Posted on June 24, 2017 by krousekatie
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Full Belly Farm in Guinda signed it. Earth Equals Farm in San Diego signed it. Nye Ranch in Fort Bragg signed it, too.
Last week, the Community Alliance With Family Farmers (CAFF) and the Farmers Guild, its network of local farming groups, posted the California Farmers Climate Pledge in response to President Trump’s June 1 announcement that he was pulling the country out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, an international accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More than 80 farmers and ranchers, to date, have signed on to the pledge in order to support “the science, commitment and goals outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement.”
“We vow to continually improve our own on-farm practices to conserve energy and sequester carbon,” the farmers’ pledge reads in part. “But we also believe in the dire importance of a collective, worldwide commitment by all nations — including our own — to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target stated in the Paris Climate Agreement, all while building a cleaner, 21st century economy.
Immediately after the president’s Paris Agreement announcement, governors of 12 states and Puerto Rico committed to honoring the Paris Agreement even if the federal government would not. Mayors of hundreds of U.S. cities, big and small, signed on. Numerous universities and major corporations have since added their names to a “We Are Still In” pledge (posted at www.wearestillin.com).
Evan Wiig, communications and membership director for CAFF, said several farmers who were inspired by the governors and mayors told the Davis organization they would like to do something similar. It took several weeks for the group to draft language and circulate it.
Rich Collins, of Collins Farm in Solano County near Dixon, said that he signed the pledge out of a sense of embarrassment.
“(The Paris Agreement) is so foundational and fundamental. Soil and agriculture — when I say agriculture I don’t just mean row crops but rangeland — can play a big role in mitigating climate change,” Collins said. “It’s only going to be to the benefit of agriculture. Soils with more carbon in them perform better, they have more water capacity and diverse soil life, and can produce more disease-resistant crops. It’s such a profound win-win-win.”
Wiig said the signatories represent a wide spectrum of ranches, orchards and vegetable farms. The majority of the signers are currently located in Northern California, but the counties they represent were tinted both red and blue on 2016 election maps.
“A lot of the farmers we work with are concerned with this conception that farmers are more conservative,” Wiig said. “There are a lot of agriculture organizations that attempt to speak for farmers who deny climate change or avoid the regulations and efforts to combat climate change. In our experience, that’s not representative of all farmers.”
The pledge invites additional California farmers and ranchers to sign on. Wiig said that the goal is to show voters and legislators that farmers are ready to take action to combat climate change, and that funds shouldn’t just go to clean energy, but also to the agricultural sector. “We’re not talking just about reducing carbon emissions,” Wiig said, “but reversing that cycle and taking that carbon in the atmosphere and putting it back in the ground.”
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