Story City, IO—Senator Bernie Sanders spoke to an audience of over 75 organic farmers on Thursday about the issues facing family farmers in the Midwest and beyond, according to a press release from the Organic Farmers Association.
Senator Sanders’ stated agricultural policy platform includes strengthening enforcement of the organic standards, as well as incentives for beginning and disadvantaged farmers to transition to more sustainable practices. In his talk on Thursday, he emphasized the role that regenerative organic agriculture will play in mitigating climate change, bolstering family farms, and several other issues central to the 2020 campaign: “If the agricultural community can be aggressive in maintaining good soil that will absorb carbon, that will be an enormous contribution to fighting climate change,” he said. “We should be prepared to provide assistance for that.”
Attendees asked questions regarding how a Sanders administration would mitigate climate change by incentivizing adoption of regenerative organic practices on family farms, ensure fair pricing to protect small farms, and protect against organic fraud that undercuts the domestic organic market.
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Senator Sanders emphasized the necessity of advancing regenerative organic agriculture and ending harmful practices like factory farming. He outlined the need to get more young people into farming, break up agribusiness conglomerates, and maintain strong organic standards. He committed to appointing a Secretary of Agriculture that supports family farms and organic agriculture: “If I am elected, family-based agriculture and organic agriculture will have a friend in the White House.”
Kate Mendenhall, Director of Organic Farmers Association, owner of Okoboji Organics in Okoboji, Iowa, and one of the moderators of the forum, said in the release: “It is critical that we push our elected officials, and those that hope to be elected, on how they will incorporate regenerative organic agriculture into their administrations. As we face more crises in climate, health, nutrition, and environmental degradation, organic farmers need to have a seat at the table in order to bring solutions.”
The event was livestreamed, and can be viewed by the public here.