Field to Market, the Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, has released the findings from its latest Cross-Sector Dialogue: Seeking Common Ground on Climate Action. More than 70 experts from across the agricultural value chain, including grower groups, agribusinesses, brands and retailers, civil society, academia and public sector partners, came together to “explore strategies for both building resilience in and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production systems”.
Explaining the significance of the all-industry gathering, Mr. Rod Snyder, president of Field to Market, said, “We believe that no single company or organization can solve the pressing challenges facing today’s food and agriculture industry alone. Our Cross-Sector Dialogues are a vital opportunity for our members to come together with their peers to surface honest conversations and actionable solutions.”
Expert panels and roundtable discussions focused on sharing experiences and developing solutions in four key areas:
- Global challenges and local solutions – the role of U.S. agriculture in tackling climate change
Farmers can be the “heroes of climate change solutions”, but more research is needed to address knowledge gaps that stand in the way of more decisive action. This includes deeper analysis of the economic impacts of climate change and more consumer behavior research to improve messaging to the public to help them understand and support climate smart agriculture.
- Risky business – preparing for the financial impacts of more extreme weather
Participants recommended steps that U.S. agriculture can take to bolster resilience to a changing climate. Solutions ranged from sharing the costs and risks of climate adaptation across the value chain so that it isn’t down to farmers alone to offering crop insurance discounts to growers that practice climate smart agriculture.
- Monetizing climate solutions – learning from past carbon markets
The discussion centred on how to operate voluntary carbon markets at scale in the absence of federal climate policy. Participants highlighted the importance of economic incentives for farmers and the need for funding from a more diverse and much larger pool of investors.
- Partnering for progress – working together on climate mitigation strategies
Participants identified critical motivators for farmers to work with downstream companies on climate mitigation strategies and highlighted some of the barriers that need to be addressed. For example, growers can’t always afford to invest in technology to improve their efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their farm. However, supply chain programs could help make these solutions more accessible.
For more detail on the Seeking Common Ground on Climate Action discussion and key findings, read the summary here (pdf).
Further reading: Mitigating Climate Risk in Agriculture