Every day I see how our farmers and ranchers steward the land in the face of ever-mounting environmental and economic challenges. For them, the greatest reward is not only pursuing a livelihood they love, and have often carried out for generations, but in sustainably producing the food, fuel and fiber that our country needs to thrive.
Our farmers and ranchers see the potential of the land every time they prepare the ground for a new planting or gather a new harvest. It’s a potential that extends beyond food production to contributing to solutions for our planet and future generations. And one of the most profound ways the agriculture sector can make a difference is through natural climate solutions. More and more of our farmers are using climate-smart agriculture practices that protect our vital soil and its huge potential to store carbon. In fact, U.S. soils store 100 times more carbon than total U.S. emissions in a year. Deploying climate-smart practices is an effective solution to not only eliminate the sector’s own carbon emissions but that of other sectors as well.
That’s why we are so proud to have joined U.S. Nature4Climate, a forward-thinking coalition of conservation, environmental and sustainable business organizations committed to ensuring our forests, farms, ranches, grasslands and wetlands are a vital part of the strategy to combat climate change.
At U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action (USFRA), we believe that our working lands and the amazing folks who steward them have incredible potential to contribute to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), as our recent report in partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development made clear.
Our farmers and ranchers know first-hand that nature-based solutions to climate change are powerful, but often overlooked, and that sustainable stewardship of the land can positively impact other critical environmental, social and economic factors. Through their own resilient practices, stewards of the land can unleash nature’s own healing and restorative potential.
Agriculture is truly the one sector that has stood up in a profound way to enable the United States to commit to climate action and to act meaningfully on the SDGs and to transform our rural economies. This is captured in our recently launched Decade of Ag vision for a resilient, restorative, economically viable and climate-smart agricultural system that produces abundant and nutritious food, natural fiber and clean energy for a sustainable, vibrant and prosperous America.
We’re excited that U.S. Nature4Climate shares this vision, including the huge untapped potential for carbon sequestration in our soils through climate-smart agricultural practices. Through this knowledge-rich organization, and our complementary perspectives, we can learn from one another and be stronger together advancing nature-based solutions to climate change.
Every time farmers and ranchers are part of the conversation to more sustainably steward the land and create the resilient food systems of the future, the greater the chance for success. Every harvest is an opportunity to get it right—but with an eye to achieving the SDGs by 2030, that’s less than 30 harvests. Collaborating with partners like U.S. Nature4Climate is our best bet to make every harvest count.
Erin Fitzgerald is the Chief Executive Officer at U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action.