SfL’s Yoder Testifies to Congress on the Role Agriculture and Forestry Can Play in Meeting the Growing Threat of a Changing Climate

October 30, 2019

For Immediate Release

Oct. 30, 2019

Fred Yoder, Co-Chair, Solutions from the Land

Fred Yoder, a fourth-generation farmer from Ohio who is co-chair of Solutions from the Land (SfL), told a congressional committee today that while climate change will pose serious challenges for the agriculture and forestry sectors, those who work the land can provide near-term, high-value, and lower-cost mitigation services that can meet the growing threat to our climate.

“Farmers and ranchers are directly impacted by climate change,” Yoder told the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, “and we as an industry are also uniquely positioned to help deliver solutions.”

SfL is a farmer led non-governmental organization that works to place America’s farms, ranches and forests at the forefront of resolving food system, energy, environmental and climate challenges, all while achieving global sustainable development goals.

Yoder acknowledged the political divisiveness that the topic can generate, but insisted that it is time to “come together and advance proven, pragmatic and innovative agricultural solutions that benefit producers, the public and the planet.”

He cited the benefits of climate smart agriculture (CSA), an approach promoted by SfL that offers three complementing and interlocking strategies to address climate challenges:

  • Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and livelihoods;
  • Enhancing adaptive capacity and improving resilience; and
  • Delivering ecosystem services, sequestering carbon, and reducing and/or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

“The reason CSA is an effective strategy for engendering farmer participation and support is that the approach places farmers at the center of all climate discussions and decisions,” the SfL co-chair told the committee.

Yoder also emphasized a number of guiding principles that should be followed as agricultural response strategies to a changing climate are developed.

“Science-based decision making should be the foundation for the adoption of climate smart technologies and practices for sustainable agriculture and global food production.” Yoder testified.

“There is no silver bullet solution for enhancing the resilience of agriculture,” he asserted “Solution strategies must embrace a systems approach.”

The SfL leader called on Congress to increase federal funding for conservation tillage, cover crop and biogas programs administered through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); as well as Environmental Quality Incentives, Conservation Stewardship and Regional Conservation Partnership Programs;

Yoder said lawmakers should rebuild the capacity of NRCS, state conservation agencies and local conservation districts to provide much needed technical assistance in writing and implementing CSA plans, and restore USDA’s ability to conduct agricultural and economic research in support of CSA. Congress can also provide funding to the nation’s land-grant colleges to expand CSA research and extension work.

In his testimony, Yoder outlined mechanisms through which farmers can deliver climate mitigation services, including carbon dioxide captured by crops, grasses and trees and sequestered in the soil; and the reduction of emissions resulting from improved agricultural management practices.

Yoder also told lawmakers that they can help the U.S. agriculture and forestry sectors avoid and offset greenhouse gas (GHG) emission from fossil fuels by promoting the use of biomass to produce renewable energy, fuels and biobased products.

Yoder closed by thanking the committee for providing farmers with the opportunity to testify. “Agriculture is a high-value and near-term solution to climate change challenges and farmers need to be directly involved in the climate change policy development process,” he said.

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For additional information, contact SfL President Ernie Shea at 410-952-0123, or Yoder at (614) 530-4510.

Solutions from the Land (SfL) is a non-profit entity focused on land-based solutions to global challenges. SfL identifies and facilitates the implementation of integrated policies, practices and projects at a landscape scale that will result in land being sustainably managed to produce food, feed, fiber and energy, while enhancing biodiversity, protecting and improving critical environmental resources and delivering high value solutions to combat climate change. For more on Solutions from the Land, click HERE.

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