VOICES: Agriculture Resilience Act will make farmers part of climate change solution

As a first-generation beginning farmer, I believe we must invest in long-term sustainable methods in agriculture that can both act as a solution to the climate crisis and increase America´s food security. We must invest in practices that rejuvenate the land and support abundance at harvest.

The 2023 Farm Bill is approaching fast, giving us the opportunity to do so. As a citizen of the great state of Ohio, I am lucky to have Senator Sherrod Brown on the Agriculture Committee. The work our Senator has done so far has served our communities greatly. Now, I would like to invite the Senator to co-sponsor the Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA), which sets the stage for the Farm Bill to make farmers part of the climate change solution by reducing the effects of greenhouse gasses and increasing carbon sequestration. The ARA would also help farmers to become more resilient in the face of the changes that they are already experiencing.

The ARA legislation will strengthen existing conservation programs that support farmers to improve soil health. Healthy soils hold more carbon and require less chemical fertilizer (or none at all). By promoting good soil health practices, we can reduce our reliance on foreign sources of chemical fertilizer, which are subject to instability due to international conflict, inflation, scarcity and shipping constraints. The ARA would also establish programs for community-based composting systems creating jobs and help close the carbon loop.

Farmers are on the frontline of climate change, dealing with increased temperatures, flooding and drought and we are all finding inventive ways to adapt to these changes in order to keep producing food. We owe it to them and to our children to help find the path forward, which is why the ARA contains significant funding for research on more resilient crop varieties and farming methods (such as pasture-based grazing and perennial crops) that help meet these challenges.

The ARA also supports on farm-energy production, allowing farmers to produce their own energy, which is good for the climate and for American sustainability and stability. We all benefit by investing in helping farms big to small, rural to urban improve operations.

In addition, the ARA helps strengthen the Local Agriculture Marketing Program (LAMP), of which Senator Brown is already a champion, by creating more support for farmers to expand markets for products that improve soil health.

Finally, the ARA would address food waste, which is an important, but less known, contributor to the climate crisis. The ARA would help standardize the current “use by” and “best by” dates on food products, which many people find confusing. Improved labelling will reduce waste, which is an important climate solution, and also helps to address hunger in our communities.

By co-sponsoring the ARA, Senator Brown can support citizens and farmers like myself to combat climate change, strengthen the food network, reignite local and regional markets, restore whole ecosystems and feed our communities.

Joshua Couch is an aspiring regenerative agriculturalist and a proud citizen of Miamisburg, Ohio, where he lives with his wife, Mia.

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