New F2M Report Signals Increasing Food and Ag Action on Climate Risks

October 1, 2020

Last week, we used this blog space to celebrate Climate Week. We were energized and encouraged to recognize the many contributions to Climate Week’s impact made by ag-related interests that have developed proactive climate strategies; strategies that will ultimately enable the agricultural sector to adapt to changing climatic conditions, improve resilience and deliver high value greenhouse gas emission reduction services.

This week, we are narrowing our focus to Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, which released on Sept. 23 a report that both lifts up the ag sector’s leadership and momentum on climate action, and underscores critical need for even greater collective action to respond to unprecedented climate related challenges.

The report – Climate Action in U.S. Agriculture: A Compendium of Field to Market Member Climate Commitments – synthesizes public climate goals made by more than 85 Field to Market member organizations. It also unveils a shared vision from nine leading conservation organizations that defines key principles of meaningful climate action to match the scale and pace required by science.

Field to Market, a member partner in the North America Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (a multi-stakeholder collaborative supported by Solutions from the Land), released its report in conjunction with a roundtable discussion held by the group as part of its Climate Week activities. That virtual gathering put a spotlight on the unique position farmers hold in delivering natural climate solutions.

While other sectors such as transportation, energy and manufacturing can only limit the amount of greenhouse gases they put into the atmosphere, better farming practices can sequester carbon in the soil – providing climate mitigation while also regenerating farmland for future generations.

Field to Market officials cite what they say is an important correlation between setting public climate targets, reporting on the progress being made to reach those targets, and ultimately improving performance on key environmental indicators. More than half of Field to Market’s nearly 150 member organizations have set public goals on climate action, and the group says it will continue to provide tools and resources to the entire value chain to translate ambition into meaningful climate action.

By pooling those climate commitments, Field to Market enables companies and organizations within the food and agriculture sector to benchmark their ambition with peers, drive greater climate performance, facilitate collaboration, foster additional research where needed and promote transparency and accountability for these targets.

Field to Market’s work in generating commitment to greenhouse gas reduction targets is only one example to illustrate the food and agriculture sector’s demonstrated climate leadership. Through collaboration across the value chain, the industry is taking steps to help farmers build resilience and overcome the agronomic and financial risk associated with adopting climate smart practices.

Notably, the report also includes a joint statement – A Shared Vision on Climate Action – released by nine of the leading conservation organizations represented in Field to Market’s Civil Society sector. The statement, which numbers among its signatories American Farmland Trust, National Association of Conservation Districts, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund, urges stakeholders from across the food and agriculture value chain to commit to meaningful climate action that is grounded in science.

SfL commends Field to Market for its commitment to work across its diverse membership to help translate climate goals into tangible actions that drive progress at the field and landscape levels. Other Field to Market members that have yet to do so are urged to join in this substantial effort. And we encourage other organizations to generate within their own memberships efforts to take on the growing risks posed by a changing climate.

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An Agricultural Renaissance, led by innovative and entrepreneurial farmers, ranchers and foresters constructing sustainable, profitable and resilient systems that lay the foundation for a world of abundance on many scales capable of producing nutritious food, feed, fiber, clean energy, healthy ecosystems, quality livelihoods, and strong rural economies.