Looking back over the past year, we are awestruck by what farmers have accomplished together through Solutions from the Land in 2022.
The farmer- and rancher-led SfL board of directors started the year by launching a global farmer enjoy program, which tapped eight nationally recognized agricultural producers who share SfL’s vision for a 21st Century, Agricultural Renaissance.
SfL’s newest farmer envoys include:
- Jocelyn Anderson, who grows almonds and walnuts in California.
- Kyle Bridgeforth, a row-crop farmer who focuses on modern technology and agronomics in Alabama.
- Brad Doyle, a soybean, rice, wheat and grass hay farmer in Arkansas.
- Ben LaCross, who grows tart and sweet cherries in Michigan.
- Amelia Levin Kent, who raises and markets beef cattle in Louisiana.
- Allyson Maxwell, who raises sugar beets, corn, soybeans and wheat in Michigan.
- Verity Ulibarri, who produces grain sorghum, winter wheat, forages and cattle in New Mexico.
- Shelby Watson-Hampton, who grows wine grapes in Maryland.
These farmers have been hard at work sharing their invaluable experiences and perspectives with global leaders as they discuss such issues as food security and how humanity can mitigate and adjust to climate change. They, along with SfL board members, other farmers and supporting value chain collaborators, have done an outstanding job of sharing boots-on-the-ground perspectives on practical and innovative land-based solutions that are good for the environment, society and farmer livelihoods.
Together, SfL farmer leaders have engaged in multiple United Nations platforms this year, including the:
- UN General Assembly
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- FAO Committee on Food Security
- UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
- UN Environmental Program
We proposed the role of agriculture in concurrently delivering ecosystem services and food and nutrition as a critical issue to be considered by the UN High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition, advocating for circular agriculture as a solution.
SfL Co-Chair A.G. Kawamura, a California produce grower and shipper, shared with UN FAO leaders about the “agricultural renaissance” underway and how it will help the UN achieve its sustainable development goals.
SfL board member Lois Wright Morton, an Ohio farmer, spent two weeks in Vietnam sharing innovative farm-level circular systems for delivering increased resilience, yield and profitability while concurrently delivering improved water quality, soil carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services. She was a keynote speaker at The International Conference of the Agricultural Science at Can Tho University.
We were especially pleased to see the adoption of SfL’s guiding principles for agricultural climate action at COP27 in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, this fall, thanks largely to the persistence of SfL farmer leaders. This year, SfL also had the benefit of participating in the COP (and other global environmental talks) as an accredited, “official observer” organization in the UN Environment Program. The accreditation gives us the ability to contribute policy and program recommendations as well as participate in regional and global meetings of the UN Environment Assembly.
At home, on U.S. soil, we also saw state- and national-level progress in farmer-centered conservation efforts.
- In Indiana, farmers came together to form the Indiana Climate Smart Agriculture Work Group.
- In Iowa, farmers through the Iowa Smart Agriculture Work Group outlined their vision for the future of Iowa agriculture in their Iowa Smart Agriculture Circles of Life report.
- In Florida, we helped secure a $2 million grant to help the Florida Climate Smart Agriculture Work Group document ecosystem services delivery.
- We launched the Headquarters of the Colorado pilot project, designed to restore two non-functioning watersheds totally 100,000 acres in the Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests of Wyoming and Colorado.
- We advocated for and secured historic federal investments in climate-smart agriculture programs, such as USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, and for legislation to support biofuel production and better forest (and wildfire) management.
If you missed them, here are a few thoughts from SfL leaders on:
- The need for climate-smart agriculture (by Fred Yoder and Ray Gaesser)
- The value of regenerative agriculture (by AG Kawamura, Dr. Rattan Lal, Dr. Marty Matlock and Dr. Chuck Rice)
- Circular systems (from Lois Wright Morton’s comments to the UN Environmental Program)
- Droughts and forest fires (from Pat O’Toole’s comments to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources)
The farmers and ranchers we work with through Solutions from the Land have exceeded our expectations this year. We thank them for their hard work and dedication to sharing their stories and making positive change at the local, state, national and global levels. We are proud to be able to help elevate their voices and look forward to continuing to do so in 2023.