We were proud Tuesday to announce (appropriately enough, on National Ag Day) our latest Farmer Envoys, all crop and/or livestock operation veterans who each bring a prominent voice to the ongoing policy discussions that are shaping the future of the agricultural sector both here in the United States and abroad.
The new envoys are now part of SfL’s mission to advance land-based solutions to the interconnected challenges the world now faces, ranging from food and nutrition security to energy security, and from maintaining sustainable livelihoods to stemming climate change – all while overcoming the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The envoys will work with SfL Board members and collaborating partners, and proactively engage United Nations agencies and conventions. They will share their expertise on new approaches to food and agricultural challenges. Those approaches include circular-systems agriculture, an approach that focuses on reducing external inputs, closing nutrient loops, regenerating soils and minimizing ag’s impact on the environment. The envoys also will promote Climate Smart Agriculture and whole-system technologies that enable the sector to help successfully achieve ambitious sustainable development goals (SDGs).
These nationally renowned farmers and livestock producers will share SfL’s vision for a 21st Century “Agricultural Renaissance” that enable all forms and scales of agriculture to innovate, sustain productivity, enhance resilience to climate change and other shocks, and move the world towards achieving the global SDGs.
The white paper that lays out the vision for this ag revitalization over the coming decades offers a model for constructing sustainable and resilient systems across working landscapes to counter interlinked agriculture, forestry, and food system challenges that grow on a global scale.
The paper notes that the 21st century is now fully under way amid weather-related crop failures; locust plagues; wildfires and deforestation; regional conflicts; loss of biodiversity; erosion of ecosystem health and functionality; a changing climate; and the spillover from the global pandemic. These all have put our 20th century agricultural production and conservation systems under increasingly greater stress, which underscores the status quo’s inadequacy to manage the risks and uncertainties that will come with 21st century production.
The report – and the message to be carried by our Farmer Envoys – holds that there are solutions now available that will deliver on FAO Director General Qu Dongyu’s Strategic Framework 2022-2031 and call for Four Betters – Better Production, Better Nutrition, Better Environment and Better Lives for All.
Our Farmer Envoys understand that today’s agriculture must address hunger, livelihoods, water scarcity, clean water, soil health, ecosystem resilience, climate change, greenhouse gases and a whole range of local and global realities. They will advocate for pathways that define agriculture through the lens of a broader reality of living as opposed to simply surviving. They will promote the resilience needed to maintain abundance in the years to come.
There is a lengthy list of technologies and innovations promoted by SfL that addresses the proliferating and varied challenges that farmers, ranchers and foresters are facing. Yet our envoys know that despite these advances, there must be a full engagement from farmers, foresters and their partners, to transform the systems of agriculture or the future will be compromised. The development of a more dynamic and robust toolbox is essential.
But that toolbox will be insufficient without the voice, experience, and understanding that the stewards of the land, like our new envoys, provide as they move to address changes and threats in real time.
The vision offered by SfL and carried by its envoys calls for working landscapes that bring production, environmental, food, and nutrition policies into harmony, while streamlining regulations that are too often overlapping and contradictory. Our envoys will call on others in the sector to focus on outcomes, not prescriptive mandates that tell farmers how to farm.
Agriculture is poised to bloom, grow, and emerge as a primary solution pathway towards the achievement of worldwide sustainable development goals, thanks in large part to the hard work, knowledge, innovation and technology utilized by those who make their livings off of the land, including our envoys. They will convey the message that an uncommon collaboration can position farmers, ranchers and foresters at the forefront of efforts to meet growing global challenges. Please join us in welcoming and supporting these leaders as they venture out onto the global stage.