Bold Climate and Agriculture Bill Introduced in Congress will Benefit Ohio Growers
Today, Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA) in Congress, which outlines a farmer-focused, research-driven path to net zero agriculture. This Earth Week, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is proud to endorse this bill on behalf of our members as part of the solution to the climate crisis.
The urgency of the climate crisis requires making U.S. agriculture resilient to climate impacts while moving the agricultural sector toward climate neutrality. Farmers and ranchers recognize the fundamental threat that the climate crisis poses to agriculture and our shared future and they have unique solutions to offer.
The Agriculture Resilience Act will expand resources for sustainable farmers working hard to build healthy soils and fight climate change, building on six key focus areas: increasing investment in agricultural research, improving soil health, supporting the transition to pasture-based livestock, ensuring farmland preservation and viability, promoting on-farm renewable energy production, and reducing food waste.
“This bill invests in key priorities for OEFFA growers. Our farmers are dedicated to improving soil health and resilience but are often left to find their own solutions and lack the resources and support for long-term success,” said OEFFA Policy Director Amalie Lipstreu.
The ARA utilizes existing programs to keep farmers on the land and in business, while equipping them with the tools and resources they need to be active partners in our efforts to mitigate the climate crisis. It refocuses existing conservation, research, renewable energy, and rural economic development programs on climate resilience and will reward farmers for the ecosystem services they provide.
The ARA was first introduced last Congress and the reintroduced version of the bill—now with a Senate companion—incorporates important modifications. The ARA expands provisions that: better serve farmers of color, as well as beginning and veteran farmers and ranchers; makes conservation programs more accessible to organic farmers and producers transitioning to organic; and incorporates perennial agriculture throughout the bill, recognizing the climate mitigation and adaptation contributions of these production systems.
“Farmers are making daily decisions to adapt to more frequent, extreme weather events. No matter the specifics of their production systems, the impacts are real, and they need the research, technical assistance, and resources detailed in the Agricultural Resilience Act. Urgent actions are needed to empower farmers and ensure their continued viability and to address the challenge of climate change,” said Lipstreu.
In response to the introduction of the bill, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), of which OEFFA is a member, issued the following comment from Policy Director Eric Deeble: “Farmers and ranchers are increasingly being recognized as an essential part of the solution to the climate crisis. As they deal with increasing pressures brought on by a changing climate, they know what’s at stake and are committed to healthy soils and resilient, sustainable ecosystems. This legislation centers agriculture to ensure inclusion of the sector in meaningful and long-lasting policy action on climate change. NSAC is pleased to support this important bill, and to continue advocating for policies that support sustainable family farming.”