Deidre Nelms; Coming Clean; email@example.com, (802) 251-0203 ext. 711.
Today, 50 organizations sent a public letter to the House Agriculture Committee and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, calling for a transformative 2023 Farm Bill. They urged the legislators to incentivize reductions in pesticide use, include provisions to protect farmworker health, and increase funding and research for organic and regenerative farming, representing fenceline communities, food system workers and farmworkers, family farmers, businesses, scientists, and environmental health and justice organizations.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that global agriculture contributes 34% of the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change, but the Farm Bill has not explicitly addressed climate change since 1990. An estimated 1 billion pounds of pesticides, manufactured from fossil fuel feedstocks, are used on United States farms each year. The next Farm Bill could decrease agricultural carbon emissions by incentivizing farmers to reduce reliance on pesticides, in favor of regenerative, climate-resilient practices such as certified organic farming, the letter states.
“As we prepare for the 118th Congress and the negotiation of the 2023 Farm Bill,” the letter reads, “U.S. agricultural policy must create an agricultural system that values human life today and for generations to come. To do that, we will need to shift investments away from ineffective, misguided, and unproven solutions – peddled by industry lobbyists under the guise of being ‘climate smart’ – and towards solutions that we know actually work: Transitioning to chemical-free agriculture, focusing on methods that promote soil health, supporting community-based farming and food marketing systems, and redirecting federal incentives away from industrialized producers towards farmers utilizing regenerative and agroecological methods.”
The letter goes on to offer actionable recommendations that Congress should include in next year’s Farm Bill that could accomplish these goals, including:
The House Agriculture Committee and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will begin drafting the next Farm Bill this year. It is expected to be authorized by September 2023.