Farmers 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, threatening our food system and our future.
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, organic farming, 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.
Since the United States pulled out of the Paris Accord on Climate Change, it is more critical than ever that we do everything we can to take action on a personal, local, and state level and engage with our members of Congress. A shift toward organic and regenerative farming methods and away from fossil fuels is necessary to avoid the worst effects of a warming planet, and that will not happen without your action today.
There are real ways you can make an impact starting today.
If you farm, consider ways to minimize soil tillage, integrate diverse cover crop strategies, and utilize renewable energy. Contact OEFFA's Sustainable Agriculture Educator for more information. Let us help you set up a meeting with your member of Congress in your community. They need to hear from you directly and know this is an important issue to you and that organic and regenerative agriculture is part of the solution.
If you don't farm, but want to be part of the solution, consider purchasing regionally produced and organic foods. Ask your state representatives and members of Congress what they are doing to incentivize organic and regenerative agriculture. Write a letter to the editor. Get engaged with OEFFA today and share your ideas with us.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208.