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New Alliance Takes Unprecedented, Proactive Approach on Climate Policy for Agriculture

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The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, representing farmers, forest owners, the food sector, state governments and environmental advocates, unveiled Tuesday an unprecedented set of recommendations to guide the development of federal climate policy.

They also introduced 40 policy recommendations based on three guiding principles, according to FACA. They include: Agricultural and forestry climate policies must be built upon voluntary, incentive-based programs and market-driven opportunities; promote resilience and adaptation in rural communities; and be science-based.

Michigan Farm Bureau National Legislative Counsel John Kran said the FACA recommendations are aligned with Farm Bureau policy and fit well with existing programs and strategies already being implemented to protect water quality in Michigan.

“FACA developed more than 40 recommendations in six categories — soil health; livestock and dairy; forests and wood products; energy; research; and food loss and waste, with an overarching goal to ‘Do no harm,’” Kran said. “Many of FACA’s recommendations support federal policy to provide incentives that drive solutions and coordinate federal agencies and funding to advance farmer efforts in developing and driving climate solutions.”

FACA originally formed in February 2020 by four groups that now co-chair the alliance — American Farm Bureau Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and National Farmers Union.

The alliance has since expanded to include FMI – The Food Industry Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and The Nature Conservancy.

In making the announcement, American Farm Bureau Federation President and FACA Co-chair Zippy Duvall said the alliance was proud “to have broken through historical barriers to form this unique alliance focused on climate policy.”

“We began discussions not knowing whether we would ultimately reach agreement,” Duvall said in a statement. “It was important to me to reject punitive climate policy ideas of the past in favor of policies that respect farmers and support positive change. Our final recommendations do just that.”

Kran expects the cross-section of farmers, ranchers, forest owners, the food sector, state governments and environmental advocates working together to proactively develop and promote shared climate policy priorities through FACA will carry considerable weight in future climate change policy debate.

“Farmers are innovating and rising to the challenge. As stewards of the land, they have enormous opportunities to drive solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience throughout the food and forestry value chains,” Kran said. “Federal policy can and should provide incentives and support to ensure that farmers benefit from their role in developing and driving climate solutions.”

Highlighted recommendations

  • Provide voluntary, incentive-based tools to maximize the sequestration of carbon and the reduction of other greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Foster the development of private sector GHG markets. The public sector should provide farmers and forest owners with the technical support needed to participate.
  • Use public and private sector incentives to prioritize climate-smart practices.
  • Incentivize farmers to reduce energy consumption and increase on-farm renewable energy production.
  • Reduce the GHG impact of food waste and loss by streamlining confusing consumer-facing packaging and implementing a public-private partnership to achieve a meaningful and workable food date-labeling program.
  • Increase federal investment in agriculture, forestry and food-related research.

More information about FACA can be found at www.agclimatealliance.com along with a complete list of FACA Recommendations. The alliance also welcomes additional members. Email inquires@agclimatealliance.com with questions about membership or climate policy recommendations.