Minneapolis—The Fifth National Climate Assessment, released today by the White House in coordination with federal agencies, reinforces the need to build a more resilient and agroecological food system, according to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Not only will growing seasons change with the climate, but also the risk for food system failure, price shocks and harm to rural communities. The assessment shows that almost half of food system greenhouse gas emissions come from production agriculture. The United States needs forward-looking, systems-based solutions that build power for farmers and rural communities to build more resilient food networks now.
The agriculture chapter of the assessment is best read jointly with the chapters on water and land. A key focus of the land chapter is the greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation value of land use choices. For example, the assessors have "low confidence" in the land use value of bio-energy crops for mitigation. The water chapter features agriculture relevant projections such as the "annual climate water deficit 2036-2065" and projected summer soil moisture impacts on agriculture and ecosystems. Planning U.S. agriculture and food systems for the future beyond the Farm Bill requires internalization of the findings of the water and land chapters, not denial or deflection of them.