Impact of COVID-19 on Agriculture

Climate Change

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Issue at a Glance

Using innovative farm equipment, better seeds, green energy and climate-smart practices, U.S. farmers and ranchers are producing more food, renewable fuel and fiber than ever before, while using less water, protecting against erosion and conserving more soil, avoiding nutrient loss, increasing wildlife habitat and improving biodiversity.

Farm Bureau believes in using tools and solutions to address challenging weather events, but not at the risk of farmers' and ranchers' long-range sustainability or a strong U.S. economy.

By the Numbers

  • Less than 10% of total U.S. GHG emissions stem from agriculture. According to the National Academies of Science, even broader adoption of technologies that help store CO2 in soils and plants could cut that number in half.
  • Combined, U.S. agriculture, land use and forestry are a net sink for carbon emissions, removing 172 million metric tons of C02-equivalent emissions from the atmosphere in 2017.
  • Over the last decade, nearly 3 trillion pounds of corn have been used to produce clean, renewable ethanol for blending into motor fuels. In 2018 alone, the use of ethanol and biodiesel reduced carbon emissions by an amount equivalent to 17 million cars.
  • Livestock production has become far more efficient and less greenhouse gas-intensive in recent years, accounting for only 3.3% of emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Continued Growth

Farmers and ranchers envision even greater success in providing societal benefits such as carbon sequestration and other environment-positive practices, but they can’t tackle this alone. For U.S. agriculture to continue to lead the way, our country must prioritize its investment in ag research and innovation, with a focus on solutions that ensure vibrant rural communities and a healthy agricultural economy.

In addition, farmers are encouraging policymakers and others to continue to build upon the strong foundation of voluntary stewardship investments and practices to guide policies and partnerships to continue to improve the sustainable practices carried out on farms and ranches of all sizes across the U.S.

Sustainability Partnerships

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