Farm, Forestry Producers Offer Climate Change Solutions

Taking place this week in Rome is the annual forum of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA), a dynamic gathering of representatives from around the world discussing challenges, sharing solutions and building partnerships to develop food, feed and fiber production practices that sustainably increase output and system resilience, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Among those participating in this high-profile event are representatives of the North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (NACSAA), which is facilitated by Solutions from the Land (SfL). NACSAA leaders in Rome are promoting the three-pillar platform at the heart of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA):

  • Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and livelihoods (i.e. sustainable intensification);
  • Adapting and building more resilience; and
  • Delivering ecosystem services and reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions.

The platform plays a critical role in helping agriculture deliver solutions from the land that support and help attain the sustainable development goals laid out by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the agreement hammered out by 190 countries in Paris last December.

Through its adherence to the three-pillar platform, SfL directly supports those development goals through a variety of projects that, in each case, help “repurpose” agriculture, making the public and policy makers aware of the sector’s ability to sustainably meet society’s increasing appetite for food, fiber, energy and environmental quality.

The NACSAA contingent, including its Chairman and Solutions from the Land (SfL) board member Fred Yoder, a longtime corn, soybean and wheat producer, and past president of the National Corn Growers Association; and Ernie Shea, president of SfL and a former CEO of the National Association of Conservation Districts, are offering presentations and engaging in dialogue with other CSA stakeholders, emphasizing that agriculture and forestry producers can contribute significantly to the outcomes the summit seeks.

Yoder and Shea have carried with them to Rome NACSAA’s commitment to the global alliance’s aim to improve people’s food security and nutrition in the face of climate change. NACSAA representatives are pressing the governments, farm organizations, scientific interests, businesses and others attending the summit to realize that farmers should be kept at the center of all efforts.

SfL’s work, through NACSAA, enables farm leaders and their value chain partners to collaborate in developing ways to improve the resiliency of production systems, and adapt to and mitigate present and future risks from changing climatic conditions. The alliance advocates for solutions that support agricultural landscapes, under variable weather and climate, in order to maintain the sustainable production of food, feed, fiber and energy, and ensure the integrity of our natural resource base.

Using a “large landscapes” approach, Solutions from the Land has developed and is facilitating the efforts of:

· The North Carolina Agriculture and Forestry Adaptation Work Group (NC-ADAPT), which is exploring the impacts of increasingly extreme weather events and changing climatic conditions on the agricultural and forestry sectors of the state; and constructing an adaptive management plan to improve agriculture and forestry resiliency and further enhance the economic viability of these sectors for decades to come.

· The Delmarva Land and Litter Challenge, an initiative gathering a diverse cross section of grain growers, poultry producers and integrators, academic experts, extension agents, along with conservation and business partners, to develop the tools and resources to manage nutrient pollution associated with the storage, transport and land application of poultry litter on the Delmarva Peninsula in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Most recently, SfL undertook the Upper Midwest Climate Smart Initiative, which aims to design and begin implementing a three-to-five year climate smart/resilient agriculture action plan that will help Upper Midwest farmers adapt to changing climatic conditions, improve the resiliency of their operations and further enable agricultural landscapes in the region to deliver multiple food, feed, fiber, energy and ecosystems services from the land.

25x’25 represents SfL’s clean energy platform and promotes the vision that by 2025, America’s farms, forests and ranches will provide 25 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States, while continuing to produce safe, abundant, and affordable food, feed and fiber.

In taking an active role in the global summit this week, SfL is promoting the importance of multi-stakeholder, public-private sector collaboration in developing land based solutions to global, regional and landscape challenges. SfL stands ready to help meet the goals of GACSA’s ambitious future, in which farmers, ranchers and foresters are at the center of the action for overcoming new challenges in changing times.

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