Regardless of how the presidential election turned out, American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says they knew that climate change would be a hot topic going forward. That’s why back in February, they joined the Environmental Defense Fund, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and the National Farmers Union to form The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, or FACA.
Duvall said of forming the alliance, “We decided if we start going to Congress, we’ve got to make sure that we have a group of people that congressman will pay attention to. We met with some like and not-so-like groups that don’t quite think the way we do all the time, just to try to discover whether or not we could find some common ground that our policy covers. Because my policy book guides me in all those conversations.”
Together, the group developed more than 40 recommendations based on three principles: agricultural and forestry climate policies must be built upon voluntary, incentive-based programs and market-driven opportunities; they must promote resilience and adaptation in rural communities; and they must be science-based.
Duvall recognizes that some farmers might have some heartburn and concern about these climate discussions, but he says, “I assure our farmers and ranchers that we’re going to do the right thing. What we’re trying to do is make sure we protect them, make sure it’s farmer friendly, and hopefully create a new stream of revenue for you. A lot of times, a stream of revenue on things that we’re already doing.”
He added, “If we don’t take our seat at the table, they’re going to take farmers and ranchers and put them in the middle of the table and they’ll eat us for lunch. And it will cost us a ton and we will be very upset. So, we’re going to take that seat as long as our policy book will allow us to stay there.”
You can read the full recommendations from the alliance at agclimatealliance.com.
Duvall spoke during the Indiana Farm Bureau annual convention last weekend.