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Climate Change and Farming

Farmers across Ohio and the country increasingly struggle with severe and unpredictable weather, including drought, flooding, and extreme temperature fluctuations. At the root of these challenges is a progressively warming planet that, if not mitigated, could dramatically transform American agriculture and threaten our food system.

Agriculture is a significant contributor to global climate change, responsible for 10 percent or more of human-made carbon dioxide emissions, 60 percent of nitrous oxide emissions, and about 50 percent of the country’s methane emissions. A heavy reliance on petrochemical inputs,  intensive cultivation of land and animals, long distance shipping, and indirectly, deforestation, all contribute to the problem.

Local food systems and organic and regenerative farming have smaller climate footprints for several reasons. Most importantly, organic farming is not dependent on petrochemical inputs—fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides—in which tremendous quantities of fossil fuel energy are embedded. Farmers that integrate diverse cover crop rotations sequester carbon in the soil, increase soil organic matter, and reduce the need for synthetic fertilizer.

Not only do organic and sustainable farming systems reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they also outperform conventional farming during drought and weather stress which are likely to become more frequent in a warming world.

It is essential that we respond quickly and aggressively to the threat of climate change. A shift toward organic and regenerative farming methods and away from fossil fuels is necessary to avoid the worst effects of a warming planet. 

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Take Action

In order to protect the viability of farmers and the entire food system, OEFFA supports actions taken at the local, state, federal, and international levels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and respond to the effects of climate disruption. An important first step is to incentivize clean energy development at the state and federal level. We must also work to protect the programs that help farmers transition away from chemically intensive agriculture and advocate for common sense regulations that don't put up roadblocks for small and mid-sized farms wanting to market their products locally.

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The success of our policy work relies on OEFFA's dedicated members, who are leading the way to strong and healthy local food systems. For more information about OEFFA's policy work or to get involved, contact policy@oeffa.org or (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208.

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