By Tom Driscoll, NFU Director of Conservation Policy and Education

National Farmers Union (NFU) members understand the negative impacts of climate change are exacerbated by greater concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the Earth’s atmosphere. Everyone in the world should be concerned about the broad consequences of climate change, but family farmers are particularly worried about the direct impact climate change will have on their ability to produce food. If climate change impedes food production, it will not only threaten the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers, but also jeopardize global food security.

The Paris Agreement, adopted by consensus in December 2015, marks significant progress in preventing the most dire results of climate change, including severe threats to farming and food security. Last month, President Obama issued the The United States Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization (MCS), a plan for the U.S. to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement. The contribution of the U.S. is a critical element to keep global average temperature increase within two degrees Celsius of pre-industrial temperatures.

The MCS considers the entire economy, examining all activities that affect greenhouse gas emissions. NFU is particularly pleased that MCS considers the sequestration of carbon in forests and agricultural soils as “negative emissions,” reflecting the growing recognition of agriculture as an effective and low-cost means of enhancing climate resilience. The strategy identifies a few policy, innovation, and research priorities that NFU has historically supported:

  • Incentive structures encouraging farmers, ranchers and landowners to engage in practices that reduce emissions and store atmospheric carbon in soil and vegetation
  • Efficient land use and protection of sensitive lands, which can protect agricultural lands from development pressure
  • Increased yields and delivery efficiency, which reduces food waste
  • Energy crops and biomass

Could these priorities benefit your farm? Do you think these are desirable ways to build climate resilience in rural America? Examine the MCS further here and share your thoughts in the comments below.


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