Agriculture en Tue, 21 Jun 2022 21:03:19 +0000 Resolving the Food Crisis: Assessing Global Policy Reforms Since 2007 <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/timothy-wise" hreflang="en">Timothy Wise</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/sophia-murphy" hreflang="en">Sophia Murphy</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h3>Executive summary</h3> <p>The recent spikes in global food-prices in 2007-08 served as a wake-up call to the global community on the inadequacies of our global food system. Commodity prices doubled, the estimated number of hungry people topped one billion and food riots spread through the developing world. A second price spike in 2010-11, which is expected to drive the global food import bill for 2011 to an astonishing $1.3 trillion, only deepened the sense that the policies and principles guiding agricultural development and food security were deeply flawed. </p> <p>There is now widespread agreement that international agricultural prices will remain significantly higher than precrisis levels for at least the next decade, with many warning that demand will outstrip supply by 2050 unless concerted action is taken to address the underlying problems with our food system.</p> <p>The crisis certainly awakened the global community. Since 2007, governments and international agencies have made food security a priority issue, and with a decidedly different tone. They stress the importance of agricultural development and food production in developing countries, the key role of small-scale farmers and women, the challenge of limited resources in a climate-constrained world, the important role of the state in “country-led” agricultural development programs, the critical role of public investment. For many, these priorities represent a sea change from policies that sought to free markets from government policies seen as hampering efficient resource allocation. Now that those policies and markets have failed to deliver food security, the debates over how countries and international institutions should manage our food system are more open than they have been in decades.</p> <p>The purpose of this report is to look beyond the proclamations and communiqués to assess what has really changed since the crisis erupted. While not exhaustive, the report looks at: Overseas Development Assistance, both in terms of how much and what is funded; Multilateral Development Banks’ policies and programs; selected U.N. agencies and initiatives, notably the Committee on Food Security (CFS); the G-20 group of economically powerful governments; and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, who has injected a resonant “right to food” approach to the issue.</p> <p> </p> <ul><li>low levels of investment in developing-country agriculture in general and small-scale agriculture in particular; </li> <li>reduced support for publicly funded research and development and increased reliance on private research;</li> <li>a reliance on international trade to meet domestic food needs in poor countries that can ill-afford the import dependence and declining local production; </li> <li> <div>a bias toward cash crops for export over food production for domestic markets; </div> </li> <li> <div>increasing land use for non-food agricultural crops such as biofuels for industrial uses;</div> </li> <li> <div>support for high-input agricultural methods over more environmentally sustainable low-input systems; </div> </li> <li> <div>inadequate attention to the linkages between climate change and food security; and </div> </li> <li> <div>deregulation of commodity markets and increasing financial speculation in agricultural commodities,  including staple food crops as well as land.</div> </li> </ul><h4>Findings</h4> <div>Our review suggests that on the positive side, the food crisis was an important catalyst for change. As high prices persisted and public protest mounted, many governments were confronted with “moments of truth,” the cumulative result of which was to question some of the assumptions that had driven food and agriculture policy over the past few decades. This prompted renwed attention to agricultural development, reversing the long-standing neglect of agriculture as a vital economic sector. It also brought some important new funding, though at levels still far short of what is needed. </div> <div> </div> <div>The stated priorities for much of that funding suggest distinct improvement over the policies of the past few decades. The needs and political voices of small-scale farmers and women; environmental issues, including climate change; and, the weaknesses of international markets now receive more attention. The additional funding for these important areas is also driven by greater openness to country-led programs with strong state involvement, a marked change from past priorities. </div> <div> </div> <div>Our review suggests areas of great concern, though. We see neither the necessary urgency nor the willingness to change policies that contributed to the recent crisis. New international funding is welcome, but only $6.1 billion of the G-8’s pledged $22 billion, three-year commitment represents new money, and those pledges have been slow to materialize and are now threatened with cutbacks as developed countries adopt austerity measures. The overwhelming priority is to increase production. There are reasons to focus on this, specifically within low-income net-food importing countries. The setting of production targets at the global level, however, encourages an expansion in industrial agriculture and the consolidation of land holdings, including land grabs, and ignores environmental constraints and equity issues. </div> <div> </div> <div>Beyond funding, we find that the policies that contributed to the recent food-price crisis have gone largely unchanged, leaving global food security as fragile as ever. The world needs policies that discourage biofuels expansion, regulate financial speculation, limit irresponsible land investments, encourage the use of buffer stocks, move away from fossil fuel dependence and toward agro-ecological practices, and reform global agricultural trade rules to support rather than undermine food security objectives. </div> <div> </div> <div>Unfortunately, we find that the international institutions reviewed have shown too little resolve to address these issues. Although at the G-20 the world’s most economically powerful nations have asserted leadership on food security, their actions have been tepid if not counterproductive. This has had a chilling effect on reform efforts elsewhere in the international system, most notably at the United Nations. This raises important governance issues. The U.N.’s CFS is formally recognized by most institutions as the appropriate body to </div> <div>coordinate the global response to the food crisis, because of both its mandate and its inclusive, multi- takeholder structure. Yet in practice the G-20 has systematically constrained the reform agenda. Similarly, the WTO’s recent efforts to give the Doha Agenda more relevance by including food security issues in the form of restrictions on exporting countries’ use of export tariffs have failed, because many of the exporters (most of the G-20 members) refuse to surrender that policy space. Not surprisingly, importing countries’ wish for the same policy space with regard to their imports are now more determined than ever to insist on their rights.</div> <div> </div> <div>The recent food-price crisis exposed the fragility of the global food system. A paradigm shift is underway, caused by the deepening integration of agricultural, energy and financial markets in a resource-constrained world made more vulnerable by climate change. Powerful multinational firms dominate these markets. Many benefit from current policies and practices and their interests are a dominant influence in national and global policies—slowing, diverting, or halting needed action. This leaves international institutions promoting market-friendly reforms but resistant to imposing the concomitant regulations required to ensure well-functioning food and agricultural markets.</div> <div> </div> <div> <div>Three areas in particular demand decisive action:</div> <ul><li>Biofuels expansion – There is a clear international consensus that current policies to encourage biofuel expansion, particularly in the United States and Europe, are a major contributor to rising demand, tight supplies and rising prices. Yet international institutions, from the G-20 to the U.N. High-Level Task Force to the CFS, have diluted their demands for actions to address this problem.</li> <li>Price volatility – High spikes in prices remain a major problem for poor people worldwide, and for foodimporting developing countries in particular. The policy goal, for effective market functioning and for food security, should be relatively stable prices that are remunerative to farmers and affordable to consumers. We find few concrete actions toward this goal. There is strong evidence that financial speculation contributed to recent food-price volatility, though there remains considerable debate on the subject. As an FAO report on the topic noted, there is no demonstrated benefit to the public of allowing such speculation, and the potential costs are huge. Precautionary regulations are warranted but few have been taken. Similarly, the lack of publicly held food reserves contributes to the shortages that make speculation possible while leaving vulnerable countries at risk. Reserves should be explored more actively than simply as emergency regional humanitarian policy instruments. </li> <li>Land grabs – The scale and pace of land grabs is truly alarming, driven by financial speculation and land-banking by sovereign wealth funds in resource-constrained nations. The consensus is that such investments are not good for either food security or development. As laudable as recent efforts are to promote “responsible agricultural investment,” these initiatives risk being “too little too late” for a fast-moving phenomenon. Meanwhile, international institutions, such as the World Bank, must do more to protect smallscale producers’ access to land. </li> </ul><div> </div> <div>Fortunately, many developing countries are not waiting for international action or permission to more aggressively address the problems that can be dealt with at a national or regional level. Many of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) projects in Africa, for example, emphasize the kinds of changes that are needed. CAADP has four pillars: land and water management, market access, food supply and hunger, and agricultural research. Bangladesh and other countries used food reserves to reduce the impact of the food-price spikes in far more ambitious efforts than the G-20 is proposing to support in West Africa. </div> <div> </div> <div>Developing-country governments will be central to bringing about such changes. They need the policy space to pursue their own solutions and they need the support of the international community to demand deeper reform in developed-country policies. The evidence discussed in this report suggests the paradigm shift has started but is incomplete. Many developing-country governments have chosen to step away from the prevailing orthodoxy of the last several decades and are again exploring a larger role for the public sector in governing agriculture and food. Donors, too, have shown some willingness to re-order priorities and to give greater space to agriculture, and to changing priorities within agricultural spending to acknowledge the need for more inclusive and sustainable outcomes. But they still resist more fundamental reform and continue to promote private investment and liberalized markets, relying on humanitarian aid and social safety nets to try to help those who are displaced by the policies.</div> <div> </div> <div>Perhaps not surprisingly, developed-country governments have yet to make the needed changes to their domestic policies. Comfortable with re-ordering development priorities, governments of rich countries have proved unwilling to look at their domestic agricultural economies to see what changes are needed there. If the most powerful countries are not willing to make the changes at home that would help international markets perform better, they should at a minimum stop undermining international efforts, at the U.N. and within </div> <div>and among developing countries, to address the fundamental causes of the food crisis.</div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-upload field--type-file field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Upload</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf icon-before"><span class="file-icon"><span class="icon glyphicon glyphicon-file text-primary" aria-hidden="true"></span></span><span class="file-link"><a href="" type="application/pdf; length=885806" title="Open file in new window" target="_blank" data-toggle="tooltip" data-placement="bottom">2012_01_17_ResolvingFoodCrisis_SM_TW.pdf</a></span><span class="file-size">865.04 KB</span></span></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 18 Jan 2012 15:48:00 +0000 Andrew Ranallo 41680 at Meeting the Methane Pledge: The U.S. can do more on agriculture <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-climate-change has-field-primary-category has-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/ben-lilliston" hreflang="en">Ben Lilliston</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/feat/public/2022-06/ManureLagoon_Chesapeake%20Bay%20Program.jpg?itok=EXkuyOTP" width="950" height="590" alt="Manure Lagoon " loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-credit-flickr field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Used under creative commons license from <a href=" Bay Program">Chesapeake Bay Program</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h2><span><span><span>Introduction</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>When the United States and European Union signed the Global Methane Pledge in September 2021, it shined a bright light on the urgent need to slash emissions of this potent, short-lived greenhouse gas.<sup>1</sup> By the COP26 meeting in Glasgow two months later, more than 111 countries had joined the pledge. By signing, countries agreed to cut methane emissions (from 2020 levels) by 30% by 2030. Countries agreed to an annual Methane Ministerial to assess progress. In January 2022, U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry hosted 20 countries to follow up on the Global Methane Pledge and called for each country to set its own methane reduction plan.<sup>2</sup></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The momentum to reduce methane emissions is both exciting and daunting. While most of the attention from the pledge focused on the fossil fuel and gas industry, agriculture is the world’s largest methane source. Earlier in 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) urged action on methane because it is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period, and it is more short-lived.<sup>3</sup> While carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere for up to 1,000 years, methane only remains in the atmosphere for 10-12 years. Global methane emissions have risen steadily over the last century but have increased at an accelerated rate since 2007, according to a recent paper in <em>Nature</em>.<sup>4</sup> By slashing methane emissions by 2030, the planet can see more immediate benefits for the climate, while buying time for ongoing action to reduce carbon dioxide.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The Biden administration announced its U.S. methane plan during the Glasgow meeting. For agriculture-related emissions, the plan relies almost exclusively on various government grants and subsidies for the controversial use of methane digesters on giant manure lagoons created at large-scale dairy, beef and hog operations. The use of digesters to capture and produce manure-based gas, best understood as factory farm gas, is opposed by many rural residents around the country because of the residual pollution associated with these operations. More recent evidence suggests the production of factory farm gas is fueling consolidation in the dairy industry and incentivizing large-scale operations to produce more manure and ultimately new emissions. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>To meet the U.S. commitment on the Methane Pledge, there is much more the Biden administration can and must do, from ordering the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set clear, absolute limits on methane emissions for the biggest hog and dairy operations, to expanding and improving farm conservation programs, to updating trade and finance rules that would help spur climate action. Congress can do its part by reforming the next Farm Bill in 2023 to meet the Global Methane Pledge by redirecting subsidies and policies that currently drive factory farm methane emissions toward more agroecological systems of farming and animal production.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The U.S. commitment to the Methane Pledge should also include a deeper reassessment of agriculture and trade policy. U.S. Farm Bills, trade deals and weak regulatory oversight have propelled the continued expansion of the factory farm system of meat and dairy production. To reduce major sources of methane in U.S. agriculture requires a comprehensive approach that goes beyond a technical focus on reducing a single gas. Instead, we must begin a transition out of the damaging factory farm system in a way that reduces greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other pollutants, while supporting farmers and rural communities. Such a transition must include reforming farm policy and redirecting public investments into more agroecological systems of raising animals. </span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span>What is the Global Methane Pledge?</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>The pledge commits countries to reduce global methane emissions 30% (from 2020 levels) by 2030 “across all sectors.” The pledge covers all methane emissions, acknowledging that the gas accounts for 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from energy, agriculture and waste. The pledge states in introductory language that the 30% target is a global commitment, not a national country-level commitment. But as one of the original signatories and leaders behind the Global Methane Pledge, it should be assumed that the U.S. and the EU would meet at least the 30% reduction target by 2030. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The language in the pledge is noticeably different when referring to energy versus agriculture. The pledge state that “the energy sector has the greatest potential for targeted mitigation by 2030.” For energy, countries commit to focus “on standards to achieve all feasible reductions.” But for agriculture, reductions will be achieved “through technology innovation as well as incentives and partnerships with farmers.” The distinction is notable, particularly in a voluntary pledge with no global enforcement mechanism. The incentives-based agriculture language is in line with the Biden Methane Plan for agriculture (see below) and public statements made by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack. New standards will drive reductions in energy. Technology and incentives for farmers will steer agriculture.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In addition, the countries commit to public, transparent, up-to-date reporting on actions they have taken to reach these commitments. The countries resolve to “review progress toward the target of the Global Methane Pledge on an annual basis until 2030 by means of a dedicated ministerial meeting.”<sup>5</sup></span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span>What’s in the Biden Methane Plan on agriculture</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>The Biden administration’s U.S. Methane Emissions Reductions Action Plan,<sup>6</sup> announced at the Glasgow meeting, lays out a suite of policies and programs to meet its methane reduction goal by 2030. The Biden Plan directly targets the oil and gas sector, responsible for 30% of the country’s methane emissions, through EPA actions under the Clean Air Act.<sup>7</sup> The Biden Plan also sets a goal of capturing 70% of methane emitted from landfills, once again citing the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act to require the reduction of methane emissions at the nation’s largest landfills. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>For agriculture, the Biden Plan makes no mention of EPA’s Clean Air Act authority and instead focuses on: 1) “alternative manure management systems;” 2) the “expansion of on-farm generation and use of renewable energy systems;” 3) the “development of a climate smart agricultural commodities partnership initiative;” and 4) “increased investments in agricultural methane quantification.”</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>All four agriculture strategies are tied to the controversial use of anerobic digesters to capture factory farm gas from giant manure lagoons at large-scale dairy, beef and hog operations. Factory farm gas is sent into methane gas pipelines and branded as “renewable.” While some factory farm gas is captured, the manure and associated air and water pollution linked to this factory farm system remain in place. (See below for more on factory farm gas.)</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Here is a deeper dive into the four agriculture strategies of the Biden Methane Plan:</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong>1. Alternative manure management systems and other manure-reducing practices</strong> — The Biden Plan states that the USDA will work through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to use conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to subsidize the new construction and use of methane digesters on manure lagoons. In 2021, USDA introduced a Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry pilot program through EQIP and particularly directed support to methane digesters.<sup>8</sup> The Biden Plan also mentions the expanded use of the Rural Business Cooperative Service, the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and the AgStar program as programs it will use to subsidize farmers’ construction and/or use of digesters. This strategy would also support the installation of lagoon covers and flares for methane. The Biden Plan claims if the Build Back Better Act were passed, additional resources would fund “the equivalent of 500 farms installing anaerobic digesters; 1,200 farms installing lagoon covers with flares; and 250 farms installing solids separators.” This strategy does include language, almost as an afterthought, on the use of conservation programs to help farmers transition to pasture grazing of livestock — something existing conservation programs already do through supports for practices such as adding fencing or perennial grasses. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong>2. Promoting on-farm renewable energy from methane</strong> — This Biden strategy is essentially an advocacy campaign through a new USDA-led public/private partnership “to promote biogas policies, programs and research.” USDA will establish an Interagency Biogas Opportunities Task Force (included in the 2018 Farm Bill) to facilitate the collection and use of methane for on-farm renewable energy applications. USDA will deepen its engagement with AgStar to promote biogas with biogas companies, factory farm operators, universities and trade associations. USDA will launch an advisory committee to help expand the industry and develop a communications strategy to highlight success stories. