October 26, 2015

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106

WASHINGTON (October 26, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson expressed appreciation for the administration’s work to encourage climate resiliency in agriculture, and, concurrent with the White House’s Champions of Change event, committed to promote efforts to address climate change.

“Climate change jeopardizes food security domestically and abroad, as well as the economic viability of family producers and rural communities,” said Johnson in a letter to President Obama. “We stand ready to assist your administration as you continue to address this critical issue.”

Johnson notes that farmers and ranchers have significant potential to mitigate climate change, as embodied in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry.

“Farmers can work with USDA to avoid emissions and sequester carbon by managing land for enhanced soil health, applying fertilizer for maximum utilization and minimal sublimation or runoff, reducing and utilizing methane emissions from livestock operations, exercising additional precaution with sensitive lands, employing climate-smart grazing and pasture practices, retaining woodlands, and utilizing renewable energy on farms and ranches,” he says.

Johnson details how NFU has long supported practices such as no-till, planting cover crops, Conservation Reserve Program participation, and using high-efficiency machinery and equipment. “These practices are common among our membership, and your support will help us make them increasingly popular,” he points out.  One such member, for example, is Nebraska Farmers Union district director Martin Kleinschmit, who is being honored today as part of the White House Champions of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture event.

Johnson explains that international cooperation is essential to navigating climate change-related threats to food security and rural communities.

“A strong outcome at the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) is critical for farmers and ranchers,” says Johnson. “NFU fully supports and encourages U.S. leadership in ensuring the entire world is addressing this critical issue.”

“This letter expresses the sense of the Board that the administration’s efforts promoting these practices are worthwhile and serves as notice that we commit ourselves to promoting participation in these efforts. Thank you for your important efforts bringing farmers and ranchers into climate resiliency.”

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.


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