NAU Country News

Our View: Sustainability is Way of Life for America’s Farmers

Sustainability is a way of life for America’s farmersIt’s an old adage, but one America’s farmers take to heart: leave this land better than you found it. This takes on even more importance when you are passing that farmland to your daughters or sons, and their children after. No matter whether they grow corn or cotton or raise cattle, the livelihoods of America’s farmers and ranchers depend on healthy soil and environments to support their crops, and resilient rural communities to sustain future generations.

Recognizing the vital importance of protecting our natural resources, rural America has made strides to improve efficiency and its environmental footprint at the same time.

Now, America’s farmers and ranchers are again breaking new ground with the formation of Farmers for a Sustainable Future (FSF). FSF is a coalition organization of more than 20 groups representing the vast diversity of American agriculture who all share a commitment to sustainably producing the world’s food, feed and fiber supply.

FSF is spotlighting the incredible work that America’s farm producers have already accomplished:

Farmers and ranchers are committed stewards of the land, leading the way to climate-smart farming by promoting soil health, conserving water, enhancing wildlife, using nutrients efficiently, and caring for their animals. For decades, they have pushed past the boundaries of innovation thanks to investments in agricultural research and the adoption of practices that improve productivity, provide clean and renewable energy, enhance sustainability, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon.

FSF’s guiding principles call for policies that support science-based research, voluntary incentive-based conservation programs, investment in infrastructure, and solutions that ensure vibrant rural communities and a healthy planet.

America’s farmers and ranchers are making demonstrable progress to protect our air, land and water. Agriculture is responsible for less than nine percent of America’s greenhouse gas production and those emissions continue to trend downwards while increased efficiencies have allowed production to grow.

According to FSF, farmers and ranchers have increased their use of renewable energy sources by more than 130% in just the last five years. And American farmers are growing crops that can be manufactured into fuel sources, creating clean energy used to fuel farm equipment. In 2018, the use of ethanol and biodiesel reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 17 million cars from the road.

FSF wants to strengthen farm sustainability by taking these accomplishments to Congress and asking lawmakers to support initiatives in line with their Guiding Principles that will continue to drive American innovation:

Building upon the strong foundation of voluntary stewardship investments and practices, including those in the Farm Bill, we look forward to working with policy makers to further advance the successful sustainable practices used by U.S. agricultural producers. Throughout this process, lawmakers must ensure that any governmental analysis characterizing U.S. crop and livestock systems reflects U.S. agriculture’s leadership globally in sustainable farming practices

Protecting farm policy is key to supporting rural America’s efforts on sustainability. Farmers have to be able to earn a living and maintain economic stability in order to invest in sustainability. Farm policy provides a helping hand during the tough times and makes that possible.

Unfortunately, some opponents of farm policy want to gut that safety net. That would not only devastate farmers and damage our rural communities, it would undermine the great work on sustainability that America has already accomplished.

We applaud America’s farmers and ranchers for continuing to prioritize our environment and creating a more sustainable future for us all.


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