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong>3. Launching a Climate-Smart Partnership Initiative</strong> — USDA is taking $1 billion of the Commodity Credit Corporation’s $33 billion budget,<sup>9</sup> used to fund farm programs, to launch a new initiative to develop a market for commodities based on their purported “climate benefits.” USDA will invest in identifying, measuring and certifying climate smart practices, including those that reduce methane. The new program will include pilot projects that support the use of methane digesters and prescribed managed grazing. USDA has accepted initial applications for the Climate-Smart Partnership pilot projects in May and June.<sup>10</sup></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong>4. Increased investments in agricultural methane measurement and innovations</strong> — USDA will devote more research resources toward methane reduction strategies, including “feed additives and manure management systems (digesters).” USDA will pursue a “methane innovation agenda” that includes USDA’s Agriculture Research Service, its Economic Research Service and National Institute on Food and Agriculture. Also, USDA will continue to partner with U.S. Dairy funded by the dairy check off, a controversial tax on all dairy producers that has been caught overpaying its executives and favoring a factory farm system.<sup>11</sup> U.S. Dairy includes the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and Dairy Management Inc. to reduce methane emissions. Prior to becoming agriculture secretary under President Biden, Vilsack headed U.S. Dairy’s Export Council.</span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span>The scale of U.S. methane emissions</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>Methane accounts for 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA.<sup>12</sup> Overall U.S. methane emissions have declined 15% since 1990, with energy-related emissions declining by 25% since 1990 and industrial waste methane emissions declined 31%. But the largest source of U.S. methane emissions, agriculture, has increased by 17% since 1990. Agriculture now represents 37% of U.S. methane emissions.<sup>13</sup> Livestock-related emissions have risen by 20% since 1990. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Methane is produced through the normal digestive system in ruminants, mostly through burping and through manure. The amount of methane emitted depends on the animal, the type of feed and how the manure is managed. The EPA publishes a Greenhouse Gas Inventory annually, tracing U.S. emissions going back to 1990. The data follows guidelines set by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.<sup>14</sup></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The EPA calculates that enteric fermentation and manure management represent 27.1% and 9.5%, respectively, of total agriculture methane emissions. Beef cattle account for 72% of enteric methane emissions and dairy cattle for 24%. Enteric methane emissions have increased 8.4% since 1990. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><img alt="Figure 1: U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Agricultural Activities, by Gas, 1990-2020" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="119b9c71-ae32-471d-b423-e83657581248" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/methane%20paper%20chart%201.PNG" /></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>When livestock manure is stored in manure lagoons and liquified for spraying on fields, it also produces methane. When manure is handled as a solid and applied to fields, it produces much less methane. The EPA identifies the liquid manure systems of large-scale factory farm dairy and hog operations as major sources of methane emissions and nitrous oxide (another potent greenhouse gas). Methane emissions from manure management have increased 68% since 1990, according to the EPA. The EPA writes, “The majority of this increase is due to swine and dairy cow manure, where emissions increased 49 and 117 percent, respectively….In many cases, manure management systems with the most substantial methane emissions are those associated with confined animal management operations where manure is handled in liquid-based systems.”<sup>15</sup> The EPA writes: “the shift toward larger dairy cattle and swine facilities since 1990 has translated into an increasing use of liquid manure management systems, which have higher potential CH4 emissions than dry systems.”</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The EPA GHG Inventory tells only part of the story. Recent research indicates that emissions from hog and dairy concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are likely higher than estimated through the EPA’s modelling. The tracking of methane emissions using satellites and airplanes found that livestock emissions are consistently higher than EPA estimates, somewhere between 39-90% higher.<sup>16</sup></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>While emerging methane sensors have focused on oil and gas, they will soon also include agriculture. For example, Carbon Mapper is partnering with NASA to track high methane sources in certain U.S. states and is broadening its scope to include more states and more up-to-date data, including for agriculture-related sources. Such aerial imaging technology has also raised questions about methane capture by dairy CAFOs using digesters. University of California researchers found “fairly persistent” methane plumes from four San Joaquin Valley dairies using digesters.<sup>17</sup></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><sup><img alt="Figure 2: U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Manure Management, 1990-2019" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="84e6cc90-6a5d-4cfe-be7d-60a29f4649cd" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/methane%20paper%20figure%202.PNG" /></sup></span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span>Get big(ger) or get out – Factory farm gas emerges</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span><span><span>“We used to joke about how funny it would be if we could make more money off the poop than the milk. And now we’re essentially there.” — California dairy farmer<sup>18</sup></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>While the Biden Methane Plan presents a rosy picture of methane digesters on big dairy and hog operations (the USDA/EPA biogas program known as AgStar says there are currently 317 active digester projects in the U.S.,<sup>19</sup> the reality is more complicated and troubling. Methane digesters to sell gas off-farm are enormously expensive (around $4.2 million for a 2,000 dairy cow operation,<sup>20</sup> making them only financially viable for the largest operations. A 2011 USDA report under then Secretary Vilsack explained that public subsidies for factory farm gas will largely benefit large-scale hog and dairy operators.<sup>21</sup> With new alignments between big dairies and hog companies and the methane gas industry, the exclusive beneficiaries of this system have become even more clear.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>There are several engines driving the use of methane digesters. One of the most important is California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), with a goal to help reduce emissions from the state’s transportation sector by 20% by 2030. Factory farm gas grades well under the LCFS scoring system, making it eligible for credits (generally between $170-$190) under the policy. The LCFS credits are often combined with a variety of state and federal subsidies to make digesters more profitable. According to a University of California at Davis economist, dairy farmers tapping into these public programs for digesters can generate up to $2,827 per cow.<sup>22</sup></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The impact of California’s LCFS isn’t limited to California. Factory farm gas operations in other states sell credits into the California market, including as far away as New York.<sup>23</sup> Even polluting dairies are eligible. Earlier in 2022, Oregon’s Three Mile Canyon farm was found to be violating the state’s clean air laws in 2019 and 2020, even as it sold credits from factory farm gas to California.<sup>24</sup> Neighboring Idaho is also building more big dairies and cashing in on LCFS credits, with Shell Oil partnering with a 10,000-cow dairy on a factory farm gas project.<sup>25</sup></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Driving factory farm gas expansion in North Carolina is a state requirement that 0.2% of the state’s energy come from hog waste by 2023.<sup>26</sup> This special favor carveout directly aids global pork giant <span><span>Smithfield, who has partnered with energy giant Dominion Energy to form the factory farm gas company Align RNG to capture methane from hog operations and pipe it into methane gas pipelines. Smithfield is building similar factory farm gas operations connected to their hog facilities around the country, from Utah to Missouri, where they also tap into credits from California’s LCFS to help subsidize the projects.<sup>27</sup></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>At the federal level, the national Renewable Fuel Standard allows factory farm gas producers to create and sell Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN) credits (similar to the LCFS) to fossil fuel providers to meet their obligations under the RFS. The RFS is a national policy that requires fossil fuel providers to use a certain percentage of non-petroleum-based transportation fuel, heating oil or jet fuel.<sup>28</sup></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>With factory farm gas projects allowed to tap into a laundry list of state and federal energy and agriculture programs, environmental advocates and the dairy industry are raising new questions about whether these programs are ultimately incentivizing factory farm expansion and manure-related pollution. </span></span>What signals does this system send to farmers if the methane from the manure pays as well or more than the milk? “At that point, milk has become a by-product of manure production,” reports the industry publication Hoard’s Dairyman.<sup>29</sup> Hoard’s points out, “<span><span>The trend is for fewer, larger dairy farms, and government energy policy, while well-meaning, could have the unintended consequence of driving additional consolidation in the dairy farm sector.” </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Research by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) earlier this year confirmed that subsidies for digesters far exceed the cost to capture the methane in a digester, and that the subsidy is nearly as large as the price the farmer was receiving for milk. UCS concluded that this development gives major advantages to large dairies over smaller dairies, creating potential incentives to either consolidate production or add cows to existing dairies to take further advantage of the subsidies.<sup>30</sup></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>There are already signs that policies promoting digesters are incentivizing factory farms to expand and produce more manure. In Iowa, recently passed legislation that allows dairies to expand beyond the current 6,000 limit if they use a digester for all manure. Seven operations responded by expanding their numbers of dairy cows.<sup>31</sup></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>If cows are added to produce additional manure to generate more factory farm gas, the gas can no longer be characterized as a byproduct of milk production. The manure instead becomes an intentional and additional pollution source that would not have otherwise existed, and any leakage from the digester or pipeline becomes additional methane pollution. Leakage from biogas facilities and pipelines is estimated between 2-4% to up to 15% of total biogas production.<sup>32</sup></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Consolidation within the dairy industry into fewer, larger operations follows a long-term trend. Low prices, often below the cost of production, have plagued the dairy industry for several decades, but particularly over the last five years. Tens of thousands of small and mid-sized dairies have been pushed out, while big dairies have been caught price fixing<sup>33</sup> as they flood the market. While the number of dairies declined, the number of cows and milk production continued to rise sharply.<sup>34</sup> In 2021, the U.S. dairy herd reached its highest number in 27 years.<sup>35</sup></span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span>Risks rise for rural communities</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Around the country, rural communities are already opposing the factory farm system for its water and air pollution, the lowering of property values and quality of life, the treatment of animals and the economic harm to independent farmers. Advocates in multiple states, like Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Oregon, have called for moratoriums on new factory farms. A 2019 national poll, with a specific focus on major factory farm states Iowa and North Carolina, found that 80% of people are concerned about air, water and health issues from CAFOs.<sup>36</sup> Rural residents are also using the courts. In 2020, Smithfield, after repeatedly losing in court, was forced to </span></span>settle multiple lawsuits from largely African American neighbors,<span><span> who said the air and water pollution from hog CAFOs made their daily lives unbearable.<sup>37</sup></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The introduction of factory farm gas and associated pipelines poses  new public health and safety concerns for rural communities.  Methane is highly flammable and explosive, and inhalation exposure can cause short and long-term health risks. Methane digesters and associated pipelines can leak and cause fires.<sup>38</sup> As the Biden Methane Plan admits, chronic pipeline leakages and ruptures are a major source of methane emissions.<sup>39</sup> The Biden Plan also acknowledges that “communities located near areas of high methane production often face impacts from methane and other pollutants that result in poor health outcomes, reductions in property values, and decreases in quality of life” and that “communities of color bear the brunt.” This is certainly the case with factory farm operations clustered in North Carolina and California. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Factory farm gas infrastructure threatens to double-down on these risks by further incentivizing manure production. In North Carolina, environmental justice advocates have opposed the use of digesters on hog farms that are already polluting largely Black and Latinx rural communities.<sup>40</sup> In early 2022, the EPA launched a civil rights investigation into whether the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality violated the civil rights of rural residents when they approved four digesters for hog operations.<sup>41</sup> <span><span>Waste from these farms has already contaminated nearby streams and rivers. </span></span>The spray often blows onto neighboring homes and passing cars. Factory farm operators often pump down the liquid in lagoons ahead of major rainfall events to reduce the risk of lagoon overflows. This practice results in the land becoming oversaturated and the sprayed waste running off the fields onto neighboring properties and streams during and after the heavy rain events.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The giant factory farm manure lagoons required for digesters are vulnerable to extreme weather events and equipment breakdowns that result in manure spills and water pollution.<sup>42</sup> Operations with methane digesters are not immune from manure spills,<sup>43</sup> most recently leaking into waterways in Iowa<sup>44</sup> and Oregon.<sup>45</sup> The Iowa digester, which was operating without state approval, was designed to send factory farm gas from big dairies in Iowa into pipelines to access credits in California’s LCFS.<sup>46</sup> Repairing broken digesters can be dangerous for workers. Last year, a worker drowned as he attempted to fix a broken digester on a one-million-pound manure tank in Iowa.<sup>47</sup></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Another concern for rural residents is the <span><span>anerobic digestion process itself. </span></span><span><span>While the digester captures some methane, it can increase the amount of ammonia</span></span><span><span>,<sup>48</sup> </span></span><span><span>nitrate and nitrite (all forms of nitrogen) in the manure. The result is a more concentrated ammonia and other forms of nitrogen in the leftover manure that is then sprayed on neighboring fields. Nitrate pollution leads to algae blooms in waterways. Ammonia air pollution is associated with respiratory issues. A National Academy of Sciences study attributes 95 and 83 premature deaths in two counties with a high concentration of hog factory farms to fine particulate pollution, resulting from ammonia emissions.<sup>49</sup></span></span><span><span> When ammonia oxidizes it creates nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <hr /><hr /><h2><span><span><span>Methane Digesters Revisited</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>Much of the Biden administration’s Methane Plan on agriculture is recycled from the Obama administration. In 2009, then Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced a partnership with the dairy industry to reduce dairy industry GHGs 25% by 2020. (The latest EPA Greenhouse Gas inventory shows dairy emissions linked to enteric emissions and manure management rising steadily since 2005).<sup>50</sup> The basis of that commitment was expanded funding, research and promotion of manure digesters and a so-called “public private partnership” with the industry.<sup>51</sup> Vilsack announced the partnership at COP15 in Copenhagen, touting the benefits of digesters: <span><span>“Not only can we mitigate climate change but we can also provide immediate local environmental benefits, reduce U.S. dependence on fossil fuels, and provide a new economic stimulus for the rural economy.”<sup>52</sup></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In 2013, USDA Secretary Vilsack signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Innovation of Center for U.S. Dairy (funded by the dairy checkoff, a tax on dairy farmers to promote the industry) that reiterated the USDA’s commitment to digesters including a “roadmap to biogas.”<sup>53</sup> The MOU served as a template for the Biden Methane Plan by touting support from multiple USDA programs, including expanding EQIP and REAP funding, technical assistance and research, and helping to connect digesters to other energy grids and pipelines.  </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>In 2015, as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, Vilsack announced USDA’s Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry that set the nation’s first measurable benchmarks in food and forestry to reduce net emissions by 120 million metric tons per year. Part of that goal was to install 500 digesters on livestock operations (the same target named in the Biden Methane Plan to use Build Back Better funds) through REAP and EQIP.<sup>54</sup></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>From 2017 through 2020, Vilsack led </span></span>the checkoff-funded U.S. Dairy Export Council, funded largely by Dairy Management Inc., to market the industry around the world, including a public relations campaign that claimed a high level of sustainability through creating biogas.<sup>55</sup></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>At the 2021 Glasgow climate meeting, Vilsack returned to much the same message on digesters. He announced USDA’s support for a new dairy industry initiative, this time called Pathways to Dairy Net Zero, an initiative to reach net zero dairy emissions in 30 years. Vilsack said, “</span></span><span><span>Increasing the rate of adoption of feed management, manure management and digesters will be key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions including methane.”<sup>56</sup></span></span></span></span></span></p> <hr /><hr /><h2><span><span><span>Factory farms born from U.S. farm and trade policy</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>The sharp rise in the factory farm system of meat and dairy production since 1990 emerged from a series of policy and regulatory choices. In the 1996 Farm Bill, the U.S. ended the last vestiges of farm programs that helped manage production to balance supply with demand and ensure fair prices for farmers. The 1996 Farm Bill instead allowed farmers to plant as much as they could (so-called Freedom to Farm) to target expanding exports. The policy failed, prices for farmers plunged, and now, the Farm Bill has a series of programs (including revenue insurance) that pay farmers on the basis of acreage yield when the market price drops.<sup>57</sup> The 1996 Farm Bill was designed to be consistent with trade policy provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 and the formation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. IATP opposed NAFTA as an attack on sustainable agriculture.<sup>58</sup> The Clinton administration and most agricultural economists sold all three policy actions to U.S. farmers on the premise that expanded exports would make them prosperous. As commodity prices dropped for animal feed crops, often below cost of production, the factory farm system took advantage. These below-cost animal feed prices served as a subsidy for factory farm meat and dairy operations,<sup>59</sup> giving them a big edge over smaller or mid-sized operations and pasture-based systems. The factory farm system is increasingly dependent on exports. Nearly 30% of U.S. hog production,<sup>60</sup> 11% of beef<sup>61</sup> and 16% of dairy goes to exports.<sup>62</sup> While this system has worked well for global meat and dairy companies, it has failed independent farmers, rural communities and the climate. </span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span>A stronger methane plan</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>When it comes to agriculture, the Biden Methane Plan could take much bolder steps that would provide a clear, predictable path toward meeting the country’s methane reduction pledge and responding to the urgency of the climate crisis. Here are eight actions to strengthen the Biden Plan: </span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span>Limit Emissions, Eliminate Exemptions:</span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span>1.<strong> The EPA should take steps to limit methane emissions from large-scale dairy and hog operations.</strong> In April 2021, IATP joined Public Justice and other family farm and environmental justice organizations in petitioning the EPA to set caps on methane emissions for the largest dairy and hog operations under the Clean Air Act.<sup>63</sup> The Biden Plan includes actions to regulate methane for the oil and gas sector and landfill sector under the Clean Air Act. It has the statutory authority to regulate methane emissions from these large-scale factory farms. <span><span>The EPA should begin to set standards for methane emissions from hog and dairy factory farms of more than 1,000 hogs and 500 dairy cows without access to pasture and that use lagoons to store massive amounts of liquified manure that is later sprayed on fields. In addition, the EPA should set standards to reduce emissions on new or expanding farm operations that fit this category and to require states to set specific methane emission limits for existing hog and dairy operations that fit this category.