Agriculture is a climate change solution.
23 millions acres of prime Illinois farmland could be a giant carbon sink.
But farms – and farmers! – have yet to be identified as part of our state’s climate strategy.
In March, the Alliance joined American Farmland Trust and 14 Illinois organizations calling on Governor Pritzker and state leaders to mobilize state resources and networks to promote climate resilience efforts on Illinois farmland.
Farmer Scott Jones has seen climate change first hand. Hotter and drier summers are the new norm in western Illinois.
“With weather patterns changing like they are, the loss of the soil’s ability to hold water is the Achilles heel of modern production agriculture. Our soil must be able to absorb moisture when it comes and retain it through dry periods. The alternative is flooding, drought and huge financial losses. But that doesn’t have to be our future,” Scott told us.
Most of the climate conversation in Illinois has focused on clean energy solutions. Agriculture remains an untapped resource in our state’s approach to tackling the climate crisis.
Illinois farmers, if supported with the necessary resources and technical assistance, can harness the power of regenerative agriculture to draw down carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil.
Regenerative farming practices such as no-till and the planting of cover crops, could be elevated as critical components of the state’s response to climate change.
Investing in these on-farm practices has the added benefit of helping us reach Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy goals to clean our drinking water too.
The science is clear. Our climate is changing at a dangerous rate, jeopardizing farmers’ livelihood and threatening our food system.
As a kid, Farmer Katie Funk knew sap from her family’s sugar maple trees in Central Illinois would start running in February. They would have maple sirup boiled, bottled, and ready in March.
“A couple years ago we tapped the trees in January—something that’s never been done in six generations of my family producing pure maple sirup in Illinois… Even though the weather is and always will be unpredictable, in recent years it has become clear that this lack of predictability has reached a level that requires us to stop and take notice.”Farmer Katie Funk, Funks Grove Heritage Fruits and Grains
Illinois is already a leader in clean energy technology. We can invest in farmers and regenerative agriculture.
With your help, Illinois can provide farmers with the tools to meet our climate goals, nutrient loss reduction goals, and dramatically improve the resilience of our food system.
Thanks for using your voice on Earth Day,