October 9, 2015

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
[email protected]

WASHINGTON (October 9, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said the organization of 200,000 family farmers, ranchers and fishermen appreciated the recent interagency report on climate change and food security, noting that it will be helpful in making future policy decisions on climate policy.

“NFU appreciates this report because the information found within will assist officials in making effective decisions on climate policy,” noted Johnson in comments sent this week to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Chief Economist Robert Johansson. “NFU will utilize the report in our efforts encouraging strong climate resiliency policies and educating our members, urging them to learn about what climate change means for their businesses and to engage in production and conservation practices that enhance climate resilience.”

Johnson noted that NFU is very concerned with the ongoing and future longer term impacts of climate change on agriculture and food security. “The precise effects of climate change vary dramatically from producer to producer, but they invoke fundamental values shared by NFU members. Our policy embodies the organization’s present and historic principles, some of which are threatened by climate change. These principles include domestic and global food security and competitive markets.”

Johnson requested that the report’s contributors also consider food system consolidation and concentration among the many salient factors jeopardizing global food security already identified by the report.

“We believe these trends are likely to be accelerated by climate change, and that global food security is more vulnerable to climate change-related disruption when it is over-reliant on heavily concentrated and consolidated food systems,” he said. 

Johnson noted that NFU takes very seriously family agriculture’s special responsibility to diligently pursue universal food security. “We are committed to building climate resilience to ensure we can effectively manage this responsibility as well as for the well-being of family farmers and rural communities. Our policy states, ‘Everyone should have the right to have access to safe and nutritional food,’ and supports the maintenance and expansion of domestic nutrition assistance programs.”

“NFU requests more research on the potential link between climate resilience and food system concentration and consolidation. In particular, we are concerned that consolidation and concentration may impair communities’ ability to feed themselves. Local production and processing are increasingly being overtaken by interests of larger scale. At the same time, climate change is worsening the vulnerability of the transportation systems that the dominant food system relies upon for food distribution. Increased reliance on food from distant sources may prove disastrous if extreme weather events cut off shipping routes.”

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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