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Agriculture & Climate Change

The effects of climate change are becoming clear across rural America. Rising average temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns, changing growing seasons, increasingly frequent and severe weather events, and rising sea levels are making it more difficult to grow food, fuel, and fiber. These difficulties will only intensify over time.

However, farmers and ranchers hold immense power to address this crisis—as many already are. They have implemented conservation practices that build soil health, which make the land more resilient to extreme weather and help to sequester carbon. They are also adopting climate-smart practices that reduce consumption of fossil fuels and inputs.

Food security, a healthy landscape, climate mitigation, and a prosperous rural America can only be attained through a strong family farm system of agriculture. 

A bold proposal to transform our society is needed to address the effects of climate change. However, current bills before Congress such as the Green New Deal (H.R. 109) and the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 763) appeal primarily to an urban voter base and do not recognize the essential contribution of rural America. The farming community recognizes that current bills include proposals that could either help or harm agriculture. However, we believe doing nothing will lead to far greater harm and that national climate change legislation has the potential to unite urban and rural communities under a common vision for a just and sustainable society. 

Wisconsin Farmers Union urges Congress to make passing legislation to address climate change a national priority. 

Farmers and rural communities are uniquely positioned to meet the goals set forth in any future climate change legislation. We have the available land base for alternative energy and the opportunity to transform farming practices to sequester excess carbon and improve the health of the environment. We need to have a seat at the table as the climate change legislation is being developed. 

Family farm agriculture must be protected under and included in any climate change legislation. 

We can be the solution.

Wisconsin Farmers Union supports: 

  • Research, cost share, and other voluntary incentives to help family farmers adopt practices and infrastructure that mitigate climate change and sequester carbon without placing additional regulatory burdens on farmers 

  • Efforts to ensure that regenerative agriculture policies increase market opportunities for family farmers. 

  • USDA Climate Hubs coordinating climate information, agronomic and risk management support, and programs that enhance marketing options to allow family farmers to effectively utilize opportunities to enhance profits while mitigating climate change. 

  • Energy efficiency, renewable energy production, and further development of the bioeconomy on family farms and in rural communities 

  • Cooperation and collaboration among family farmers to build and expand market infrastructure that will allow consumers to choose agricultural products that create climate benefits. 

  • New opportunities for family farmers to articulate their climate mitigation efforts with consumers through food processors and retailers 

  • Protecting family farmland from carbon-intensive suburban sprawl development 

  • Protecting competition in the markets that family farmers buy from and sell into, allowing for more prescriptive demands of excessively consolidated markets. 


We need our legislators and policymakers to:

  • Include actual farmers of all scales in the climate policymaking process.

  • Support incentives that help farmers transition to climate-smart practices that enhance the soil’s capacity to sequester excess carbon from the atmosphere and retain rainfall. 

  • Help our institutions and agribusinesses research, develop, and implement regenerative practices. 

  • Endorse and grow statewide efforts to address climate change in addition to nationwide efforts.

  • Support programs and policies in the next Farm Bill that restore soil health and natural habitats, mitigate water and air pollution, and sequester carbon.

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