June 30, 2023

Farmers lobby for climate, ag programs in farm bill

Farmers from six states joined the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to meet with congressional leaders and USDA officials to advocate for climate solutions and other issues in the 2023 Farm Bill.

The delegation’s June 14 visit to Washington, D.C., included representatives from Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania, who discussed issues including climate solutions, conservation, crop insurance and sustainable agricultural research.

Detroit farmer Jøn Kent of Sanctuary Farms joined others to champion federal programs important to them and their communities.

“It was an honor to speak with legislators about the vital issue of providing more resources to urban farmers, particularly those of color and marginalized backgrounds,” Kent said in a news release. “Cities play a vital role in securing healthy soils and food to ensure we are providing a sustainable future for all citizens.

“This issue is not just one of food security but one of national security,” he said in the release. “We have to work together to ensure all are equitably provided for, and this requires advocacy.”

Other issues included local and regional food systems, working lands conservation, and support for the Agriculture Resilience Act and the Strengthening Local Processing Act.

“It was inspiring and so generative to share space with an array of farmers from around the nation and to reach across the aisle to address a universal need for this year’s Farm Bill — increased access to critical Farm Bill programs,” Hagan Capnerhurst of Michigan Food and Farming Systems said in the release.

Michigan Food and Farming Systems is a nonprofit that works with beginning and underserved farmers to navigate USDA programs.

Farmers in all regions confront extreme weather events, pests and hotter and drier conditions, among other climate-related challenges, that affect productivity and livelihoods and take a toll on natural resources. They need greater support and access to federal programs in order to implement effective solutions, according to the release.

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