North Carolina farmers are monitoring a bill that’s been revived in Congress, aimed at improving farm sustainability and reducing the agriculture industry’s contributions to climate change.
The Agriculture Resilience Act, which has been inactive since 2019, lays out plans to achieve net-zero emissions from agriculture by 2040.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, farming is responsible for about 11% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Lotanna Obodozie, Climate Campaign director for the National Young Farmers Coalition, said her group hopes the bill gives farmers more access to the resources they need to increase sustainability.
“Farmers are experiencing a lot of barriers when trying to use or apply for USDA programs,” said Obodozie, “and so I think that is a challenge that farmers could face.”
Agriculture is a $92 billion part of the North Carolina economy.
The bill focuses on assisting farmers in adopting eco-friendly practices and would fund research into cutting-edge farming methods. The previous bill was co-sponsored by North Carolina U.S. Rep. Alma Adams – D-Charlotte.
The legislation also includes measures to address social-justice issues in farming communities. It outlines ways to support minority-owned farms and promote equitable access to resources like land and water.
Obodozie said this focus is needed to bridge gaps in agriculture across the nation.
“One thing that’s really important is just how can we make sure that these programs are accessible for all farmers,” said Obodozie. “Not just large farmers, but also small farmers, beginning farmers, farmers of color, and other historically disadvantaged farmers.”
There’s some talk of adding this legislation into the Farm Bill now being hammered out in Congress.
In North Carolina, over 45,000 farms span more than eight million acres, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
This story was written by Shanteya Hudson, a producer at Public News Service, where this story first appeared.