By Tom Driscoll, NFU Director of Conservation Policy and Education
Through the Climate Column posts to date, NFU has been pointing out the challenges to ensuring food security that farmers face as climate change impacts the natural systems upon which they rely to grow food. Farmers’ dependence on these systems places them among the first to experience the direct results of climate change, but their interaction with these systems also allow them many unique opportunities to mitigate, or reduce the negative impacts, of climate change.
USDA’s Economic Research Service website unequivocally states that increased greenhouse gasses in the Earth’s atmosphere is causing climate change. The greater the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, the greater the likelihood of experiencing more severe negative consequences of climate change. Conversely, reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere is likely to mitigate the interference resulting from climate change.
Farms and ranches are unique among other types of businesses because of their potential to mitigate climate change. Farmers and ranchers can take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their operations, like many other businesses leaders, but they can also make decisions that will sink atmospheric greenhouse gasses on the land they manage. According to USDA’s report, Climate Change and Agriculture in the United States: Effects and Adaptation, farmers can ensure food security in light of climate change by “minimizing the costs via avoidance or reduction of the severity of detrimental effects from changing climate” by reducing emissions from their operations and storing the most ubiquitous climate pollutant, carbon, on the land they work. Some of the negative consequences of climate change discussed in this blog will not be as severe if farmers take action to reduce emissions and store atmospheric carbon on their lands.
Would you make adjustments to your production practices in order to lessen the impacts of climate change? Let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned with NFU’s blog to learn more about what you can do to fight climate change on your farm. You can also check out USDA’s Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry to learn more about incentives and assistance that may be available to help make it happen.
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