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>2.<strong> Require Environmental</strong></span></span><strong> Review</strong><span><span><strong> for government guaranteed loans</strong> — The Trump administration weakened the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), one of the nation’s bedrock environmental laws, by creating an exemption for USDA and Small Business Administration loans for new or expanding factory farms.<sup>64</sup> Factory farms apply for USDA or SBA loans when they cannot get a loan from the Farm Credit System or from a commercial bank. Previously under NEPA, government backed loans for factory farms had to undergo environmental review, which includes the impact the proposed operation will have on water, air and climate, and gave community members an opportunity to weigh in if they had concerns. The White House Council for Environmental Quality is currently reviewing the Trump administration’s actions to weaken NEPA. The Biden Methane Plan should reinstate environmental review requirements, including for climate impacts, for loans backed by USDA or SBA. This important step would help ensure public resources aren’t used to increase and accelerate pollution and methane emissions. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>3. <strong>Incorporate the Methane Pledge and the Paris Climate Agreement as binding measures in trade deals</strong> — U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has publicly advocated for the integration of climate commitments into trade deals. There are mechanisms within the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that allow countries to add additional multilateral environmental agreements to the trade deal. All three USMCA countries have signed onto the Paris Climate Agreement and the Methane Pledge. Adding these climate-related agreements to the USMCA, a legally-binding trade deal, would reinforce these climate commitments, send a message to global trading partners and help protect climate action in the three countries from climate regulatory related trade disputes. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>4. <strong>Require companies to fully disclose methane emissions</strong> — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed new climate-related financial disclosure rules, as part of the SEC’s statutory mandate to ensure that investors are protected against financial risks undisclosed by companies seeking their investments.<sup>65</sup> These rules should cover quarterly posting of factory farm related supply chain emissions (called “Scope 3 emissions” in the Paris Agreement), including specific reporting of methane. Without mandatory, uniform and comprehensive reporting, meat and dairy companies can and do obscure their emission reporting by excluding their supply chains (not counting the cow or manure related emissions).<sup>66</sup> To meet the Methane Pledge, investors need more accurate reporting from companies to assess climate risk. The SEC can and should require Scope 3 climate reporting from companies that specifically includes methane emissions from the biggest factory farms. </span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><span><span>Redirect Public Spending:</span></span></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>5. <strong>Expand and redirect conservation programs </strong>— Prior to the 2002 Farm Bill, CAFOs were not eligible for funding from EQIP, a program created to support specific farmer conservation projects to create a pathway toward greater conservation. Once CAFOs became eligible, they started to access EQIP for the management of their giant manure lagoons. A National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition analysis concluded that 10% of EQIP funds went to CAFOs in 2019 and 11% in 2020.<sup>67</sup> A recent analysis by IATP estimated that over one-quarter of 2020 EQIP dollars in the Midwest went toward practices that supported factory farms. EQIP and the more comprehensive Conservation Stewardship Program are enormously popular among farmers looking for support for sustainable practices, such as planting perennial grasses or incorporating managed rotational grazing systems. Nationwide, only 31% of farmers who apply for EQIP and only 42% of farmers who apply for CSP are accepted. By removing CAFOs from EQIP eligibility and expanding these programs to meet demand, farmers can have more options to be successful outside of the factory farm system. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>6. <strong>Redirect USDA guaranteed loans away from factory farms</strong> — Many new or expanding CAFOs cannot get traditional financing from banks. Instead, they must turn to USDA Farm Service Agency guaranteed loans. USDA should prioritize loans for sustainable, agroecological farming systems, not those expanding the factory farm system that is driving methane emissions. The next Farm Bill should ban the use of FSA-guaranteed loans for these factory farms and ensure greater access to credit for farmers using sustainable, agroecological systems. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>7. <strong>Redirect public payouts for factory farm gas</strong> — The Biden Methane Plan pledges to spend significant public dollars through a variety of programs, such as REAP, that would put digesters on 500 dairy farms around the country. The digesters producing gas for off-farm pipelines require large amounts of manure and only make sense for the biggest operations. If those operations want to add digesters, they should pay for them. The public payouts should be redirected toward helping farmers transition to different types of farming systems, including well-managed pasture-based systems, and support real on-farm renewable energy, such as solar and wind. </span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span>Support the Transition:</span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span>8. <strong>Pass the Farm Systems Reform Act</strong> — The FSRA, with the support of over 300 groups, places an immediate moratorium on new or expanding CAFOs, with a phaseout of the biggest CAFOs by 2040.<sup>68</sup> It launches a voluntary buyout program for existing CAFO owners to help them transition toward different farming systems, including pasture-based systems. It also includes tougher competition rules and mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling. The program provides farmers with a predictable, resourced transition, and if coupled with other Farm Bill programs, is a pathway toward a just transition away from the high methane producing factory farm system.</span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span><strong>Conclusion</strong></span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>When it comes to agriculture, the Biden Methane Plan is too tentative and misdirected to achieve its emissions reduction targets. The factory farm system has largely evaded scrutiny of its greenhouse gases, including methane. The reluctance to place appropriate limits on methane emissions from the biggest operations and halt the numerous public payouts that prop up the industry threatens to undermine the credibility of the Biden Methane commitment. Congress can take action in the next Farm Bill to halt public supports for big factory farms and provide a path forward for farmers to transition out of the CAFO system. The Methane Pledge cannot be just a promise. It needs action designed to bring the results to which the country has committed. Right now, the Biden Plan falls short. At this year’s Methane Ministerial, the Biden administration will have an opportunity to strengthen its plan and serve as a model for 110 other countries also dealing with their agriculture-related methane emissions. </span></span></span></p> <h2>Endnotes </h2> <p><span><span>1. The Global Methane Pledge. Accessed March 16, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>2. Hodgson, Camilla. “Climate meeting of ministers discusses national plans to cut methane.” Financial Times. January 27, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>3. United Nations. “5 things you should know about the greenhouse gases warming the planet.” January 8, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>4. Tollefson, Jeff. “Scientists raise alarm over ‘dangerously fast’ growth in atmospheric methane.” Nature. February 8, 2022. <a href=";utm_campaign=nature&amp;utm_medium=Social&amp;utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1644298955">;utm_campaign=nature&amp;utm_medium=Social&amp;utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1644298955</a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>5. Clean Air and Climate Coalition. Global Methane Pledge. Accessed March 16, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>6. White House. Fact Sheet: President Biden tackles methane emissions, spurs innovations and supports sustainable agriculture to build a clean energy economy and create jobs. November 2, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>7. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. U.S. to sharply cut methane pollution that threatens the climate and public health. November 2, 2021.  <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>8. Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA to $10 million to support climate-smart agriculture and forestry through voluntary conservation. June 24, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>9. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Commodity Credit Corporation. Accessed March 16, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>10. U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA to spend $1 billion in climate smart commodities expanding markets, strengthening rural America. February 7, 2022. <a href=";utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=govdelivery">;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=govdelivery</a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>11. Spivak, Cary. Hoffman, Mark. “Nonprofit that’s supposed to promote dairy pays its leaders millions while the farmers who fund it are going out of business.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. September 9, 2019. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>12. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Accessed March 16, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>13. White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy. U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan: Critical and common sense steps to cut pollution and consumer costs, while boosting good paying jobs and American competitiveness. November 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>14. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Agriculture Chapter 5. April 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>15. Ibid.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>16. Hayek, Matthew. Miller, Scot. Underestimates of methane from intensively raised animals could undermine goals of sustainable development. Environmental Research. June 4, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>17. Gross, Liza. Can California Reduce Dairy Methane Emissions Equitably. Inside Climate News. August 9, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>18. Laterman, Kaya. “This California dairy farm’s secret ingredient for clean electricity: cow poop.” Daily Beast. January 21, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>19. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. AgStar Anaerobic Digesters Data and Trends. Accessed March 16, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>20. Smith, Aaron. What’s worth more: a cow or its poop. Ag data news. February 3, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>21. Key, Nigel. Sneeringer, Stacy. “Climate Change Policy and the Adoption of Methane Digestors on Livestock Operations.” Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. February 2011. <a href=",from%20adopting%20a%20methane%20digester">,from%20adopting%20a%20methane%20digester</a>.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>22. Smith, Aaron. The Dairy Cow Manure Goldrush. Ag data news. February 2, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>23. French, Marie. How Cow Manure from New York is Bolstering California’s Air Emissions Goals. Politico. February 19, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>24. Food and Water Watch. Oregon Mega-Dairy Digester Received California Green Energy Credits as it Violated Air Quality Law. January 20, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>25. Cohen, Rachel. Why There’s a “Gold Rush” to Build Dairy Digesters in Idaho. Boise State Public Radio. February 11, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>26. Morrison, James. In North Carolina Hog Waste is Becoming a Streamlined Fuel Source. National Public Radio. April 17, 2018. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>27. Smithfield Foods. Largest Renewable Gas Project of its Kind Implements Manure-to-Energy Technology across Northern Missouri. August 11, 2021. <a href="">…</a>(RAE,power%20homes%2C%20vehicles%20and%20businesses.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>28. Environmental Protection Agency. Overview: Renewable Fuel Standard. Accessed: March 23, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>29. Mcculley, Michael. Energy Revenue Could be a Game Changer for Dairy Farms. Hoard’s Dairyman. September 23, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>30. Union of Concerned Scientists. Manure Biomethane Analysis. January 6, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>31. Jordan, Erin. Nine Iowa Dairies Get Digester Permits Since New Law, Seven Plan Expansion. The Gazette.  December 3, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>32. Grubert, Emily. At Scale, Renewable Natural Gas Systems Could Be Climate Intensive: the Influence of Methane Feedstock and Leakage Rates. Environmental Research Letters. August 11, 2020. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>33. Fu, Jessica. Milk Co-ops Slaughtered 500,000 Cows via a Retirement Program. Now They’ll Pay $220 Million in a Price Fixing Lawsuit. The Counter. December 5, 2019. <a href=",price%2Dfixing%20dispute%20with%20retailers">,price%2Dfixing%20dispute%20with%20retailers</a>.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>34. U.S. Department of Agriculture. National Agriculture Statistics Service. Milk Production by Year. Accessed: March 23, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>35. Mcculley, Michael. Energy Revenue Could be a Game Changer for Dairy Farms. Hoard’s Dairyman. September 23, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>36. Johns Hopkins Center for Livable Future. Survey: Majority of Voters Surveyed Support Greater Oversight of Industrial Animal Farms. December 10, 2019. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>37. Yeoman, Barry. Smithfield Settles Suits Over North Carolina Farms After Losing Appeal. FERN’s Ag Insider. November 19, 2020. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>38. Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Community. Anaerobic Digesters and Biogas Safety. March 5, 2019. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>39. White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy. U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan: Critical and common sense steps to cut pollution and consumer costs, while boosting good paying jobs and American competitiveness. November 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>40. Southern Environmental Law Center. Civil rights Filing Alleges Discriminatory Harm in Industrial Hog Operations Permits. September 28, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>41. Yeoman, Barry. EPA to Investigate North Carolina Biogas for Discrimination. FERN’s Ag Insider. January 23, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>42. Sorg, Lisa. Hog Farm That Spilled 1 Million Gallons of Feces, Urine Into Waterways Had Been Warned of Lagoon Problems. NC Policy Watch. January 12, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>43. Channel 3000. Third Spill in 6 Months Reported at Manure Digestor. March 13, 2014. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>44. Grant, Jeff. Manure Spill Investigated by Rock Valley. N’West Iowa. February 7, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>45. Plaven, George. Oregon DEQ Hands Out $63,750 in Fines for Manure Digester Overflow. Capital Press. June 19, 2020. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>46. Mansouri, Kavahn. Iowa Manure Recycler Operated Without States Permission When it Leaked Waste into Creeks. Iowa Public Radio. March 3, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>47. Jordan, Erin. Anaerobic digester death ruled accidental drowning. The Gazette. July 28, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>48. Southern Environmental Law Center. Complaint Under Title VI under Civil Rights Act. September 27, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>49. Chapmen, Isabelle. Air Pollution From Animal-based Food Production is Linked to 12,700 Deaths Each Year, Study Says. CNN. May 10, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>50. Environmental Protection Agency. U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Agriculture Chapter 5. Accessed: March 23, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>51. Agweb. Vilsack Outlines Deal With Dairy Industry on GHGs. December 15, 2009. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>52. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Giving Climate Summit Speech. November 27, 2009. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>53. U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA MOU With Dairy Innovation Center. April 24, 2013. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>54. U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry. May 2016. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>55. O’Keefe, Mark. U.S. Dairy Exports Start Farmer Passion for Sustainability, Customer Focus, Animal Care and Efficiency. U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog. April 9, 2019. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>56. U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA Underscores Commitment for Climate Action at COP26. Accessed: November 5, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>57. Lilliston, Ben. Ritchie, Niel. Freedom to Fail: How US Farming Policies Have Helped Agribusiness and Pushed Out Family Farmers. July 10, 2000. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>58. Mark Ritchie, “Impacts of NAFTA on Sustainable Agriculture,” Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, April27, 27, 1994.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>59. Starmer, Elanor. Wise, Tim. Feeding at the Trough: Industrial Livestock Firms Saved $35 Billion From Low Feed Prices. Global Development and Environmental Institute. Tufts University. December 2007.  <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>60. Pork Checkoff. U.S. Pork Exports. Accessed: March 23, 2022. <a href=";text=In%202021%2C%20exports%20accounted%20for,for%20every%20U.S.%20hog%20marketed">;text=In%202021%2C%20exports%20accounted%20for,for%20every%20U.S.%20hog%20marketed</a>.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>61. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agriculture Service. Beef and Cattle. Accessed: March 23, 2022. <a href=""></a>.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>62. U.S. Dairy Export Council. Market Information. Accessed: March 23, 2022. <a href=",more%20than%20any%20other%20year">,more%20than%20any%20other%20year</a>.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>63. Public Justice. Climate, Environmental Justice Groups Call for EPA to Hold Industrial Dairy and Hog Operations Accountable and to Reject Big Ag Technology. April 6, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>64. Lilliston, Ben. New Rules Weaken Protections for Rural Communities and Climate. September 30, 2020. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>65. U.S. Security and Exchange Commission. SEC Proposes Rules to Enhance and Standardize Climate-Related Disclosure for Investors. March 21, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>66. Lilliston, Ben. Behind the Curtain: JBS Net Zero Pledge. October 21, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>67. National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Cover Crops and CAFOs: EQIP in FY2019 and FY 2020. October 6, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>68. Booker, Cory. Booker Reintroduces Bill to Reform Farm System With Expanded Support from Farm, Labor, Environment, Public Health, Faith-based and Animal Welfare Groups. July 15, 2021. <a href=",(CAFOs)%2C%20and%20restore%20mandatory">,(CAFOs)%2C%20and%20restore%20mandatory</a></span></span></p> <hr /><p><a href=""><strong><span><span>Download a PDF of the white paper.</span></span></strong></a></p> <hr /><p> </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-upload field--type-file field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Upload</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf icon-before"><span class="file-icon"><span class="icon glyphicon glyphicon-file text-primary" aria-hidden="true"></span></span><span class="file-link"><a href="" type="application/pdf; length=321435" title="Open file in new window" target="_blank" data-toggle="tooltip" data-placement="bottom">2022_04_US_Methane.3.pdf</a></span><span class="file-size">313.9 KB</span></span></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/issues/climate-change" hreflang="en">Climate Change</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-image field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Teaser image</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/media/11507" hreflang="en">Manure lagoon </a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 21 Jun 2022 21:03:19 +0000 cecelia brackey 44803 at Getting from pledge to climate action on agricultural methane <span>Getting from pledge to climate action on agricultural methane</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">cecelia brackey</span></span> <span>Tue, 06/21/2022 - 15:52</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><span><span>Governments met </span></span><a href=""><span><span>last week</span></span></a><span><span> in Bonn, Germany to set the stage for the November U.N. Framework Conference on Climate Change (</span></span><a href=""><span><span>COP27</span></span></a><span><span>) meeting in Egypt.</span></span></span></span></span></p></div> Tue, 21 Jun 2022 20:52:36 +0000 cecelia brackey 44802 at Lessons for the EU’s carbon farming plans <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-climate-change has-field-primary-category has-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <h3 > Structural flaws plague U.S. agriculture carbon credits</h3> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/ben-lilliston" hreflang="en">Ben Lilliston</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/feat/public/2020-11/9502108803_454f3390de_k.jpg?itok=Iz5zflqf" width="950" height="590" alt="Soil health" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-credit-flickr field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Used under creative commons license from <a href="">cafnr</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span>As Europe considers a carbon removal framework that includes so-called “carbon farming” from the agriculture sector to meet its net zero goal by 2050, the U.S. experience with agriculture carbon offset credits should raise questions about whether such an approach is desirable or feasible. Agriculture carbon markets have floundered in the U.S. for more than a decade, making no discernable impact on emission reductions as they open the door for polluters to greenwash. Many farmers, environmentalists and scientists are now questioning whether structural flaws with soil carbon credits can ever make them part of credible climate policy. