Visions for a Vibrant Hudson Valley: Updates from Scenic Hudson’s President, News

“Build Back Better” is Calling for Climate-Smart Agriculture

A message from Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan

In the coming months, the U.S. Senate will vote on the Build Back Better Bill, which would make a historic investment in confronting the climate crisis and promoting environmental justice. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand strongly support the bill. However, I urge you to contact them and ask that they fight to retain appropriations that would advance climate-resilient agriculture.

Why is this important?

Climate-resilient agriculture not only has a vital role to play in sequestering vast amounts of greenhouse gases that drive the climate crisis, but in making the soils that families depend on for fresh and nutritious food healthier and more productive. Healthy soils also retain more water, helping farms withstand longer droughts and preventing flooding during increasingly frequent storm events. And since climate-resi1lient agriculture doesn’t require the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers, local drinking water supplies face less of a threat from polluted run-off.

How will the bill do this?

By allowing more farmers to protect their lands via the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s conservation programs that promote healthy soils, and by increasing education and training for farmers to adopt climate-resilient practices such as no-till and cover-cropping. Funding in the bill also is earmarked to establish more regional food systems and Community Supported Agriculture operations that will get fresh food onto consumers’ tables faster, and to expand protections for farm laborers — overwhelmingly Latinx and migrant workers — who often lack adequate health care and other basic necessities.

For more about the bill’s enormous impacts on agriculture — and on providing a potent and cost-effective natural climate solution — check out this recent article from the Rodale Institute.
 
Scenic Hudson is leading the Northeast Carbon Alliance, which is focused on replacing conventional farming in New York and surrounding states with climate-resilient practices. Funding from the Build Back Better Bill would go a long way in advancing this transformation, not only mitigating climate change but combating food insecurity across the region, which has increased dramatically during the pandemic.
 
I know you’re busy, but please take a few minutes to contact Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and let them know we can’t afford not to invest in climate-resilient agriculture. I can’t imagine a greater gift this holiday season than taking a step that helps secure our planet’s future and the well-being of all Americans.

Stay safe and stay strong,