The Sustainable Food Policy Alliance (SFPA) and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) offered comments in response to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis’s request for recommendations on policies, strategies and innovations necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, maximize carbon storage and enhance the climate resilience of farmers and ranchers.
Earlier this year, SFPA member companies Danone North America, Mars Incorporated, Nestlé USA and Unilever United States released a set of climate policy principles and urged the U.S. government to adopt policies that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the economy, in addition to the efforts underway by SFPA’s individual member companies to implement solutions to reduce their overall environmental footprints. Likewise, NASDA members recently adopted a climate resiliency policy that acknowledges the necessity of adapting to a changing climate to protect and enhance our nation’s natural resources, while also building a resilient agricultural and food supply chain.
Recommendations from the organizations include prioritizing voluntary, incentive-based efforts that help farmers and ranchers build resiliency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and sequester carbon. Enhancing voluntary, incentive-based programs will likely require additional resources for research, technical assistance, and development of financing models, the comments noted. Given the environmental benefits – including reduced emissions, carbon sequestration, and many others – dedicating such resources would be a wise investment.
The comments also offered support for incentive structures that encourage and scale up environmentally-friendly practices; existing examples of these structures include the Regional Conservation Partnership Program and the soil health provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill. “Congress should support and incentivize a systems approach to soil health management, including supporting the expansion of the wide array of tools needed to incentivize and measure soil health improvements. Soil carbon levels can vary widely across landscapes, regions and time periods,” the comments noted.
The comments also encouraged developing additional research and forecasting tools that can help farmers and ranchers adapt to a changing climate.
“SFPA and NASDA encourage Congress to develop policy and other mechanisms that better identify and address gaps in existing research; support the development of a coordinated research strategy across the federal government; and encourage the development of new or expanded public-private research partnerships,” the comments noted.