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>U.S. farmers’ skepticism of agriculture carbon credits is partially informed by the 2010 collapse of the Chicago Climate Exchange, which managed a private offset market. Over 8,700 farmers were involved in the exchange and committed to certain agricultural practices with the expectation that they would be compensated adequately, only to see prices drop well below $1 for the credits they generated.<sup>1</sup> The market collapsed. In 2013, California established the country’s biggest compliance Carbon Market including carbon offsets. Though the market has grown, it still includes relatively few agriculture offset credits, with offset developers preferring to pursue simpler forestry-based offsets. Much of the renewed interest in private carbon markets in the U.S. comes from companies like Microsoft, McDonald’s and other major corporations who are looking for cheap strategies to offset their pollution and allegedly meet their net zero targets.<sup>2</sup></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>For farmers, the carbon credit playing field is a complicated maze, difficult to assess and navigate. Characterized as a carbon credit “wild west,” a slew of private carbon markets and offset credit protocols have emerged in the U.S. — all with different rules, obligations, costs and prices. Carbon market developers like Indigo<sup>3</sup> and <span>Nori,<sup><span style="font-size: 13.3333px;">4</span></sup> which sell offset credits to corporate polluters, set their own requirements on the size of farm, soil testing data, third party verification, length of contract and practices. Agribusinesses l</span>ike Bayer, Cargill and Land-O-Lakes have created their own carbon credit schemes with farmers they buy and sell to. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>A 2021 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on agriculture carbon credits within private markets identified five areas that threaten to undermine their credibility: realness (accurate measurement), additionality (action that would be additional to what was already planned), leakage, permanence and verification.<sup>4</sup> All of these issues weaken voluntary carbon offsets, raising questions about whether emissions are actually cancelled out, let alone reduced, reports CRS. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>An assessment by CarbonPlan of 14 soil carbon credit protocols in the U.S. found that not a single one had a meaningful screen for additionality. The requirement for additionality seeks to ensure that the credits would contribute to additional sequestration as a result of the project, as opposed to what would have been sequestered had the project not been carried out. CarbonPlan’s review concluded that “the lack of rigorous standards makes it hard to ensure good climate outcomes.”<sup>5</sup></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>An emerging body of research is identifying the complexities and uncertainty in measuring soil carbon in the short term and over the long term. This is further weakening attempts to establish credible, high integrity agriculture-based carbon offsets, and causing experts to question whether significant additional soil carbon sequestration is possible.<sup>6</sup> Recent research raises questions about whether carbon can be stored in the upper levels of soil for any significant length of time.<sup>7</sup> An analysis of soil carbon testing found that typical testing practices overestimate the level of sequestration by sampling too close to the surface.<sup>8</sup> A study in <em>Nature</em> found that rising temperatures predicted by climate change will release carbon from the soil much faster than previously predicted, thereby unraveling sequestration that has occurred.<sup>9</sup></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>The latest IPCC report summary of science issued last year validated these concerns by making clear that there is not a one-to-one relationship between industrial sources of emissions and land-based carbon sequestration, and that climate change itself through temperature rise and extreme weather events will slow or disrupt our ability to sequester carbon over time.<sup>10</sup></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span><span><strong><span>Farmers’ Perspective</span></strong></span></span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span><span><span>From a farmer’s perspective in the U.S., there are fundamental concerns that have driven the extremely low participation rate in carbon offset credit schemes, many of them involving farm economics and risk. Here are a few:  </span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span>1. Carbon credits do not cover farmers’ costs</span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span>To gain carbon credits, farmers need to employ new farming practices to sequester carbon, referred to as “additionality” in carbon credit terminology (see above). This includes upfront costs to implement practices such as reduced or no tillage, the planting of perennial crops and other agroecological practices. But farmers too often are dealing with year-to-year financial challenges as market prices rise and fall, so investing in new practices requires them to take on risk. An Arkansas rice farmer explained to the House Agriculture Committee that he only made $133 on 200 acres put into a carbon credit project, which is not nearly enough to justify the project.<sup>11</sup> Bayer is paying<span> $3 per acre for reduced tillage — strip-till or no-till; $6 per acre for cover crops; and $9 per acre for adopting both practices.<sup>12</sup></span><span><span> Corteva is currently paying around $15 per carbon credit.</span></span> The pricing for companies purchasing offsets directly from farmers, such as Cargill or Bayer/Monsanto, are less publicly available. Currently, it is impossible for farmers to tell exactly what the market price is — as opposed to other farm commodities — and whether that market will even cover their costs. </span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span>2. </span></span></span><span><span><span>The implementation costs are considerable, favoring large-scale farms</span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Aside from implementing new practices to participate in carbon credits, farmers must also take on additional costs associated with producing, measuring and verifying the carbon credit, including third party verification. For example, Nori requires third party verification that could cost up to $3,000 per project. An assessment of agriculture carbon credit markets in the U.S. concluded that planning, measuring, reporting, verifying, market brokering and insuring risk are all significant barriers to participation in carbon credit schemes.<sup>13</sup></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Because of these costs to both the project developer and the farmer, the carbon <span>offset projects that do exist have primarily benefited large-scale farms, raising concerns that corporate investment in carbon markets will contribute to further consolidation of agricultural land and disadvantage small to mid-sized farmers. </span>Additional issues arise for farmers who are renting land, including who owns any credits that are generated, what are the legal obligations and risks to renters versus landowners, and how do long-term credit obligations affect the sale of farmland. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span>3. Past agroecological practices are not recognized</span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span>A carbon offset credit can only credibly reward new (or additional) carbon that has been sequestered. Farmers who have been practicing strong soil health building systems, such as organic or sustainable systems, for years or decades do not get credit for carbon stored in the past. Soil science indicates there are limits to how much carbon can be stored within soil, so long-time soil carbon builders may actually be at a disadvantage when it comes to developing carbon credits. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The issue of “additionality” has also plagued the forestry offset credit market, including the California compliance carbon market. A study by the University of California found that 82% of forestry offset credits were not additional, and hence did nothing to reduce emissions.<sup>14</sup></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><span><span>4. Permanence and restrictions on farmland management</span></span></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>To credibly offset carbon emissions from polluters, soil carbon offsets must be permanent, due to carbon remaining in the atmosphere from 300-1,000 years. In farming, a change in land management practices like tillage can release the carbon stored, thereby undermining the integrity of the offset and ultimately their carbon credit contract. The risk of severe weather events, whether drought or floods, also may affect sequestration. Long-term carbon credit contracts can restrict farmers’ ability to respond to weather changes or market-related financial risks to the farm. The U.S. has already seen extreme weather events destroy carbon offsets. An estimated 158,000 acres of forestry-based carbon credits were literally burned during 2021 wildfires that hit many western states, according to research by CarbonPlan.<sup>15</sup></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span>5. Farmers lose control of their data</span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span>To qualify for carbon credits, farmers are required to share enormous amounts of data about what is happening on their farm, including annual information about planting, seeds, fertilizer, equipment and harvest. Many U.S. farmers are concerned about who controls that data and who is benefiting.<sup>16</sup> Many of the major global agribusiness firms like Cargill,<sup>17 </sup>Bayer<sup>18</sup> and Corteva<sup>19</sup> have created their own on-farm data systems that would give the companies unprecedented access to what is happening on individual farms, as well as aggregate data on many farms — all of which would be privately-held and controlled. These are often the same companies on which farmers depend for purchasing farm inputs, hence creating a conflict-of-interest situation.    </span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span>Larger concerns about carbon markets and environmental justice</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Despite some interest from companies in farm-based carbon offsets, there is no push to develop a government-run carbon market at the national level in the U.S. Even a very limited bill to have the USDA set common standards for private offset credits hasn’t passed Congress, facing opposition from 220 environmental and farm organizations.<sup>20 </sup></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>The inability of flawed carbon markets in California and in the Northeast states to effectively reduce emissions, along with recent research on carbon markets’ lack of performance,<sup>21</sup> has led to growing skepticism of this policy approach. In February, a California state panel reported that the state would badly miss its goal of reducing emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, largely because of the state’s cap and trade system.<sup>22</sup> The panel found that polluters have banked millions of carbon credits, many of them forestry-based offsets, allowing them to evade pollution reduction requirements. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>New climate disclosure rules proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) could further weaken the offset market, as companies will be required to disclose their emissions and any offsets they have purchased.<sup>23 </sup>This increased climate scrutiny through audited financial documents may be a deterrent for companies who want to demonstrate real emissions reductions.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Some of the sharpest criticisms of carbon markets in the U.S. have come from the environmental justice community. Many sources of greenhouse gas pollution also emit other toxic air pollutants that affect human health. Many of those pollution sources are located in communities of color.<sup>24 </sup>Critics, such as the Climate Justice Alliance, argue that offset credits let companies off the hook from reducing their own pollution and associated damage to public health.<sup>25</sup> California’s carbon market has long been criticized by the environmental justice community for containing loopholes that would allow polluters to continue polluting.<sup>26</sup> This affects low income and communities of color more as because pollution sources are disproportionately located near them. A study from the University of Southern California found that these communities were less likely to see polluters reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants in their communities than elsewhere in the state.<sup>27 </sup></span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span>Australia and Canada’s carbon farming initiatives also yielding poor results</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>Deep flaws in agriculture and forestry carbon offsets in other countries have also emerged recently. Australia’s carbon offset program has come under heavy criticism recently, with a plunge in carbon credit prices and claims of badly broken offset methodologies.<sup>28</sup> In Australia, offset credits were granted for<span><span> not clearing forests that were never going to be cleared in the first place; for growing trees that were </span></span><span><span>already there; for growing forests in places that will never sustain permanent forests; and</span> <span>for operating electricity generators at large landfills that would have operated anyway.<sup>29</sup> A whistleblower in charge of the program called it a “sham,” particularly criticizing a </span>program in which <span>landowners were rewarded for allegedly re-growing trees on deforested land; after </span><span>analyzing the outcomes of 59 such projects, it turned out that the total forest area had actually shrunk.<sup>30</sup> An earlier investigation by the Australian Conservation Foundation had found that one in five forestry offset credits did not represent real emissions reductions, as they rewarded landowners for not cutting down trees they could not plausibly cut down.<sup>31</sup></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Canada’s experience with agriculture offsets have also been troubled. The Alberta voluntary carbon market has been issuing carbon credits mostly for no-till practices, but the credits do not require additionality.</span></span><span> They<span> actually allow tillage on 10% of credited land each year, and payments are year to year rather than ensuring permanency in the storage of carbon — all elements that directly undermine the integrity of the offset credit.<sup><a href="#_edn32"><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>3</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></a>2</sup> Another analysis of the Alberta market found that very few farmers participate because of low prices and shifting rules on what practices qualify for credits.<sup>33</sup></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span>What would work better for farmers and the climate?</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>The IPCC report issued in February warned of a significant rise in risks and costs to farmers and the food system due to climate-related disruptions and emphasized the urgent need for deep investments in climate adaptation.<sup>34</sup> <span>Paying farmers for soil carbon offsets treats agricultural land narrowly as a carbon sink for polluters. Agroecological-based farming systems can bring multiple benefits, including healthier soils, clean water, wildlife habitat, and farm resilience to drought and flooding.</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>Sustainable agriculture advocates in the U.S. are pushing for an expansion of government conservation programs that support agroecological farming systems. Currently, these programs are under-funded, with only 41% of farmers applying for the Conservation Stewardship Program and 31% of farmers applying for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program receiving payments.<sup>35</sup> Expanding and improving these conservation programs and making them accessible to farmers of all types and sizes would bring immediate climate benefits. </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>The EU has allocated a budget of €387 billion in funding for the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) from 2021-2027. The vast majority of CAP funds support large-scale farms, incentivizing polluting industrial practices. For instance, 80% of CAP direct payments go to 20% of CAP beneficiaries at the expense of small-scale producers.<sup>36 </sup>Though the new CAP includes payments for eco-schemes, it doesn’t go far enough. T</span></span></span></span><span><span><span>he CAP has the potential to be transformative for biodiversity and the climate <span>if these demands from European environmental organizations are heeded: 1) create CAP safeguards against harmful payments (that lead to peatland drainage, monocultures and expansion of factory farms); 2) set binding national targets for environmental improvements as conditions for CAP money; and 3) expand eco-schemes to support farmers’ transition to agroecology.<sup>37</sup> The CAP remains the most critical policy instrument to enable EU agriculture and rural communities to deliver on these goals.  </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>Governments setting ambitious targets for reducing agriculture’s major sources of greenhouse gas emissions directly is also badly needed. In the U.S., farm and environmental groups have called on the Environmental Protection Agency to begin regulating methane emissions from the largest hog and dairy operations.<sup>38</sup> The European Environmental Bureau is calling for EU-wide and national level targets to reduce agricultural greenhouse gases.<sup>39</sup> Emissions from mass livestock production and the manufacture and use of synthetic fertilizers are major sources of agriculture-linked emissions in both the U.S. and the EU, and they currently go largely unregulated. </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>In 2023, Congress will write a new Farm Bill that should reflect the urgency of the climate crisis. The EU will also begin implementing the new CAP in 2023, with the opportunity to push for reform as early as 2024 as member states submit their annual CAP performance reviews and the Commission reviews the performance of CAP strategic plans in 2025. There are opportunities to invest more deeply in popular, effective conservation programs, incentivize agroecological practices and address the over-production of energy intensive commodity crops. It is critical that policymakers avoid distractions like carbon offset markets.  </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>As Wisconsin dairy farmer and Chair of the National Family Farm Coalition, Jim Goodman says, “The last thing we should be doing is turning carbon into another commodity to be sold or traded in the global economy. Carbon markets will do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. All they will do is create another way for polluters to profit from their lack of environmental concern."<sup>40</sup> </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h2>Endnotes </h2> <p><span><span>1. Clayton, Chris. “Finding Environmental Markets.” DTN. November 22, 2019. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>2. Murray, Tom. “Apple, Ford, McDonald’s and Microsoft Among this Summer’s Climate Leaders.” Environmental Defense Fund. August 10, 2020. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>3. Nori. Own, Track and Showcase Verified Carbon Removal. Accessed May 17, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>4. Congressional Research Service. Agriculture and Forestry Offsets in Carbon Markets: Background and Selected Issues. November 3, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>5. Zelikova, Jane. Chay, Freya. Freeman, Jeremy. Cullenward, Danny. A Buyer’s Guide to Soil Carbon Offsets. CarbonPlan. July 15, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>6. Berthelin, Jacques. Laba, Magdeline. Lemaire, Gilles. Powlson, David. Tessier, Daniel. Wander, Michelle. Baveye, Philippe. Soil Carbon Sequestration for Climate Mitigation: Mineralization of Organic Inputs as an Overlooked Limitation. <em>European Journal of Soil Science</em>. 2022. <a href=""></a> 1</span></span></p> <p><span><span>7. Popkin, Gabriel. A Major Climate Idea is Based on Some Shaky Science. <em>The Atlantic</em>. July 31, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>8. Slessarev, Eric. Zelikova, Jane. Hammon, Joe. Cullenward, Danny. Freeman, Jeremy. Depth Matters for Soil Carbon Accounting. June 17, 2021. CarbonPlan <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>9. Nottingham, Andrew. Meir, Patrick. Velasquez, Esther. Turner, Benjamin. Soil Carbon Loss by Experimental Warming in Tropical Forest. Nature. 584. 2020. <a href=",to%20soils%20at%20ambient%20temperature">,to%20soils%20at%20ambient%20temperature</a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>10. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group 1. August 6, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>11. Beeman, Perry. “Farmers Call for Voluntary, Financially Appealing Programs to Fight Climate Change.” <em>Missouri Independent</em>. March 12, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>12. Doran, Tom. Selling Carbon Credits: Questions Farmers Should Ask. <em>AgriNews</em>. April 15, 2022.<span><span><span> <a href=";?utm_medium=social&amp;utm_source=twitter_AgriNews">;?utm_medium=social&amp;utm_source=twitter_AgriNews</a></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>13. Murray, Brian. Why Have Carbon Markets Not Delivered Agriculture Emissions Reductions in the United States? Choices. 2015. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>14. Haya, Barbara. The California Air Resource Board’s US Forest Offset Protocol Underestimates Leakage. Berkeley Public Policy, Working Paper. May 2019. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>15. CarbonPlan. Forest Offsets. Accessed May 17, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>16. Kelloway, Claire. Private Carbon Market Programs Funnel Farm Data to Big Ag. Food and Power. September 30, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>17. Cargill. Cargill Introduces New Revenue Stream for Farmers as Part of 10 Million Acre Regenerative Ag Commitment. September 16, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>18. Bayer. Earn Rewards for the Way You Farm. Accessed: May 17, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>19. Corteva. Corteva Announces Expansion of Corteva Carbon Initiative for 2022 Crop Year. August 26, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>20. Friends of the Earth. 