Moving American Agriculture to “Net Zero”

Click here for NSAC’s full report

For Illinois farmers, the climate crisis is no longer a distant threat – it’s here. Many have already adopted changes that make their farm operation more resilient in the face of uncertain weather. A new report out today from National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition details over 30 policy recommendations that can help farmers meet the challenge of climate change.

In Agriculture and Climate Change, the authors take a comprehensive look at the latest in agricultural and climate science.The report finds that while progress has been made on increasing overall soil carbon (which has positive effects on soil quality and could result in increased productivity, agricultural resilience, and yield stability, especially on carbon-depleted soils), overall the U.S. agricultural production sector has increased its greenhouse gas emissions and climate impact over the past few decades. The main driver of this increase has been the increasing use of liquid manure storage lagoons found on livestock CAFOs, which emit far more GHG (primarily methane) than dry-stacked or composted manure.

Based on 14 research findings, the paper puts forward nearly 30 detailed public policy recommendations, which NSAC hopes policymakers will utilize as they continue to develop and debate policies and programs to address the climate crisis. These findings will be used to inform recommendations to USDA and Congress, including the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, which undertook its first hearing on climate change and agriculture just this fall.

In support of NSAC’s findings the Illinois Stewardship Alliance is asking our Illinois Farmers to sign onto this letter of support. Our coalition’s goal is to collect 4,000 signatures from farmers across the country.

The letter tells Congress that climate change presents a fundamental threat to farmers’ ability to remain viable in the years to come. It urges action now to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, change to a renewable energy system, and advance a multitude of solutions, including the unique and important climate solutions offered by agriculture.

In the Spring of 2020, farmers will deliver the letter to members of Congress, USDA program leaders, and other key decision-makers to urge effective policy action recommended in NSAC’s Agriculture and Climate Change.

If you are a farmer, please consider signing on to the Climate Action Letter.If you are an eater, service provider or advocate who is not earning an income from farm products, you can help today too: share this sign-on opportunity with farmers you know.