More than 450 farm and rural development organizations and businesses from across the country called on Congress to invest more than $200 billion over 10 years to bolster Farm Bill conservation, research, renewable energy, forestry, and regional food system and supply chain resilience programs.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition sent the letter on behalf of the organizations. “We know that the time for transformative investments to help farmers address the climate crisis is now. This funding request for $200 billion is a down payment on programs that farmers need now to build more resilient food systems. More than 450 organizations and businesses have come together to support this groundbreaking request,” said Eric Deeble, NSAC Policy Director.
The letter explains how the investment of $200 billion can address climate change and infrastructure needs by: helping farmers and ranchers adopt mitigation practices, investing in more resilient local and regional supply chains, expanding renewable energy on farms, advancing research on climate and agriculture, and much more. The letter also emphasizes strong support for inclusion of key funding elements from those bills in the agriculture portion of the American Jobs Plan Act (AJPA) legislation.
The letter stated, “It would enable at least a doubling of farm bill conservation program funding while also addressing other key underfunded areas in the urgent efforts needed to enhance agricultural resilience, improve soil health, sequester carbon in the soil, and reduce emissions from the agricultural sector.”
In addition to significant investments in farm bill conservation, renewable energy, energy efficiency, forestry, and food system and supply chain resilience programs, research that furthers the understanding of soil carbon sequestration and advances the collective understanding of region-specific best practices for climate mitigation helps farmers and ranchers adapt to the various impacts of climate change across the country.
The bills also include significant funding for important new programs — Assistance to States for Soil Health, Alternative Manure Management Program grants, long-term Grassland CRP enrollments, Soil Health Equipment Grants, and Meat and Poultry Processing Resilience grants — recognizing gaps in current USDA programs that if implemented could significantly improve rural infrastructure and climate outcomes.