222 Organizations Reject the Growing Climate Solutions Act. October 15, 2020. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>21. Green, Jessica. Does Carbon Pricing Reduce Emissions? A Review of Ex Post Analysis. Environmental Research Letters. March 24, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>22. California Independent Emissions Market Advisory Committee. 2021 Annual Report. February 4, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>23. Suppan, Steve. Q &amp; A: The SEC’s Proposed Rule on the Disclosure of Climate-Related Financial Risk. April 18, 2022. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>24. Lejano, Raul. Kan, Wing Shan. Chau, Ching Chit. The Hidden Disequities of Carbon Trading: Carbon Emissions, Air Toxics and Environmental Justice. <em>Frontier Environmental Science</em>. November 10, 2020. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>25. Climate Justice Alliance. Risks of Global Carbon Markets and Carbon Pricing. October 2017.  <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>26. Tigue, Kristoffer. “Why do Environmental Justice Advocates Oppose Carbon Markets? Look at California, They Say.” <em>Inside Climate News</em>. February 25, 2022. <a href=";utm_campaign=f145ea0a83-&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_29c928ffb5-f145ea0a83-328319320">;utm_campaign=f145ea0a83-&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_29c928ffb5-f145ea0a83-328319320</a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>27. Pastor, Manuel. Ash, Michael. Cushing, Lara. Morello-Frosch, Rachel. Muna, Edward-Michael. Sadd, James. Up in the Air: Revisiting Equity Dimensions of California’s Cap and Trade System. USC Dornsife Equity Research Institute. February 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>28. Mazengarb, Michael. Australian Carbon Traders Defend Troubled Offset Market Against Whistleblower Claims. Climate Change News. March 28, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>29. Mazengarb, Michael. Greens Refer Carbon Scheme to Watchdog After Whistleblower  Labels Offsets Fraud to the Environment. Renew Economy. March 24, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>30. Morton, Adam. “Australia’s Carbon Credit Scheme Largely a Sham, Says Whistleblower Who Tried to Rein it In.” <em>The Guardian</em>. March 23, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>31. Morton, Adam. “One in Five Carbon Credits Under Australia’s Main Climate Policy Are Junk, Research Finds.” <em>The Guardian</em>. September 22, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>32. Sellars, Sarah. Swanson, Krista. Schnitkey, Gary. Paulson, Nick. Zulauf, Carl. Agriculture Carbon Markets: A Case Study of Alberta. FarmdocDaily. April 27, 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>33. Lokuge, Nimanthika. Anders, Sven. Carbon-credit Systems in Agriculture: A Review of the Literature. University of Calgary Simpson Centre. April 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>34. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Sixth Assessment Report: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. 2022. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>35. Happ, Michael. Closed Out: How U.S. Farmers are Denied Access to Conservation Programs. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. September 9, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>36. Sindicato Labrego Galego. Confédération Paysanne. Confederação Nacional da Agricultura. European Coordination Via Campesina. Sindicato de Obreros del Campo Andalucía. Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Agricultores y Ganaderos. Ehne Bizkaia. For a Fairer CAP That is Based on Solidarity. June 14, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>37. European Environmental Bureau. Beyond Net Zero Emissions in Agriculture. July 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>38. Public Justice. Climate, Environmental Justice Groups Call for Biden EPA to Hold Industrial Dairy and Hog Operations Accountable and to Reject Big Ag Technology. April 6, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>39. European Environmental Bureau. Beyond Net Zero Emissions in Agriculture. July 2021. <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><span><span>40. Ritter, Tara. A False Solution: Why Carbon Markets Don’t Work for Agriculture. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. February 5, 2020. <a href=",to%20reduce%20greenhouse%20gas%20emissions">,to%20reduce%20greenhouse%20gas%20emissions</a>.</span></span></p> <hr /><h2>Downloads </h2> <p>Download a PDF of the policy brief <a href="">here</a>. </p> <hr /><p> </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-upload field--type-file field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Upload</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf icon-before"><span class="file-icon"><span class="icon glyphicon glyphicon-file text-primary" aria-hidden="true"></span></span><span class="file-link"><a href="" type="application/pdf; length=137811" title="Open file in new window" target="_blank" data-toggle="tooltip" data-placement="bottom">2022_05_23_USLessons_CarbonMarkets4 (1).pdf</a></span><span class="file-size">134.58 KB</span></span></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/issues/climate-change" hreflang="en">Climate Change</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-image field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Teaser image</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/media/11277" hreflang="en">Soil health</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 16 Jun 2022 21:03:32 +0000 cecelia brackey 44796 at Agroecology takes center stage in the global agenda for transforming agriculture and food systems <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category has-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <h3 > What is agroecology, and how can it provide solutions to crises that plague our food systems and create food democracies?</h3> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/shiney-varghese" hreflang="en">Shiney Varghese</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-text field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author (free form)</div> <div class="field--item"><p><em>With help from Cecelia Brackey and Colleen Borgendale. Special thanks to our partners for input and assistance. </em></p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/feat/public/2022-06/47051078511_c9bc09bc51_k%20%281%29.jpg?itok=7cHvGOI-" width="950" height="590" alt="Hmong American farmer in California" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-credit-flickr field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Used under creative commons license from <a href="">usdagov</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h2><span><span><span><strong><span><span>Introduction</span></span></strong> </span></span></span></h2> <p>Founded amid the family farm crisis of the mid-1980s, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) has a 35-year history of working on solutions that benefit family farmers, rural communities and our planet. In pursuit of realizing IATP’s vision of agriculture, trade and food systems that are good for all people involved in food systems (especially farmers and food system workers), ecosystems and environmental justice globally, we pursue cutting-edge solutions through research and action in coalition with partner organizations.  </p> <p>We apply a systems approach to analyzing and addressing the vexing, interconnected problems of industrialized food systems, and that is where agroecology comes in. Agroecology, with its roots in the traditional knowledge of food producing communities, has emerged as a set of practices based on principles that guide how to produce food sustainably, as well as how to manage the social relationships that govern food production, processing, exchange and waste management in a fair manner.  </p> <p>Since 2020, food prices have been on the rise following COVID-19-related supply chain interruptions, as well as climate disasters, such as drought, frost, fires and floods in a number of countries, among other factors. In early 2022, the war in Ukraine resulted in an unprecedented spike in food prices. In fact, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s <a href="" target="_blank">global food prices index</a> reached its highest level ever in March. These successive crises demonstrate that our food and agriculture systems are extremely vulnerable to shocks: We must invest in building resilience. Diversity of knowledge, genetic resources and food systems that foster human rights are necessary to build this resilience.</p> <p>In this Q&amp;A, we dig deeper into the definition of agroecology, examining the principles and elements of agroecology, as well as the history and development of agroecology as we know it today. We compare and contrast models of industrial, regenerative and organic agriculture to agroecology. In addition, we look at how and where agroecology is flourishing around the globe, and the markets, trade agreements and investments that must be implemented to further agroecological transformations to help build resilience in our food and agriculture systems.</p> <h2><span><span><span><strong><span><span>Overview of agroecology </span></span></strong></span></span></span></h2> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>1. What is agroecology? </span></span></strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>As an approach, agroecology is fundamentally different from other approaches to agriculture and food systems development and </span></span>represents an alternative paradigm in direct contrast to industrial agricultural approaches<span><span>. Agroecology </span></span>integrates transdisciplinary knowledge, the practices of food producers and eaters, as well as the priorities of social movements, while recognizing their mutual dependence. <span><span>Whereas the current industrialized system is extractive and exploitative, agroecology recognizes the interdependence of living systems and honor the principles of balance, diversity, harmony and respect. Agroecology creatively enables those involved in the food systems to connect with each other and solve problems specific to their unique situations.</span></span> </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>T</span></span><span><span><span><span>his transformative vision is necessary to bringing about just and sustainable food systems<sup>1</sup></span></span></span></span><span><span><span><span> transitions — from production to consumption to waste management — to ensure local and regional level food security across the world, while simultaneously building ecological, social and economic resilience rooted in mutual respect for various cultural food traditions of local community members. </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>2. Why does IATP work on and advocate for agroecology? </span></span></strong> </span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>IATP supports agroecology as food producing communities selectively combine traditional and modern practices to address concerns around equity, </span></span><a href=""><span><span>parity</span></span></a><span><span>, diversification of farms, productivity and food safety to build the ecological, social and economic resilience of communities. With a </span></span><a href=""><span><span>long history</span></span></a><span><span> of work on international trade and investment-related policies in the context of agriculture, IATP is uniquely positioned to integrate our trade analysis into agroecological advocacy, with a focus on strengthening territorial markets and regional food systems.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Agroecology offers us the most effective pathway to transform both conventional (capital intensive) and traditional food systems to become healthier, diversified, resilient and democratically governed at all levels <span><span>—</span></span> local, subnational, national and international — while being accountable and responsive to the needs of those actively engaged in <span><span>the system, including </span></span>food eaters, food system workers and food producers.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><img alt="HLPE Agroecology Report Figure 4" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="3fc9f922-39ae-42ef-982d-6296d915b529" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/HLPE%20Report%20Agroecology.PNG" /></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>3. The history of agroecology<sup>2</sup></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>The ideas, practices and the systems thinking that inform agroecology go back to Indigenous cultures across the world. However, the term agroecology was used for the first time in academia in 1928 by Dr. Basil M. Bensin (</span></span><a href=""><span><span>a Russian agronomist</span></span></a><span><span> who received his education in agricultural sciences at the University of Minnesota, graduating with a M.S. in 1912), initially in reference to applying ecological methods to research on crops.  </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>What we now know as agroecology<span><span> began developing</span></span> around 100 years ago along two separate but parallel tracks: In one, biological scientists, such as Dr. Bensin, began studying the application of ecology in agriculture. In the other, food producing communities sought alternatives <span><span>— both by reclaiming systems lost and building upon old systems with knowledge gathered though new experiences — to the chemical farming that was affecting local biodiversity, soil health and food quality.</span></span> These alternative sets of agricultural practices had different names in different regions, but all drew on the principle of living with nature.</span></span> </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>By 1965, in perhaps one of the earliest books on the topic, “Agroecology” [“Agrarökologie”], German ecologist and zoologist Professor Wolfgang Tischler used the term as he combined ecology (interactions among biological components at the field level or agroecosystem) with agronomy (integration of agricultural management practices) to analyze the various compartments of the agricultural system (the soil, plants, etc.), their interactions and the impact of human management of agricultural activities on each of these compartments.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><a href=";rep=rep1&amp;type=pdf"><span><span>Frederick H. Buttel</span></span></a><span><span> described these earlier strands of agroecology as a scientific discipline, respectively, as <em>ecosystem agroecology</em> (predominant among ecologists) and <em>agronomic agroecology</em>. According to Buttel, a third type of agroecology emerged in the period after the 1970s. It drew on the political economic critique of modern agricultural systems and was often called <em>agroecological political economy</em>. The foundations of this third strand could have been laid down by the work of academics such as </span></span><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span>Professor Efraim Hernandez X. who </span></span><span><span>defined agroecosystems as the interaction among ecological, technological and socioeconomic factors. Based on his research </span></span><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span>on Indigenous systems of knowledge in Mexico, he proposed that with the exclusive focus on productivity (i.e., a <em>productivist</em> approach), modern agricultural systems had lost their ecological foundation. In subsequent decades, researchers such as </span></span><a href=""><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span>Steve </span></span><span><span>Gliessman</span></span></a><span><span> and </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Miguel Altieri</span></span></a> <span><span>proposed agroecology as the <em>application of ecological principles to the design and management of sustainable agroecosystems</em>. In this period, increasing awareness of the environmental impacts and pollution caused by industrial farming set the stage for many farmers moving to more sustainable agricultural practices.</span></span> </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>By the late 1990s, academic writing on agroecology began broadening to include all aspects of food systems, including food production, processing and distribution. Political ecology became an important influence, leading to a more comprehensive understanding of the study of agroecology. Meanwhile, as corporations and global institutions were making decisions driven by profit, food producing communities sought alternatives to globalized food systems. Communities began advocating for food sovereignty,<sup>3</sup></span></span><span><span> the idea that people engaged in producing, processing, distributing and consuming foods should have control<a> over the institutions and policies related to all aspects of food systems, from production to consumption</a>. The </span></span><a href=""><span><span><span>International</span></span></span><span><span><span> Planning Committee for <span>Food</span> <span>Sovereignty</span></span></span></span></a> <span><span><span><span>(IPC) led by </span></span></span></span><a href=""><span><span><span>La Via Campesina</span></span></span></a> <span><span><span><span>and other social movements played a leading role in this advocacy starting with the </span></span></span></span><a href=""><span><span><span>World Food Summit</span></span></span></a> <span><span><span><span>of November 1996. </span></span></span></span><span><span>Over the last two decades, the calls for food sovereignty, agroecology and related campaigns have been taken up across the world not only by grassroots organizations, but also by regional networks such as the </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Asian Farmers Association</span></span></a><span><span>, the </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa</span></span></a><span><span>, </span></span><a href=""><span><span>U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance</span></span></a><span><span> and many others.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>The convergence of the work by scientists and the initiatives from food producing communities coming together and exploring solutions to the ecological, socioeconomic and political problems of the current food systems has resulted in a comprehensive understanding of agroecology as “the ecology of food systems,”<sup>4</sup></span></span><span><span> focused on food sovereignty. </span></span>  </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>These advances also led the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to develop a set of agroecological principles in 2018 known as the FAO’s<em> </em></span></span><a href=""><span><span>10 element of agroecology</span></span></a><span><span>.<sup>5</sup></span></span><span><span> Further, </span></span><a href=""><span><span>in response to a request</span></span></a><span><span> from the </span></span><a href=""><span><span>U.N. Committee on Food Security</span></span></a><span><span> (CFS), the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) to the CFS developed a set of recommendations on the best possible pathways for just and sustainable food system transformations based on </span></span><a href=""><span><span>13 agroecological principles</span></span></a><span><span> that were developed, outlined and agreed upon by the HLPE’s international experts. (FAO’s 10 elements and HLPE’s 13 principles are discussed in detail below.<sup>6</sup></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>The </span></span><a href=""><span><span>HLPE report</span></span></a><span><span><span><span>,</span></span></span></span><span><span> presented to the CFS in October 2019, was the basis for extensive negotiations in 2020 and early 2021, </span></span><a href=";rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=&amp;ved=2ahUKEwiTjY_Q05n2AhU2jIkEHWV8De0QFnoECAQQAQ&amp;;usg=AOvVaw3Z292ZJBN65c0taG-YOZxj"><span><span>which IATP joined</span></span></a><span><span> along with other civil society organizations and social movements. The CFS adopted the multilaterally negotiated outcome, </span></span><a href=""><span><span>the CFS Policy Recommendations</span></span></a><span><span>, in June 2021. However, civil society abstained from adoption because several </span></span><a href=""><span><span>key elements were missing</span></span></a><span><span>.<sup>7</sup></span></span><span><span> With these recommendations, agroecology has gained further visibility and support.  </span></span></span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span><strong><span><span>Definitions, principles and elements of agroecology </span></span></strong></span></span></span></h2> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>4. What are the HLPE’s 13 principles, and how are they different from or similar to FAO’s 10 elements? </span></span></strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span>The 13 agroecological principles are aligned with and complementary to the FAO’s 10 elements of agroecology. Both take a holistic approach in considering transformations towards sustainable food systems, and both are based on agroecology’s three constituent elements: a set of practices, a science and a movement. While the HLPE’s 13 agroecological principles and FAO’s 10 elements are closely aligned, they are the results of two distinct processes. </span><a href=""><span>FAO’s 10 elements</span></a><span> of agroecology came out of regional consultations around the world and are designed to help structure the agency’s work with member countries and with other international and U.N agencies. The </span><a href=""><span>13 key principles</span></a><span> were developed by the HLPE through an extensive literature review of the concepts, definitions and principles of agroecology as a scientific basis for a set of policy recommendations for the CFS. (See the </span><a href=""><span>report</span></a><span>, </span><em><span>Agroecological and other innovative approaches for sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance food security and nutrition.</span></em><span>) </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>While both take into account key ecological and techno-productive principles, they also incorporate sociocultural and political-economic considerations, as well as governance concerns from the local to global scale. At their best, practitioners of agroecology focus on a holistic approach in keeping with all 13 of the agroecological principles outlined by the HLPE to simultaneously ensure multiple benefits for all food system actors, local communities and ecology. The focus is not only on the farm and the design of the agroecosystems, but also on the needs of people within food producing communities, food system workers, consumers and especially women. Upholding these principles is crucial for the development of alternatives to industrial agriculture through movement building.    </span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>5. What is meant by saying agroecology is a science, a practice and a movement?<sup>8</sup></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><strong><span><span>As a science</span></span></strong><span><span>, agroecology is: 1) the integrative study of the ecology of the entire food system, encompassing ecological, economic, social and political dimensions; 2) the application of ecological concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable food systems; and 3) the integration of research, education, action and change that brings sustainability to ecological, economic and social aspects of food systems.  </span></span>    </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span><span>As a set of agricultural practices</span></span></strong><span><span>, agroecology seeks ways to improve agricultural systems by harnessing natural ecological processes and ecosystem functions; creating beneficial biological interactions and synergies among the components of agroecosystems; minimizing synthetic and toxic external inputs, as well as waste production; maximizing functional biodiversity; and strengthening biological regulation in agroecosystems. Practices are designed to sustainably reconcile social, economic and environmental challenges to community agricultural development. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span><span>As a movement</span></span></strong><span><span>, agroecology seeks to transform agriculture to build locally relevant, resilient and sustainable food systems that strengthen the economic viability of rural areas based on short marketing chains, equity, and both fair and safe food production. This involves supporting diverse forms of smallholder food production and family farming, including farmers, pastoralists, fishers and gatherers. Specific aims of the movement include food sovereignty, respect for and preservation of local knowledge, social justice, maintenance of local identity and culture, and rights to local and Indigenous seeds and breeds<span><span>. </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>In agroecology, these three aspects are closely interrelated. T</span></span><span><span>he agroecology movement builds on agroecological science and knowledge for promotion and practice of the agricultural approach. Because of the interlinkages between and coevolution among these three aspects, agroecology<strong> is a holistic approach</strong>, oriented towards food system transformation <span>to more just and sustainable food systems. It seeks to build resilient food democracies on the firm foundations of place-based, experiential, Indigenous knowledge systems. Its practices are enhanced through <strong>mutually respectful intercultural interactions</strong> and movement building among food producers, food system workers, consumers, with particular attention to women, as well as through cocreation of knowledge in collaboration with scientists<span>. </span></span> </span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>6. Why is the definition of agroecology important? How does the definition intersect with policy? </span></span></strong>  </span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><a><span><span> </span></span></a></span></span></span>Agroecology now has a central role in the agenda for transforming agriculture in multilateral food security debates. There has been a proliferation of definitions of agroecology, as different organizations and countries define it in ways that reflect their concerns and priorities<span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif">. </span></span></span><span><span><span><span><span>For IATP, the holistic definition of agroecology highlights a multifaceted approach based on a set of principles to guide food system transformations towards food sovereignty, ensuring food democracy, sustainability, viability and community resilience. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>The set of principles is not a prescriptive plan but provides a holistic framework for addressing multiple challenges in the food systems, including: impacts of climate on agriculture and </span></span><a href=""><span><span>reducing emissions</span></span></a><span><span>; </span></span><a href=""><span><span>nutrition diversity and food security</span></span></a><span><span>; the conservation of biodiversity and water; and </span></span><a href=""><span><span>reducing ecological footprints</span></span></a><span><span>. It also offers a framework for addressing </span></span><a href=""><span><span>social and economic inequities</span></span></a><span><span> in the food system and reducing food waste. Using this framework requires recognizing that each community and food system actors’ needs and circumstances are different and impacted not only by biophysical feedback processes and interactions among interdependent humans, but also by governance decisions at local, national and international levels. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Despite its usefulness, and despite evidence-based assessments demonstrating agroecology as the most effective path for addressing multiple ecological and socioeconomic crises simultaneously, agroecology is missing in many policy spaces or only present in watered-down versions. Thus, civil society organizations advocate for the </span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>integration of agroecology in official positions of national and local policymakers, including ministries and departments of food, agriculture, environment, water, forests, wetlands and rural development, as well as city and regional planning for </span></span><a href=""><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>access to healthy food and market development</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>. In addition, advocacy is needed at local, national and international levels to increase agroecology-specific policies, research, extension, public finance, rules and legislation.  </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Most aspects of agroecology — such as extending a supportive environment where science intersects with local practices in their diversity — can be addressed in public policies. But a key constituent element of agroecology is the involvement and leadership of social movements and mutual accountability. This element can only be enabled by ensuring space for democratic engagement. Thus, social movements with a central focus on justice, fairness and food democracy become key to the real spread of meaningful and holistic agroecological transitions. The transdisciplinary nature of agroecology — which embraces not only multiple scientific disciplines, but also food system practices, as well as social movements and the application of this transdisciplinary approach to the entire food and agricultural system — is key to food system transformations. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p>IATP is working with partners locally and globally to advance food system transformations rooted in these agroecological principles and by promoting food democracies.</p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>7. What are the goals and benefits of agroecology? </span></span></strong>  </span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>We are at the precipice of an agrarian crisis: ecological, socioeconomic and political. While agroecology can improve farmers’ yields and incomes, its true value goes well beyond that. Agroecological transformations, from production to consumption to waste management, offer us a pathway to address these multiple crises, through an approach that recognizes the interdependence of living systems (from microbes to plants and animals to humans) and honors the principles of balance, diversity, harmony and respect.</span></span> <span><span>These transformations</span></span><span><span> entail a cultural shift and a worldview that is distinct from the exploitation and extraction implicit in industrialized agriculture. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Such just food systems transitions are necessary for building food democracies; for ensuring that consumers can afford healthy, culturally appropriate and nutritious food; for ensuring economic viability for food producers and workers in food systems; and for revitalizing rural areas and enabling fair trade in agricultural commodities and other crops. A just transition requires building local democratic governance structures and rebuilding the natural resource base, enabling climate resilience. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span><strong><span><span>The role of technology in agroecology</span></span></strong></span></span></span></h2> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>8. How does agroecology differ from other traditional agriculture practices? How does it resemble these practices</span></span></strong><strong><span><span>?</span></span></strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Unlike other traditional agricultural practices, the ecological and techno-productive dimension of agroecology focuses on the design of the farm and agroecosystems based on key </span></span><a href=""><span><span>ecological principles</span></span></a><span><span> and adapting them to the local environment. Miguel Altieri<sup>9</sup></span></span><span><span> describes them as: </span></span></span></span></span></p> <blockquote><p><span><span><span><span><span>1. Enhance recycling of biomass and optimizing nutrient availability and balancing nutrient flow; 2. Securing favorable soil conditions for plant growth, particularly by managing organic matter and enhancing soil biotic activity; 3. Minimizing losses due to flows of solar radiation, air and water by way of microclimate management, water harvesting and soil management through increased soil cover; 4. Species and genetic diversification of the agroecosystem in time and space; 5. Enhance beneficial biological interactions and synergisms among agrobiodiversity components thus resulting in the promotion of key ecological processes and services; and a sixth principle was </span></span><a href=""><span><span>added later</span></span></a><span><span>: Strengthen the “immune system” of agricultural systems through enhancement of functional biodiversity — natural enemies, antagonists, etc., by creating appropriate habitats.</span></span></span></span></span></p> </blockquote> <p><span><span><span><span><span>While many Indigenous farming systems continue to be based on some or all these principles, most communities are unable to continue such practices. Policies related to food, agriculture, seeds, water and agrichemical inputs have incentivized shifts away from such food system practices to practices that focus exclusively on the productivity of a few select crops or animals.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>9. Is</span></span></strong><span><span> <strong>agroecology a return to “tradition,” rejecting all types of technology, inputs for agriculture and information regarding innovation?  </strong></span></span><strong> </strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>No, agroecology is not a rejection of all technology. Use of technology is considered as the local context warrants it. Some technologies, such as genetic modification or gene editing,<sup>10</sup></span></span><span><span> are considered incompatible with agroecological principles. </span></span><span><span>To help decide which technologies — whether from traditional knowledge and practices or scientific innovations — make sense and which do not in a specific context, agroecology practitioners and scientists engage in mutually respectful conversation (or <em>diálogos de saberes, </em>i.e., dialog among different kinds of knowledge or methods of enquiry),<sup>11</sup> </span></span><span><span>with each other and among themselves. They are constantly innovating based on specific local conditions, including social and cultural dimensions, to build on ancestral and experiential knowledge of the food producers and local communities on the one hand and the knowledge of agroecology scientists on the other hand.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span><strong><span><span>Agroecology and </span></span></strong><strong><span><span>sustainable intensification</span></span></strong><strong><span><span>, regenerative and organic agriculture </span></span></strong></span></span></span></h2> <h3 style="margin-bottom: 11px;">10. How does agroecology differ from regenerative or organic agriculture?<sup>12</sup></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Over the last several decades, agroecology has evolved to become a holistic approach to<span><span> food systems</span></span> <span><span>transformations, </span></span>with strong ecological grounding. It seeks to foster intra and inter-community justice, economic and ecological resilience, and most crucially, resistance against corporatization of agriculture and food systems. While agroecology starts with redesigning the production practices in the agroecosystem to be more diversified, it goes beyond to developing shared economies and fair working conditions that honor the dignity of the people involved in the food system. The transformations are not only about addressing ecological concerns of the specific agroecosystem or ensuring access to organically produced food, but also about simultaneously addressing fundamental concerns of the food producers, food system workers and consumers around </span></span><a href=""><span><span>parity</span></span></a><span><span>, equity and intergenerational justice across and within countries. </span></span> </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>The basic principles of organic agriculture — no use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or harmful synthetic chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers), encouraging building healthy soil and diversified agroecosystems, and grass-based ruminants — are consistent with what was initially promoted as regenerative agriculture. Both organic and regenerative agriculture may share many aspects of agroecology when it comes to production practices that are rooted in ecological resilience. This is not surprising since organic agriculture shares a history with agroecology, as both evolved as alternatives to chemical farming among farming communities. Organic agriculture has clear standards laid out either by national government bodies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s </span></span><a href=""><span><span>National Organic Standards Board</span></span></a><span><span> (NOSB), by food producers’ organizations, as in the case of the </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Real Organic Project</span></span></a><span><span><span><span>,</span></span></span></span><span><span> or clear </span></span><a href=""><span><span>norms</span></span></a><span><span><span><span>,</span></span></span></span><span><span> as in the case of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (</span></span><a href=""><span><span>IFOAM-Organics International</span></span></a><span><span>). </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>In fact, in the U.S., the organic industry took the initiative to ask the federal government to regulate it for standardization, consistency and enforcement, as IATP pointed out in its </span></span><a href=""><em><span><span>Revisiting Crisis by Design</span></span></em></a><span><span> series. </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Labelling</span></span></a><span><span> is intended to assure eaters that </span></span><span><span>what they eat is produced according to rigorous organic standards; this has helped ensure competitive access to premium markets, including global markets. The </span></span><a href=""><span><span>dramatic increase in organic production</span></span></a><span><span> and overall growth in the sector has also been accompanied by increasing </span></span><span><span>corporate concentration in the organic industry. Unfortunately, with increased participation of food value chain companies in this growing sector, lobbying efforts to expand and weaken the definition of what is allowed to be called organic are ever present. As a result, NOSB standards </span></span><a href=""><span><span>continue to be lowered</span></span></a><span><span>.<sup>13</sup> </span></span><span><span>For example, concentrated animal feeding operations (</span></span><a href=""><span><span>CAFOs)</span></span></a> <a href=""><span><span>can be part of</span></span></a><span><span> the “organic” sector, as can </span></span><a href=""><span><span>hydroponic</span></span></a><span><span> systems despite opposition from many organic farmers organizations.  </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>U</span><span>nlike agroecology, </span><span>regenerative agriculture does not have a clear set of principles or key elements that have been agreed upon by a multilateral body, nor are there any national-level </span><a href=""><span>rules and regulations</span></a><span> that govern regenerative agriculture, such as the USDA organic standards. Moreover, there is much ambiguity around the way term is used. </span><a href=""><span>A review of scholarly and practitioner definitions</span></a><span> of regenerative agriculture shows how such ambiguity adds </span><span>“confusion to understanding what the term ‘regenerative agriculture’ is being used to mean in any particular context.” Definitions of regenerative agriculture range from an approach that seeks to improve </span><a href=""><span>soil and ecosystem health</span></a><span> to much narrower goals, such as </span><a href=""><span>agricultural carbon sequestration</span></a><span> as a climate mitigation strategy with the promise of </span><a href=""><span>monetization of carbon stored in soil</span></a><span>, also called carbon farming. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>In sum, while both these approaches can be part of agroecological transformations, organic agriculture and regenerative agriculture <a href="">are more amenable</a> to cooptation or manipulation by the corporate sector, compared to agroecology that emphasizes <a href="">circular and solidarity economy</a>. Agroecology puts <a href="">human and social values</a><span><span>, </span></span>such as dignity, equity, inclusion and justice, at its the center, in addition to its emphasis on the conservation of biological resources through <a href="">diversity</a>, <a href="">synergies</a>, <a href="">efficiency</a>, <a href="">resilience</a> and <a href="">recycling</a>. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>In the U.S., in response to such cooptation and manipulation, organic farmers are coming together to develop the </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Real Organic Project</span></span></a><span><span><span><span>,</span></span></span></span><span><span> with </span></span><a href=""><span><span>its own standards</span></span></a><span><span> that </span></span><a href=""><span><span>go far beyond</span></span></a><span><span> USDA’s </span></span><a href=""><span><span>NOSB standards</span></span></a><span><span>. A somewhat parallel initiative by those focused on regenerative agriculture, as well as better supply chain operations, is the </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Regenerative Organic Alliance</span></span></a><span><span> (ROA), which defines regenerative agriculture as having three core pillars — soil health through organic </span></span><a href=""><span><span>no-till</span></span></a><span><span><span><span><span><span>, </span></span></span></span></span></span><span><span>social fairness and animal welfare. </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Regenerative Organic Certification</span></span></a><span><span> (</span></span><span><span>Regenerative Organic Certified™)<em> </em>starts with the </span></span><a href=""><span><span>NOSB standards</span></span></a><span><span> and<em> </em>not only brings together other existing third-party certifications, but also provides ROC-specific guidelines for each of its three pillars. While Real Organic Seals are available only to member producers, the Regenerative Organic Certified™<em> </em>certification is available to producer operations and supply chain actors for U.S. and international markets.  </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Both the </span></span><a href=""><span><span>farmer-driven approach</span></span></a><span><span> of the </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Real Organic Project</span></span></a><span><span> and value-chain focused, aspirational </span></span><a href=""><span><span>regenerative farming</span></span></a><span><span> are efforts in the U.S. to go beyond the NOSB’s organic standards, and both approaches embrace different aspects of the FAO’s 10 elements of agroecology. A parallel international initiative is </span></span><a href=""><span><span>IFOAM’s Organics 3.0</span></span></a><span><span>.<sup>14</sup></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Truly embracing the agroecological principles in the U.S. context would require not only combining the best of both </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Real Organic Project</span></span></a><span><span> and </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Regenerative Organic Certification</span></span></a><span><span><span><span>, it would also require addressing</span></span></span></span> <a href=""><span><span>racial, gender</span></span></a><span><span> and </span></span><a href=""><span><span>food justice</span></span></a><span><span> concerns as a basis for building </span></span><a href=""><span><span>more resilient and just food systems</span></span></a><span><span> through the inclusive leadership of social movements.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>11. What is sustainable intensification? How is it different from agroecology? </span></span></strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Sustainable intensification (SI) focuses on improving productivity per unit of land while also trying account for some of the environmental externalities of the current model of industrial agriculture. It is a mainstream and (often) corporate response to the ecological crisis of food systems. Its principal focus continues to be productivist, seeking to improve the output plant-by-plant or animal-by-animal and using technological interventions to improve resource-use efficiency of specific inputs, such as water, labor or agrochemicals. SI is not holistic and does not pay attention to possible negative impacts of the technical interventions on the farming system, including the ecological balance of agroecosystems. For example, in SI practices, no-till farming<em> </em>is often accompanied<em> </em>by herbicide use; </span></span><span><span>no-till helps with carbon sequestration especially if it is combined with other practices like planting cover crops, and the use of herbicides can help improve labor-use efficiency of the farm. However, in this example, the </span></span><a href=""><span><span>net ecological impact<sup>15</sup></span></span><span><span> of no-till faming is negative</span></span></a><span><span>, as the herbicide use can impact biodiversity, water quality, the ecological balance of the agroecosystems</span></span><span><span> and even people’s health. Most importantly the practitioners of SI do not challenge the problematic corporate concentration in food systems.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>While there is an attempt to portray such piecemeal initiatives as agroecological, the CFS-HLPE report on agroecological and other innovative approaches clarifies how SI and agroecology are different. </span></span><span><span>The report clusters several innovative approaches into two main categories: 1) sustainable intensification of production systems and related approaches (including climate-smart agriculture, nutrition-sensitive agriculture and sustainable food value chains) that generally involve incremental transitions towards sustainable food systems; and 2) agroecological and related approaches (including organic agriculture, agroforestry and permaculture) that some stakeholders consider to be more transformative. