Farmers Join On-Going Climate Change Protest

Ahead of this week’s UN General Assembly, protestors around the world took to the street to express frustration about inaction on climate change. Some farmers are also looking for action from lawmakers in Washington.

Farmers saw first hand this season the effects of extreme weather.

“All of our crops have been delayed, the yields are down because of weather, and a lot of crops actually were not put in the ground because of weather. That’s going to impact farmers across the state and increase feed cost and less income.” - Bryce Luchterhand, WI Farmer

A group representing 10,000 farmers came to Washington this month to advocate for the Green New Deal, joining voices who are already pushing for more funding and support for measures like farm bill conservation programs.

“Having that ability to offset the price that it does cost to implement some climate smart options like cover crops or precision technology to make sure you’re only applying what you need when you need it is really helpful.” - Anne Schwager, MN Farmer

Schwagel says her neighbors use USDA’s Conservation Stewardship Program to plant cover crops, but the limited nature of funding presents a challenge. The National Farmers Union is leading a charge to expand voluntary conservation programs like CSP and EQUIP, which they say are already known, popular, and oversubscribed, evidence that farmers are looking for a seat at the climate table.

Though the topic of climate change is still an inflammatory one for many in ag, Jenny Hopkinson, National Farmers Union Government Relations, says the ability to manage and adapt through changing weather patterns is becoming a question of long-term economic viability.

“Climate change is a loaded term and I appreciate that, but I think that farmers recognize that something is going on.” - Jenny Hopkinson, National Farmers Union Government Relations

As some farmers and rural communities continue to struggle with the aftermath of flooding, protestors around the world urge leaders participating in the UNs Climate Summit this week to focus on action, particularly around carbon emissions.

The National Farmers Union is also pushing for more market-based approaches to compensate farmers for conservation, strong research funding, and the promotion of on-farm energy production.

Report by: Sarah Mock