environmental services, diversifying farm income, and ultimately reducing the need for regulation; and
- The many research endeavors that find new ways for producers to improve their margins while reducing greenhouse gasses, and to make their operations more resilient to climate interference, based on sound science and free of political interference.
Johnson noted that the USDA has the expertise to navigate very difficult issues and the ability to carefully craft messages that resonate with family farmers and ranchers.
“While climate change can often be a tough issue to broach in many communities, there is little doubt that farmers and ranchers want to do the right thing and leave the land in a better state than they found it,” said Johnson. “USDA agencies, like the NRCS, are extremely effective at connecting with producers and landowners – regardless of their views on climate change – and encouraging them to take action.”
“Through heightened awareness, effective communication, and continual education on climate change, we can secure the best possible results for American agriculture and the global food system,” Johnson added.
“NFU has been dedicated to working proactively with farmers on climate change for years and would welcome the opportunity to assist or collaborate with you on this critical work,” he concluded.
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.