Washington, D.C.—The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) has unveiled what a press release calls an “unprecedented” set of recommendations to guide the development of federal climate policy.
Rob Larew, FACA Co-chair and President of National Farmers Union, said in the press release, “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.”
FACA was formed in February 2020 by the American Farm Bureau Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and National Farmers Union, the press release says. The four groups now co-chair the alliance, which has since grown to include FMI, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and The Nature Conservancy.
“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, in the press release. “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.”
The group has 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
- They must be science-based.
The press release states that climate policies “must be thoughtfully crafted to account for any potential inequities, consequences, and tradeoffs.”
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“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, in the press release. “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.”
FACA Co-chair Chuck Conner, President of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, added, “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.”
Some of the recommendations include:
- Provide voluntary, incentive-based tools and additional technical assistance for farmers, ranchers and foresters to maximize the sequestration of carbon and the reduction of other greenhouse gas emissions, and increase climate resilience.
- Reduce the GHG impact of food waste and loss by streamlining confusing consumer-facing packaging and implementing a public-private partnership to achieve a meaningful and workable food date-labeling program.
- Increase federal investment in agriculture, forestry and food-related research substantially and continuously.
- Incentivize farmers to reduce energy consumption and increase on-farm renewable energy production, and make continued progress toward reducing the lifecycle GHG emissions of agriculture- and forestry-based renewable energy.
The full list of recommendations—covering soil health, livestock and dairy, forests and wood products, food loss and waste, energy, and research—can be read here. Those curious about membership, or with questions about the recommendations, can email firstname.lastname@example.org.