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>While sustainable intensification starts from the premise that addressing future food security-related challenges requires an increase in productivity per unit of land in a sustainable manner, agroecology emphasizes reducing inputs and fostering diversity alongside social and political transformation. It is focused on improving ecological and human health and addressing issues of equity and governance.</span></span>  </span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span><strong><span><span>Agroecology and “feeding the world”</span></span></strong></span></span></span></h2> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>12. It is argued that agroecology cannot feed the world. What is IATP’s response?</span></span></strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Food insecurity has plagued populations around the world for centuries. During the mid-20th century, the Green Revolution was ushered in to alleviate world hunger as part of international agricultural developmental efforts. The Green Revolution focused on increasing agricultural productivity through breeding and use of inputs, such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on selected crops amenable to monocropping, and infrastructures to support such practices. This helped to increase food grain production. In the meantime, government policies in the U.S. led to large-scale monocultures heavily dependent on agrochemicals and commercial seeds, creating an industrial food system that spread to other parts of the Americas and, by now, to the rest of the world. Family farmers were forced to “get big or get out,” a phrase attributed to former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz. Over the last five decades, we have come to experience the socioeconomic and environmental ill effects of such industrial food systems and corporate concentration, with increased distance between food producers and eaters. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>The idea of needing to produce more for “feeding the world” is a myth started and promoted by agribusiness and the architects of industrial agriculture. In the U.S., farmers are told to produce more to feed the world, but behind this call is a false premise that there is not enough food in the world. The volume of agricultural production required is a function of the way it is used (for food, feed or fuel), as much as the number of eaters and their ability to access healthy food. The “feed the world” approach ignores fundamental issues of distribution and equity. This simplistic association between agricultural output and food security has no basis in facts and ignores the fundamental reasons for world hunger: Hunger is rooted in structural inequalities: colonial experiences that have dispossessed people of their access to land, water and other resources, further exacerbated by international and national investment policies. Such structural inequalities are often enabled by authoritarian or neoliberal regimes.     </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>A deeper analysis reveals two things about today’s dominant industrial food system. First, it is depleting and degrading the natural resource base — soil, water and biodiversity — and helping to intensify climate disruption. Second, despite producing </span></span><a href=""><span><span>enough food for 9.7 billion</span></span></a><span><span> people (projected to be the world’s peak population by 2050), it has failed to address world hunger. Ensuring food and nutrition security for people around the world requires protecting the ecological resource base that is essential for producing food now and in the future. This must happen along with addressing power imbalances in the food system, nurturing food democracies and working toward implementing the right to food. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>As the FOE </span></span><a href=""><span><span>report</span></span></a><span><span> on agroecology (2016) notes, “Four decades of scientific evidence show that agroecological farming, including diversified6 organic agriculture, is the most effective agricultural response to the environmental challenges that threaten our future food security, such as climate change, soil erosion, water scarcity and loss of biodiversity.” Also, “as a systems-based approach to food and farming, agroecology addresses the social and economic drivers of chronic hunger endured by nearly 800 million people around the world.” The report concludes, “</span></span><span><span>By transitioning from industrial to diversified organic and agroecological food and farming systems, we can produce enough food to feed the world, reduce poverty and restore essential natural resources to feed the planet for generations to come.” </span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>13. How have efforts to ensure a nutritious diet for all been sidetracked by the goal of sufficient calories?<sup>16</sup></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>The current global calorie supply is more than enough for the world’s population.</span></span> <span><span>In many countries, the volume of food available is not the main problem; rather, the problem is the accessibility, distribution and affordability of culturally appropriate and nutrient-dense food. How the crops are used also matters. Much of the grain grown across the world is used for animal feed or fuel-feedstocks. If used for direct human consumption, it often undergoes extensive processing that strips most nutrients or converts it to less nutritious products (e.g., turning field corn into high-fructose corn syrup). </span></span><span><span>According to the FAO, nearly one-third of food produced for human consumption — approximately 1.3 billion tons per year — is either lost or wasted globally. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>The emphasis on calorie supply is a hangover of an older approach to measuring food security. </span></span><span><span>A sufficient global calorie supply was the primary goal of 20th century agricultural development, which focused on increased grain output through Green Revolution technologies, augmented by aid and trade policies. This </span></span><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span>“productivist” approach</span></span><span><span><span><span> sought</span></span></span></span><span><span> to increase agricultural outputs by focusing on improving the productivity from a specific plant or animal. The goal was to meet national level food security (in calorific terms) and to increase agricultural exports for aid or trade</span></span><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span>. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span>This approach informed food, farm, trade and investment policies in agriculture and allied sectors, and it has been a dismal failure. </span></span><span><span>Across the world, malnutrition has remained high, </span></span><a href=""><span><span>obesity is increasing</span></span></a><span><span> and close to one billion people are hungry. It also affected farming communities negatively, with many shifting from diversified farming practices to cash crop monocultures, such as soybeans or sugarcane. </span></span><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span>Sometimes, they have been</span></span><span><span> pushed out of agriculture altogether due to agricultural </span></span><a href=""><span><span>dumping</span></span></a><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span>. Farm families who continue farming often end up suffering from poverty and hunger. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span>In contrast, agroecology includes the goal of ensuring a nutritious and culturally appropriate diet for all. In most agricultural communities, agroecosystems have functioned as a source of diverse food, as well as other resources needed for communities’ survival — fuel, fiber, medicines, cosmetics, cleaning needs, fencing and building materials, pollination and pest control, fertilizer, fodder and feed for farm animals. While the productivist approach focuses only on grain, food and feed outputs, </span></span><span><span>agroecology emphasizes the multifunctionality of the agroecosystems while conserving the natural resource base. A nutritious and culturally appropriate diet for everybody requires a diversified food system that is accessible to all, which is central to agroecology.    </span></span></span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span><strong><span><span>Agroecology in practice </span></span></strong></span></span></span></h2> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>14. What countries have adapted and embraced agroecology? </span></span></strong>  </span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Agroecological transitions are taking place in many developing countries and some developed countries. </span></span><a href=""><span><span>France</span></span></a><span><span>, </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Germany</span></span></a><span><span> and </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Switzerland</span></span></a><span><span> promote some version of agroecology as part of their bilateral aid. While there are several partial government initiatives at state level or sub-national level, no country has promoted agroecology at the national level. Bhutan, with its </span></span><a href=""><span><span>National Framework for Organic Farming</span></span></a><span><span> and plans </span></span><a href=""><span><span>to go 100% organic</span></span></a><span><span>, has the potential for nation-wide just agroecological transitions but will require additional support and an enabling environment to become </span></span><a href=""><span><span>an economy for food sovereignty and organic farming</span></span></a><span><span>. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Agroecology is also being advanced in some select countries through an action plan that FAO has developed in collaboration with partners, known as the </span></span><a href=""><span><span>scaling up agroecology initiative</span></span></a><span><span> (SUAI), a platform to catalyze cooperation on agroecology within the U.N. system.<sup>17</sup></span></span><span><span> The International Fund for Agricultural Development (</span></span><span><span>IFAD)’s engagement with SUAI has resulted in a </span></span><a href=""><span><span>stock-taking report on agroecology in IFAD operations</span></span></a><span><span>, looking at all 207 IFAD-supported projects across countries in the five IFAD regions.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>One of the SUAI activities is technical support to countries in developing policy processes, including through South-South Cooperation in some states and regions in countries including India, Senegal and Mexico.<sup>18</sup></span></span><span><span> In India, the initiative supports the government of Andhra Pradesh’s program for Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), through </span></span><a href=""><span><span><span><span>Andhra Pradesh<strong> </strong></span></span></span></span><span><span>Community Managed Natural Farming Programme (APCNF)</span></span></a><span><span>.<sup>19</sup></span></span><span><span> In Senegal, at the invitation of the government, support was given to the National Committee “Dynamic for Agroecological Transitions in Senegal” (DyATES).<sup>20</sup></span></span><span><span> Other SUAI initiatives include a 10 Year Regional Programme for Agroecology in West Africa in response to a request from the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS) and the Development of a Regional Policy Framework on Agroecology in response to a request from the Parliamentarian Front of the Latin America and the Caribbean (PARLATINO).</span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>15. Has agroecology been adopted in the United States?  </span></span></strong><strong> </strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Agroecology, as defined in this Q&amp;A, has not yet been adopted as part of state or federal level policies in the U.S. However, there are many farmers and civil society organizations in the U.S. that have been advocating for the adoption of agroecology. Some of these farmers practice regenerative and organic agriculture at their best. The U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) is a network of frontline organizations and allies (including IATP) advocating for agroecology. The alliance continues to shape the conversation about agroecology in the U.S., and late last year, it was joined by over 80 U.S. food, and farm justice organizations </span></span><a href=""><span><span>to ask the Biden administration</span></span></a><span><span> to support agroecology.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>16. What does agroecology have to do with the global climate commitments and U.N. Sustainable Development Goals? </span></span></strong><strong><span><span><span><span>What about the </span></span></span></span></strong><strong><span><span>U.N. Food Systems Summit or its </span></span></strong><strong><span><span><span><span>AIM for Climate Coalition?</span></span></span></span></strong> </span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Just agroecological transitions are the most effective approach to simultaneously addressing global climate commitments and most of the Sustainable Development Goals. A just transition in food systems means recognizing that the climate crisis impacts people; that food producers and food system workers are the first to bear the brunt of it; and that agroecology is a key solution, both in terms of mitigation and adaptation, to build </span></span><a href=""><span><span>climate-resilient livelihoods and food systems</span></span></a><span><span>. Agroecology is about producing and processing with minimal pollution and emissions. It involves diversified and integrated farming practices and systems that enhance resilience in a variety of ways, including through more biodiversity and nutritional diversity, improved soil health and water retention capacity of soils. All this helps improve the adaptive capacities of the community. With its emphasis on locally and regionally focused processing and marketing, food and feed products need not travel as far, thereby reducing the climate footprint substantially. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Agroecological transformations can help countries meet their climate mitigation commitments in several ways while simultaneously building their adaptation capacities. The adaptation and mitigation potentials provide the rationale for diverting agricultural climate finance in support of agroecology. More importantly, with its roots in food sovereignty, agroecological transformations can help climate challenged communities to address the socioeconomic, ecological, political and cultural concerns of the community in a balanced manner, helping the community become resilient and food secure and helping </span></span><a href=""><span><span>nations meet their SDG2030 goals</span></span></a><span><span>. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>The U.N. Food Systems Summit, despite being highly controversial,<sup>21</sup></span></span><span><span> has mainstreamed the concept of food systems — the idea that we need to look holistically at food and agriculture production, processing, marketing and trade to address the multiple socioeconomic, ecological and energy crises. Agroecological transitions seek holistic transformations to the food systems, unlike productivist approaches that have been promoted through 20th century and until recently. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Despite the rhetoric, most of the coalitions that have come out of the Food Systems Summit have continued to promote the same productivist vision, albeit with a focus on improving input use efficiency in terms of labor or agrichemicals. This is clearly visible in two of the </span></span><a href=""><span><span>four initiatives</span></span></a><span><span> highlighted by the U.S. at the U.N. Food Systems Summit: The </span></span><span><span>Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (</span></span><a href=""><span><span>AIM for Climate</span></span></a><span><span><span><span>)</span></span></span></span><span><span> and </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Sustainable Productivity Growth Coalition</span></span></a><span><span>. In 2021, the Food Systems Summit became a space where multiple “solutions” and coalitions were promoted indiscriminately and marginalized </span></span><a href=";LangID=E"><span><span>human rights concerns</span></span></a><span><span>.</span></span><span><span> The summit was perceived as a corporate effort to shift decision making away from one of the most inclusive, multilateral food governance space, the U.N. CFS, as well as a missed opportunity to address the devastating </span></span><a href=""><span><span>impacts of COVID-19 and the underlying causes and governance issues</span></span></a><span><span> in the food systems. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><a href=""><span><span>AIM for Climate</span></span></a><span><span> is an initiative </span></span><a href=""><span><span>announced</span></span></a><span><span> by the U.S. in collaboration with United Arab Emirates well in advance of the Food Systems Summit but promoted during the summit to accelerate global innovation, research and development (R&amp;D) on food systems in support of climate action. As U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack </span></span><a href=""><span><span>put it</span></span></a><span><span><span><span>,</span></span></span></span><span><span> this coalition will promote “voluntary, market based, science driven approaches to climate” as an alternative to the Europe’s </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Farm to Fork Strategy</span></span></a><span><span> that seek to transform their food systems, including through reducing agrichemical use by 50% by 2030. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Another relevant initiative is the </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Coalition for the Transformation of Food Systems through Agroecology</span></span></a><span><span>. According to current members, it seeks to promote HLPE’s 13 agroecology principles, in line with </span></span><a href=""><span><span>a call initiated by the IPES-Food, which IATP endorsed</span></span></a><span><span>. The </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Agroecology Coalition</span></span></a><span><span> has its origins in it the </span></span><a href=""><span><span>controversial U.N. Food Systems Summit</span></span></a><span><span>. It is important to note that the Agroecology Coalition has members with a wide variety of stances on food system transformations. On one hand, it includes members such as the government of France, with its </span></span><a href=""><span><span>4 Pour 1000</span></span></a><span><span>, which advocates for input substitution and carbon sequestration. On the other hand, it has members such as the research network IPES-Food, focused on holistic food system transformation rooted in </span></span><a href=""><span><span>diversified agroecological systems</span></span></a><span><span>. Frontline communities and allied organizations that have successfully advanced agroecology in international policy spaces such as the FAO and CFS </span></span><span><span>are either hesitant to embrace the </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Agroecology Coalition</span></span></a><span><span> or cautiously supportive. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p> </p> <h3 style="margin-bottom: 11px;">17. There are concerns that some institutions and nations are using the term agroecology to mean different things. Is cooptation of agroecology a growing problem? Are there cases where companies/corporations are explicitly using the language of agroecology when they're not really practicing agroecology?</h3> <p>Cooptation of agroecology is a growing problem.<sup>22</sup> Now that agroecology has moved to take a central role in the agenda for transforming agriculture in multilateral food security debates, we see many attempts by corporations, governments and <a href="">agrochemical lobby groups</a> to define agroecology in ways that reflect their concerns and priorities.<sup>23</sup> Those who initially tried dismissing agroecology as “a dead end” now suggest that “agroecology and biotechnology can work hand in hand.”<sup>24</sup></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Others, while not using the term agroecology, try to incorporate select natural farming practices, such as the use of cover crops or minimizing tillage farming and retaining crop residue on soils, that are amenable to industrial monocultures while leaving out other practices that are integral to natural farming (such as <span>eliminating </span><span>the use of pesticides and inorganic fertilizers) but antithetical to productivist approaches. </span>These select practices, known as conservation agriculture and no-till agriculture,<em> </em>are promoted as part of approaches such as Sustainable Intensification (SI), Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) or even regenerative agriculture. In fact, there are a few corporate initiatives around regenerative agriculture. </span></span></span><span><span><span>Some examples include i</span></span></span><span><span><span>nitiatives such as Nestlé's version of </span></span></span><a href=""><span><span>regenerative agriculture</span></span></a><span><span><span>, Unilever’s </span></span></span><a href=""><span><span>Regenerating Nature</span></span></a><span><span><span> and the initiative </span></span></span><a href=""><span><span>to transform dairy farming towards regenerative agriculture</span></span></a><span><span><span> by a global alliance of leading AgriFoodTech companies, such as Yara and Danone, called </span></span></span><a href=""><span><span>Farming for Generations</span></span></a><span><span><span>.<sup>25</sup></span></span></span> <span><span><span>It is against this background that one of the leading civil society initiatives on regenerative agriculture, the U.S.-based Regenerative Organic Alliance, has begun insisting on a </span></span></span><a href=""><span><span>regenerative organic certification</span></span></a><span><span><span> (</span></span></span><span><span><span>Regenerative Organic Certified™). </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>When corporations incorporate minimal changes in farming operations to address climate mitigation obligations, to capture a share in carbon markets or for other financial benefits, those changes cannot be described as contributing to agroecological transformations. Such attempts, with no intention to mitigate the negative impacts of their operations, tend to be extractive with respect to local communities and environment, while agroecology helps create resources for and within a community. </span></span> </span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span><strong><span><span>Agroecological transformations </span></span></strong></span></span></span></h2> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>18. How important is the component of agroecology that addresses political power or transforming power structures in society? </span></span></strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>This question goes to the heart of what agroecology is. