On August 27, some farmers delivered to the House Select Committee a letter signed by several thousand farmers across the country urging effective policy action to combat climate change, and especially to help farmers and ranchers weather the storm and lead the way towards a more sustainable future. 135 farmers in Maine signed onto the letter, and MFT was able to help gather many of those signatures.
The letter underscores the fundamental threat that the climate crisis poses to the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers and the viability of agriculture. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) organized a webinar with members of the Select Committee and five farmers who signed the letter and shared their stories about how climate change has impacted their operations and lives. They highlighted how Congress can increase support for farmers to implement climate stewardship practices and build resilience to climate stresses. Any climate legislation package will be incomplete without the inclusion of farmers and ranchers as vital partners in the effort to combat climate change.
“Farmers and ranchers work at the frontlines of the climate crisis, where they face extreme weather and shifting pressures from pests and disease driven by a changing climate,” said Eric Deeble, Policy Director at NSAC. “They are committed to be part of the solution to the climate crisis, and this letter outlines how Congress can ensure that they have the tools and resources to be active leaders in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Many of farmer-focused policy solutions were included in the Select Committee’s report, which establishes an ambitious and achievable roadmap for legislators to develop climate legislation.”
Although it is unlikely that Congress will take any action on the House Select Committee’s recommendations until after the November election, the report could provide an important roadmap for future congressional action. We urge legislators to include agricultural policy that places farmers and ranchers at the center and supports them directly in their efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Both the Select Committee’s report and the Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA), introduced by Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME), showcase farmer-focused climate policy solutions that should be included in any future comprehensive climate bill.