Producers urge Congress to make more fair policy towards regenerative agriculture
Producers from small and medium-sized farms spoke with lawmakers in Washington about regenerative practices. They asked Congress to adjust policy to make it more fair and sustainable and to increase support.
Here is what they had to say:
California Congressman Ro Khanna says, “Climate change poses serious threats to food security as the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events increase disruption threatens our food supply at home and abroad. Farmers are a key part of the solution. Today I’m introducing legislation to support regenerative agriculture. We must fully fund the USDA’s conservation programs. We must reform them to provide farmers more flexibility to do what they think is best as opposed to being dictated by corporate executives who may have no actual experience in farming.”
Bonnie Haugen, a Minnesota dairy farmer, says, “Regenerative agriculture differs a little bit from sustainable agriculture. We look closer at the soil and think more about how the manure acts with the soil. Our unique farming methods have helped us survive difficult times on the farm and benefit the environment. Federal programs, such as the Conservation Stewardship Program, help farmers understand and benefit from implementing regenerative practices. I urge you to support increased funding.”
President of the Association of American Indian Farmers, Kara Boyd says, “Being an indigenous person here in North America, I highly value food security and resiliency. Regenerative agriculture increases the resilience of our lands and profitability for producers, but unfortunately, federal policies including the Farm Bill, currently are not supporting farmers and ranchers in this transition. On behalf of our regenerative farmers, you have the opportunity to foster this change. The House Oversight Committee should be aware of these problems and their root cause as well as the solution and opportunity that lies and regenerating the soil beneath our feet.”
Doug Doughty, a Missouri grain farmer, and cattle producer says, “There is less topsoil, more carbon in the air, and more agriculture-related greenhouse gas emissions than yesterday. Overall, methane emissions have declined since 1990, but agricultural-related methane emissions have risen. The claim is Missouri Health ordinances fell victim to intense lobbying from corporate agriculture in 2019, or state government, commandeered by corporate ag, has eroded state protections and regulations on CAFOs to near the EPA baseline. Weakening state rules are described as coming in line with federal regulation. The EPA doesn’t have regulations in place to protect us from CAFOs, but EPA is our last line of defense. In the meantime, our own USDA funds CAFOs to pay for manure lagoons and animal mortality facilities. Why is the USDA underwriting pollution with conservation dollars? Let’s direct a larger percentage of USDA dollars toward small and midsize family farms seeking to implement cover crops, and sustainable livestock practices. Let’s fund resourceful farming and food initiatives that contribute to the public good.”
The federal government already provides some support for regenerative agriculture and conservation practices, but producers say there are not enough resources for them right now.