Kutztown, PA—Organic Farmers Association (OFA) has received responses from two presidential candidates following its forum “Combating Climate Change with Organic and Regenerative Agriculture,” held in Story City, Iowa, in December, which was attended by Senator Bernie Sanders.
Senator Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg have submitted written responses to the questions posed by organic farmers at the event. The responses can be viewed in full here.
Senator Warren wrote: “My plan for a new farm economy will build on the principles of regenerative agriculture to put family farmers, farmworkers, and rural communities in the driver’s seat… [we will] move to a ‘feed the soil’ mindset that centers family farmers and healthy soil.”
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Warren noted that she would dedicate resources to the creation of a farmer-led Innovation Fund, which would help farmers pioneer new methods of sustainable farming to build soil health and fight climate change: “A Warren administration will make sure these opportunities are open to all farmers—especially those that have historically been excluded from USDA programs—by dismantling systemic discrimination in USDA and creating dedicated programs for diverse farmers.”
Warren added that she would increase funding to USDA’s Local Agriculture Market Program to build local and regional food systems, and that rather than subsidizing monoculture and overproduction, a Warren administration would pay farmers for using sustainable farming practices and expanding research and development in regenerative techniques.
Mayor Buttigieg wrote: “I will provide structures to incentivize organic and regenerative farming practices and also support markets and people who see value in purchasing these products… To improve soil health, I will double USDA R&D investments over four years, committing nearly $50 billion over a decade to research that the country needs to put healthy food on our plates… I will provide opportunities for farmers to get paid for sequestering carbon in their soil, including through reduced and no tillage of soil, cover crops, precision nitrogen management, improved grazing systems, and science-based crop rotation plans.”
Buttigieg also noted the importance of preventing organic fraud: “I understand that the relationship to the consumer is absolutely critical for organic markets to succeed. And that relationship has to be built on real integrity, otherwise organic labeling and the entire system will fail.” To this end, he added, “corporate interests or those who do not have the best interests of organic producers and consumers in mind have no business influencing these matters or getting involved. They will not have that influence in my administration.”
The several pages’ worth of written responses can be found here.