Progressive agriculture groups rally for land access, climate-smart policies in farm bill

Demonstrators at the “Rally for Resilience,” headed by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, in Washington, D.C., on March 7, 2023. Photo by Adam Goldstein || States Newsroom

Regenerative agriculture is the way forward,’ said one Arizona farmer

By Adam Goldstein || Arizona Mirror

Farmers and leaders from more than 20 progressive agricultural groups gathered this week to march on the U.S. Capitol, and promote climate solutions and underserved producers as priority issues for lawmakers in the upcoming farm bill. 

“As farmers, we are close to the land. We love the land. We understand the sanctity and the sacredness of water. We understand the essence of life,” said Duane “Chili” Yazzie, a regenerative farmer in New Mexico and member of Shiprock Chapter of the Navajo Nation, to dozens of demonstrators at Freedom Plaza Tuesday. 

“We demand that we — as small farmers, as the BIPOC farmers, as the farmers that need a helping hand — must have the provisions in the farm bill that make sense to us.” 

During the three-day “Rally for Resilience,” headed by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, attendees met with lawmakers and hosted a demonstration at Freedom Plaza. Organizers called for sustainable practices, decreased industry consolidation, and improved land access for people of color and family farmers. 

The farm bill is a multiyear omnibus spending law which authorizes an array of agricultural and food programs, including federal crop insurance, food stamp benefits, international food aid and farm resource conservation. 

The roughly $500 billion bill is renewed close to every five years, and includes mandatory spending that must be in line with previous farm bills. The legislation is up for renewal in 2023. 

Sustainable agriculture and climate change

Speakers at the Rally for Resilience lobbied for legislators to embrace regenerative agriculture in the upcoming farm bill, and help farmers become part of the climate solution amid worsening growing conditions. 

Regenerative agriculture is a set of farming and grazing practices that work to restore soil ecosystem health, and can sequester carbon dioxide while increasing resilience to climate change. 

“It makes me angry, and it makes me frustrated to see people in positions of power deny the reality and the severity of climate change,” said Marielena Vega, a farm worker organizer with the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils, at the Tuesday demonstration. 


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March 2023