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USDA announces innovation initiative to address climate change

21 February 2020

NFU urges agency to take decisive action to address climate crisis.

Responding to mounting environmental challenges confronting American food production and security, US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a new, department-wide innovation initiative "to align resources, programmes, and research to position American agriculture to better meet future global demands." In broad strokes, the initiative outlines strategies to half the "environmental footprint" of US agriculture while boosting production 40 percent within the next thirty years.

Among the first national farm organisations to sound the alarm on rising global temperatures, National Farmers Union (NFU) has consistently pushed for urgent and decisive federal action to help farmers curb greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon in agricultural soils, and adapt to increasingly frequent and severe weather events. In a statement, NFU President Roger Johnson applauded the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) move towards sustainability but emphasised the need for swifter and more dramatic action.

"The science is irrefutable: human-caused climate change is actively and rapidly changing precipitation and temperature patterns, contributing to extreme weather events, exacerbating pest and pathogen pressures, degrading natural resource supply and quality, and eroding biodiversity – all of which make it even more difficult to produce food, feed, fuel, and fibre. This jeopardises not just agricultural livelihoods, but, even more critically, global food security.

“We’re encouraged that USDA is moving to address the issue of sustainability. That being said, we have lost a lot of ground during the last several years of federal inaction. This is the single greatest threat to American farmers and national food sovereignty – one we should have been tackling head-on for the past thirty years. The White House and USDA need to treat this crisis with the urgency it deserves; we stand ready to work with this administration towards the right public policy and economic incentives to ensure that family farmers and ranchers are a meaningful part of the solution.”


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