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>It is often asked if it is possible to practice agroecology without the food sovereignty component and simply work with nature's processes, i.e., minimizing inputs. Agroecological transformations are not simply about nature’s processes occurring in a vacuum, but rather about recognizing that practitioners of agroecology are embedded in specific socioeconomic, cultural and political locations as they engage in food and agricultural practices. Agroecological transformations are also about having clarity on what you are shifting to — fair, healthy and sustainable food, farm and trade systems that help build revitalized rural communities, healthy people and planet — and how that shift is carried out. It is both about the outcome and about the process: these transformations involve changing power relations between producers and markets, consumers and companies, food system workers and their employers, so to build food democracies.  </span></span> </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Minimizing inputs is a desirable step for farmers seeking to reduce input costs or reduce their environmental footprint, but those steps by themselves do not make for an agroecological transition. To start an agroecological transition, these steps need to be combined with fair wages for farmworkers and fair prices for farmers at the minimum, which could contribute to a fairer economy. Policies and other support from governments would help with such changes, but any such transitions imply political mobilization and have a food sovereignty component.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>19. What kinds of markets, trade agreements and investments enable agroecological transformations to flourish? </span></span></strong>  </span></span></span></h3> <p>Current trade and investment agreements have been designed<span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"> </span></span></span><span><span><span><span><span>to maximize flows of goods and services across borders, not to promote sustainable development. They are oriented towards the market, not food security, public health, parity or sustainability. The current regime often ends up undermining these directly or indirectly. The current trade systems support the myths of “feeding the world” and U.S. farmers being able to export their way to prosperity. In many countries, Green Revolution approaches were promoted in the name of national food security while actually focusing on export-oriented agricultural strategies, externalizing ecological and socioeconomic costs.  </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><a><span><span> </span></span></a></span></span></span>The case of Mexico is an example of how trade agreements could be used to undermine the potential for agroecological transformations. In 2021,<span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"> </span></span></span><span><span><span><span><span>the Mexican government announced </span></span><a href=""><span><span>its plans to eliminate the use of glyphosate</span></span></a><span><span> and imports of GMO corn and cotton by 2024 as part of its broader program for food self-sufficiency. The assertion of national sovereignty could enhance biodiversity and human health. Depending on how it is implemented, it could also be a step in a transition to agroecology. However, U.S. agribusinesses falsely asserted that </span></span><a href=""><span><span>the new rules violate</span></span></a><span><span> provisions in USMCA, a free-trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. IATP’s </span></span><a href=""><span><span>policy brief analyzes the agricultural biotechnology provisions of the USMCA</span></span></a><span><span> to understand what they may require of the parties to the agreement and suggests that this argument does not hold water. Still, future trade commitments based on that language could create new tools for agribusinesses to challenge government actions around pesticides, GMOs, better information for consumers and other steps toward agroecology. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Agroecological transformations require a rethinking of the global trade systems. International peasant organizations, such as the Via Campesina, have long demanded that agriculture be excluded from all trade agreements.</span></span><span><span> However, this could leave a default environment that is not fair to various actors in the food system, given that individuals and nations are interdependent for accessing our food. Given that agroecological transformations of our food systems are necessary, trade rules need to be designed to shelter </span></span><span><span>agroecological food systems from floods of cheap imports produced unsustainably, and to promote (rather than restrict) seed sharing and cooperation. This would mean reforming trade accords so that they prioritize public policies that advance agroecology, climate action and human rights over commercial flows of goods, services and investment. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <hr /><h2>Endnotes </h2> <p><span><span>1. Sustainable food systems are food systems that are: productive and prosperous (to ensure the availability of sufficient food); equitable and inclusive (to ensure access for all people to food and to livelihoods within that system); empowering and respectful (to ensure agency for all people and groups, including those who are most vulnerable and marginalized to make choices and exercise voice in shaping that system); resilient (to ensure stability in the face of shocks and crises); regenerative (to ensure sustainability in all its dimensions); and healthy and nutritious (to ensure nutrient uptake and utilization). Source: HLPE. 2020. Food security and nutrition: building a global narrative towards 2030. A report by the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>2. For a comprehensive review, History and currents of agroecological thought, see chapter 2, pp:41-67 of <a href="">Agroecology: Science and Politics</a>. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>3. Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations. Source: <a href="">Declaration of Nyéléni</a><cite><span>, the first global forum on food sovereignty, Mali, 2007; For a discussion on Food Sovereignty see, </span></cite><em>Pimbert, Michel Towards Food Sovereignty: Reclaiming Autonomous Food Systems, IIED, 2009.</em></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>4. See </span></span><a href=""><span><span>The evolving landscape of agroecological research</span></span></a><span><span>, a network science and bibliometrics based evaluation demonstrating that agroecology has indeed evolved to possess many of the characteristics of an “ecology of [the entire] food system.” </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>5. See section on Methods and processes to define principles, in Agroecological principles and elements and their implications for transitioning to sustainable food systems. A review, at <a href=""></a><span><span>.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>6. The High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the UNCFS was tasked with assessing “Agroecological approaches and other innovations” for their suitability to help sustainable agriculture and food systems transformations that enhance food security and nutrition. See the report here: </span></span><a href=""><em><span><span></span></span></em></a><span><span><em><span><span>.</span></span></em></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>7. See our reflections on the negotiations <a href="">here.</a></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>8. The </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Nyéléni Declaration</span></span></a><span><span> organized by the International Planning Committee on Food Sovereignty defines agroecology as a people-led movement and practice; it says that those processes needs to be respected and supported, rather than led, by sci</span></span><span><span>ence an</span></span><span><span>d policy (and calls on them to stop supporting “forces that destroy.”) </span></span><span><span>See here more on </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Nyeleni process</span></span></a><span><span>. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>9. <span><span>Altieri, M.A. (2000) Agroecology: Principles and Strategies for Designing Sustainable Farming Systems. Hayworth Press, New York. Source: </span></span><span><span>College of Natural Resources: </span></span>University of California, Berkeley.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>10. See a detailed examination of this question on technology and agroecology in the context of CRISPR here <a href="">Can agroecology and CRISPR mix? The politics of complementarity and moving toward technology sovereignty</a><span><span>.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>11. For an extensive discussion on the role of diálogo de saberes in the construction and elaboration of the<br /> food sovereignty paradigm by LVC and in their collective construction of mobilizing frames for resistance and for promoting agroecology, see <a href=""></a><span><span>.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>12. See <a href="">a discussion</a> on organic, agroecological and regenerative agriculture in the context of IATP’s <a href=""><em>Revisiting Crisis By Design </em>series</a><span><span>.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>13. For a detailed critique on dilution of NSOB standards and the developments in responses in the United States, see: <a href=""></a><span><span>.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>14. IFOAM describes </span></span><a href=""><span><span>Organic 3.0</span></span></a><span><span> as a revised understanding of the role of the organic movement, to help develop truly sustainable farming systems and markets based on organic principles. The concept is outcome-based and continuously adaptable to local contexts, but still grounded in clearly defined minimum requirements, and positions organic as a modern, innovative farming system that holistically integrates local and regional contexts. The core of Organic 3.0 is the living relationship between consumers, producers and our environment. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>15. The concept of ecological footprint is especially useful in the context of differentiating agroecological approaches from other approaches. See <a href="">here more on the ecological footprint</a>, proposed by the HLPE report on agroecology as a 4th operational principle (in addition to the three traditional principles: <span><span>improving resource efficiency; strengthening resilience; and securing social equity/responsibility) to </span></span>help assess if a food system is sustainable or not<span><span>. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>16. See HLPE Report #12 for an extensive discussion: <a href=""></a>. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>17. For a 2020 update on the Scaling up Agroecology Initiative with three interrelated areas of work: 1) Cocreation of knowledge and innovation; 2) policy processes including through leveraging existing policy processes and providing technical support; 3) Building connections and supporting networks) see: <a href=""></a><span><span>. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>18. Read: <a href=""></a>.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>19. ZBNF practices can be agroecological or not depending on the details. For an example of ZBNF as agroecological practice, see this <a href="">case study from Tamil Nādu</a><span><span>. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>20. See here <a href="">more on the work</a> through Dynamique pour une Transition Agroécologique au <em><span>Sénégal, (</span></em>DyTAES), an institutional framework built to support policy debates on agroecology transitions and has farmers, consumer organizations, NGOs, local authorities, researchers and private firms as its members. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>21. For a detailed discussion see: <a href="">Dismantling Democracy and Resetting Corporate Control of Food systems</a><span><span>.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>22.</span></span></span></span><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span><span> </span></span></span></span></strong><span style="display: none;"> </span><span><span><span><span>See a detailed discussion: </span></span></span><a href="///C:/Users/Shiney%20Varghese/OneDrive%20-%20iatp/Desktop/Shiney%20Varghese/Is%20Agroecology%20Being%20Co-Opted%20by%20Big%20Ag"><span><span><span>Is Agroecology Being Co-Opted by Big Ag</span></span></span></a><span><span><span>?</span></span></span></span><span style="display: none;"> </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>23. See here, </span></span><a href=""><span><span><span></span></span></span></a> <span><span><span><span>from CropLife</span></span></span></span><span><span><span><span> <span>International</span>. CropLife <span>is</span> an agricultural industry association that lobbies on behalf of its members, pesticides and plant biotechnology corporations such as Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and others. </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>24. Alliance for Science, <a href="">primarily funded</a> by the Bill &amp; Melinda Gates Foundation, seems to lead the public relations effort to undermine <a href="">agroecology advocacy</a> of African organizations through messaging such as <a href="">agroecology is a dead end for Africa</a> and “<a href="">agroecology and bio-technology can work hand in hand</a>.”</span></span></p> <p><span><span>25. According to <a href="">Civil Eats</a> “Over the last few years companies including <a href="">General Mills</a>, Danone, <a href="">Cargill</a>, <a href="">McDonald’s, Target</a>, and <a href="">Land O’Lakes</a> announced plans to advance regenerative agriculture on millions of acres of North American farmland.”</span></span></p> <hr /><h2>Resources</h2> <p>Download a PDF of the <a href="">Q&amp;A</a>. </p> <p>Visit our agroecology hub to <a href="">learn more</a>. </p> <hr /><p> </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-upload field--type-file field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Upload</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf icon-before"><span class="file-icon"><span class="icon glyphicon glyphicon-file text-primary" aria-hidden="true"></span></span><span class="file-link"><a href="" type="application/pdf; length=405954" title="Open file in new window" target="_blank" data-toggle="tooltip" data-placement="bottom">IATP_Agroecology Q and A_2022.pdf</a></span><span class="file-size">396.44 KB</span></span></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-image field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Teaser image</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/media/11505" hreflang="en">Hmong American farmer in California</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 16 Jun 2022 16:45:44 +0000 cecelia brackey 44798 at IATP advocacy advances help for farmers devastated by "forever chemicals” <span>IATP advocacy advances help for farmers devastated by &quot;forever chemicals”</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">cecelia brackey</span></span> <span>Mon, 06/06/2022 - 14:27</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span>Laissez-faire national policy has long allowed sludge from sewage and industrial wastewater to be used as fertilizer on food and feed crops, even though it contains toxic Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and hundreds of other toxic chemicals.</span></span></p></div> Mon, 06 Jun 2022 19:27:53 +0000 cecelia brackey 44793 at The next big (pesticide) thing and protecting farmworker health <span>The next big (pesticide) thing and protecting farmworker health</span> <span><span lang="" about="/about/staff/account/ben-lilliston" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ben Lilliston</span></span> <span>Wed, 05/25/2022 - 15:47</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>One of the tragedies of new pesticide technologies is that the corporate imperative to maximize sales leads to a faster turning of the <a href="">pesticide treadmill</a>. The dependency on more and often more toxic pesticides — rather than any improvement in pest management — is not an irrational farmer decision. U.S.</p></div> Wed, 25 May 2022 20:47:21 +0000 Ben Lilliston 44791 at African community leaders tell Congress: Stop funding African Green Revolution <span>African community leaders tell Congress: Stop funding African Green Revolution</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">cecelia brackey</span></span> <span>Thu, 05/05/2022 - 15:55</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>The following article was originally published by <a href="">Food Tank</a> on May 4, 2022. </em></p> <p>On April 27, three members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee wrote to the co-chairs of the House Appropriations Committee expressing “serious concern about U.S. funding for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).”</p></div> Thu, 05 May 2022 20:55:31 +0000 cecelia brackey 44788 at Nanotechnology-enabled genetically engineered RNA interference pesticides: Socioeconomic context, modes of action and risks <span>Nanotechnology-enabled genetically engineered RNA interference pesticides: Socioeconomic context, modes of action and risks</span> <div class="field field--name-field-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-video-embed-field field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item"><iframe src="/media/oembed?url=https%3A//;max_width=854&amp;max_height=480&amp;hash=ks65Cuip_M_FKaqgO_CRuLjTkGdh4ydTXQ0bILZ5qtY" frameborder="0" allowtransparency width="854" height="480" class="media-oembed-content" title="IATP Nanotechnology Presentation English Version 2022"></iframe> </div> </div> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">cecelia brackey</span></span> <span>Thu, 05/05/2022 - 14:44</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>Watch a recording of a presentation delivered by IATP's Dr. Steve Suppan above titled "Nano-enabled RNAi based pesticides: Modes of Action, risks and regulation."</em></p></div> Thu, 05 May 2022 19:44:49 +0000 cecelia brackey 44783 at First-in-nation "forever chemical” policies become law in Maine <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category has-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <h3 > New laws ban sludge-spreading, phase out PFAS in pesticides, fund health monitoring and financial safety net for farmers devastated by contamination</h3> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/iatp" hreflang="en">IATP</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><strong><span>MINNEAPOLIS—</span></strong><span>In Maine, a coalition of farmers and farm groups, including the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, public health advocates and state legislators worked to enact groundbreaking legislation to stop toxic Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) contamination of farms, food and water. In addition to </span><span><span><a href=";item=8&amp;snum=130%20%20Pesticides%20–%202019%20-"><span>banning sludge-spreading</span></a></span></span><span> and the sale or use of compost derived from sludge, new laws will </span><span><span><a href=";item=4&amp;snum=130"><span>phase out PFAS in pesticides</span></a></span></span><span> and adjuvants by 2030 and in the near term, prohibit PFAS contamination from storage containers.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>The state also established an <a href="">ongoing fund</a> with an initial $60 million appropriation to provide farmers with health monitoring, income replacement for unsaleable contaminated farm products and if necessary, funding buyouts and relocation of irreparably contaminated farms. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>“Maine has been on the front lines of PFAS policy, tackling consequences of a national policy that has allowed contaminated municipal sludge to be spread on farmland with minimal oversight,” said Sharon Treat, IATP senior attorney. “No other state has banned PFAS in pesticides or stopped land-spreading of sludge. The farmer assistance fund is both farsighted and necessary. PFAS contamination can have devastating financial consequences, and farm families and their neighbors face years of uncertainty and health risks that medical monitoring can help address.”</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Pursuant to a 2021 law, Maine is systematically investigating PFAS levels at all 700 locations where sludge and septic waste may have been spread. To date, several hundred drinking water wells and a dozen Maine farms have been found contaminated. Maine Department of Environmental Protection </span><span><span><a href=""><span>maps</span></a></span></span><span> show potentially contaminated sites blanketing the state.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>“Based on Maine’s experience, it is highly likely that PFAS contamination will be found on farms in every state where wastewater sludge has been spread; most states simply haven’t been looking for it,” Treat stated. “It’s time for the federal government to step up and follow Maine’s lead.”</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Federal law currently regulates only pathogens and a handful of heavy metals in sludge out of hundreds of toxic substances, including PFAS, found in these wastes. All 50 states have sludge-spreading programs; according to </span><span><span><a href=""><span>state reports to the Environmental Protection Agency</span></a></span></span><span><span><span>,</span></span></span><span> since 2016, 19.1 billion pounds of sludge have been applied to farm fields. According to the Environmental Working Group, the states that produced the most sludge intended for use on farm fields include California, Florida and Illinois. Because PFAS are so persistent and their complex chemistry can cause them break down into even more harmful compounds over time, contamination of agricultural crops and livestock can be caused by sludge spread many decades in the past. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Maine’s 2022 PFAS legislation follow laws enacted last year phasing out PFAS in consumer products by 2030, setting tougher drinking water standards, and clarifying public and private rights to sue for damages and remediation. </span></span></span></span></p></div> <div class="field field--name-upload field--type-file field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Upload</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf icon-before"><span class="file-icon"><span class="icon glyphicon glyphicon-file text-primary" aria-hidden="true"></span></span><span class="file-link"><a href="" type="application/pdf; length=359188" title="Open file in new window" target="_blank" data-toggle="tooltip" data-placement="bottom">Press Release_IATP_Maine PFAS Pesticide Law_Final.pdf</a></span><span class="file-size">350.77 KB</span></span></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-image field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Teaser image</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/media/11086" hreflang="en">water contaminated with PFAS</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 03 May 2022 16:58:39 +0000 cecelia brackey 44781 at