In a sweeping and regressive executive order on energy, President Donald Trump has reversed years of progress in the US-led fight against climate change. The order dismantles critical Obama-era policies that prepare the United States to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, according to the US National Farmers Union
“Climate change jeopardizes American food security and the livelihoods of American family farmers, ranchers and rural residents,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “This executive order sends a very clear message to Americans and the rest of the world that our country will not lead the global effort to curtail climate change. It also stems any further progress the United States can collectively make to thwart the severe effects of climate change.”
Trump’s executive order rescinds more than half a dozen federal regulations and guidance that aid in making the U.S. food system more climate resilient. This includes an August 2016 White House guidance for federal agencies to consider climate change in environmental reviews and a November 2013 order instructing the federal government to prepare for the impacts of climate change.
“For American farmers, truck drivers, shipping companies, distributors, retailers, and consumers, climate change poses very real and immediate threats to their pocketbooks,” said Johnson. “By disregarding climate change science and considerations, the president is putting our nation’s food system, and those that rely upon it, at risk.”
Obama-era climate policies created a path of sustainability for family farmers and ranchers dealing with climate change by curbing carbon emissions that trap heat and change the climate. They also paved the way for agriculture to be a major contributor to reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and moved the needle toward compensating producers for environmental services, Johnson noted.
“Considering family farmers’ and ranchers’ potential for sinking major amounts of carbon in their soils, agriculture needs to be engaged by the administration and to be a leader in the movement to mitigate climate change,” said Johnson.
“Discounting climate implications hinders our nation’s ability to protect it’s food system. NFU urges the administration to consider the devastating effects of climate change on the livelihoods and well-being of family farmers, ranchers and rural communities.”
NFU delegates in March passed a special order of business, titled, “Family Farming and Leading the Way on Climate Change,” which calls on the organization to lead and support efforts for the advancement of carbon storage in the soils of family farmers, ranchers, and agro-foresters.
NFU supports the creation of new agriculture-based markets that reward those that practice and implement conservation techniques scientifically proven to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.