FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laura Zaks
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Release: Farmers Shine Spotlight on Vital Impact of Climate Funding at the IRA Conservation and Farmers Roundtable
Washington, DC, January 11, 2024 – Today, members of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) hosted a public roundtable highlighting the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) transformational investments in climate and clean energy solutions for America’s food producers. Farmers from across the country discussed firsthand how the IRA has provided much-needed, long-sought federal funding to bolster farmer-led conservation efforts. Farmers’ firsthand stories of how climate change is affecting their farms demonstrate the importance of protecting the federal programs helping them build resilience.
Panelists included SEEC Climate and Agriculture Task Force Co-Chair Chellie Pingree (D-ME 1, SEEC Climate and Agriculture Task Force Co-Chair Kim Schrier (D-WA 8), Lindi and Jared Phillips of Branch Mountain Farm in Lincoln, AR, Denise and John Jamerson of Legacy Taste of the Garden in Princeton, IN, Pryor Garnett of Garnetts Red Prairie Farm in Sheridan, OR, Ariana Taylor-Stanley of Here We Are Farm in Trumansburg, NY, and Mike Lavender, NSAC Policy Director.
“The importance of the need to grow food, agriculture products, good land stewardship is the most imperative investment for our children’s future. With the IRA’s support and the continued implementation of the climate smart technical support and capacity building addressing the volatile aspect of farming, costs of equipment, growing practices and soil development, the next generation has a better future and opportunities for sustainability…The IRA funding in these programs is critical to the future of agriculture.” – Denise Jamerson, Legacy Taste of the Garden, Princeton, IN
“Season over season [rotational grazing] builds soil health and increases soil’s capacity to both hold on to water and to sequester carbon. This is huge both in times of drought and in times of increased precipitation, both are which are becoming increasingly common in our area and across the US as the climate crisis unfolds. However, implementing these systems comes with the sizeable price tag and there aren’t many farmers who can simply absorb that cost. So many farmers across the nation are stuck at an impossible place right now if they want to stay competitive in their industry, they have to respond to markets and at present those markets don’t favor climate-friendly farming. Consumers are largely unfamiliar with the real cost of producing quality food in a way that does not exploit and eventually wreck our soils.” – Lindi Phillips, Branch Mountain Farm, Lincoln, AR
“As a small-scale farmer, climate change is one of the biggest threats to my operation, and one of the most important challenges to address through my farming practices. USDA conservation programs have been a critical tool in enabling me to pay my crew to help with projects – like planting trees – that don’t pay for themselves in one season. I’m so glad that Inflation Reduction Act funding is enabling more farmers to access conservation programs to address climate change and I hope the next farm bill will continue to expand this support to farmers who have been left out of it.” – Ariana Taylor-Stanley, Here We Are Farm, Trumansburg, NY
“Conservation is at the heart of how many farmers approach their livelihood, and it’s a win-win for the farm and the environment. Conservation can bolster bottom-lines and support farm productivity while protecting and enhancing natural resources. Amidst a changing climate, good conservation can make a farm more resilient in the face of extreme weather and one that directly mitigates greenhouse gasses… For every success story you hear, there are roughly 3 farmers who have been turned away due to a lack of funding. That’s right – in 2020 and 2022 combined, 3 of every 4 farmers who applied – from red states and blue states alike – were turned away from two of USDA’s conservation programs that help make these success stories possible. At least, that was until the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was signed into law. – Mike Lavender, Policy Director, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
A recording of the briefing is available here.
About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more: https://sustainableagriculture.net/
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Author: Laura Zaks