Smith: Farmers for a Sustainable Future is a new coalition of farm groups that will provide a voice for the nation’s farmers in the discussion about climate change. Andrew Walmsley is the senior director of congressional relations at the American Farm Bureau Federation, one of the coalition members, and says this is an opportunity for agriculture to be at the table during discussions on sustainability and climate policy.
Walmsley: It’s a recognition that we want to be part of the discussion, whether that’s taking place in a “C” Suite on Wall Street or here on Capitol Hill. It’s an opportunity for what we believe is a pretty good story to tell about agriculture’s innovation and sustainability narrative, but also to be a resource for policymakers going forward as this discussion continues.
Smith: Agriculture accounts for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions globally but in the U.S., agriculture accounts for only 9% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. In two generations, farmers have increased their output by 270% while input levels have remained relatively the same, that according to the USDA. Walmsley says Farmers for a Sustainable Future will be sharing farmers’ advancements in sustainability.
Walmsley: We want to build on that strong foundation of sustainability and let policymakers know first, the achievements that we have made. But also, that we’re looking for partners on what we can do to be even better stewards, what policy options are out there for agriculture, where are challenges but also are pitfalls, things that policy would cause problems for farmers and ranchers.
Smith: Walmsley says farmers and ranchers are more sustainable than ever and the new coalition will make sure all policymakers know what farmers are doing.
Walmsley: There’s others that don’t, or others that have questions, and so we want to be here as a resource to provide those answers, to tell that story to policymakers. We’ve created a website; you can visit it at www.sustainablefarming.us.
Smith: Chad Smith, Washington