Climate Land Leaders have weighed in on a set of Farm Bill recommendations focused on the role of land stewardship and conservation in alleviating climate change. Our high level priorities:
The 2023 Farm Bill should prioritize the climate emergency
Agriculture is key for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, providing long-term carbon sequestration and building climate resilience. The next Farm Bill must expand incentives and reduce barriers for farmers and farmland owners to establish and maintain conservation practices, with priority on permanent soil cover, protecting conservation in perpetuity and equitable compensation for practices that have the greatest long-term ecosystem and climate benefits.
The 2023 Farm Bill should ensure that all who qualify can participate in USDA conservation programs, receive robust compensation and experience streamlined, flexible program administration
The demand for programs like Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) far outweighs the available funding (even with the influx of funds from the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act). In addition, participants in these programs often report delays and inflexible program requirements that inhibit farmers and farmland owners from transforming their land to perennial systems.
The 2023 Farm Bill should invest robustly in healthy, equitable communities
Congress must fully commit to righting past wrongs for Black, Indigenous and people of color farmers and ranchers and prioritize land tenure and support for those producers. The next Farm Bill must also invest in all of the next generation of farmers and ranchers seeking to establish climate-resilient operations, and it should prioritize funding for local and regional food systems, which will prove the most resilient as climate change disruptions increase.