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NMPF, NCFC Lead Coalition Backing Climate-Smart Ag Investments

September 2, 2021

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) on Aug. 5 led a coalition of 12 agricultural and conservation organizations on a letter advocating for significant new funding for climate-smart agricultural practices that can help farmers to build on their environmental stewardship leadership.

Congressional efforts toward infrastructure legislation provide opportunities for substantial new investments in conservation support, with more emphasis on climate-smart agricultural practices. USDA conservation financial incentives provide farmers with voluntary technical assistance to carry out numerous stewardship practices. But more can be done to enhance practices that can yield meaningful environmental benefits, such as climate-smart manure and feed management on dairy farms.

“Dairy farmers are proactive stewards of their land and water resources, but they are always seeking to innovate further. Dairy farmers in 2020 committed to become carbon-neutral or better by 2050 and maximize water quality around the country. Bolstering conservation investment and focusing on climate-smart practices better positions dairy farmers to fulfill the dairy sector’s 2050 environmental stewardship goals as envisioned in the Net Zero Initiative,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.

NMPF, NCFC, and their colleagues call in the letter for increased spending on conservation incentives, including strong technical and financial assistance, with a greater focus on climate-smart practices. The organizations also support new rural broadband resources in pending infrastructure legislation. The letter also reiterates the signers’ major concerns regarding several proposed changes to tax policy that would undermine the transfer of family farms from one generation to the next.

Congress is expected this fall to pass a major budget package using a process known as reconciliation, which eliminates the 60-vote threshold normally needed to adopt legislation in the Senate. The budget resolution Congress is advancing this month to tee up that bill includes instructions to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to enable them to boost funding for conservation and climate smart ag practices. The Senate passed the budget resolution on Aug. 11, and the House subsequently adopted it Aug. 24.

Organizations that joined NMPF and NCFC on the letter include the Agricultural Retailers Association, American Seed Trade Association, CropLife America, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Farmers Union, National Potato Council, Produce Marketing Association, and U.S. Apple Association.