US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance Launches Short Film as Start of Movement to Create Sustainable Food Systems
The Challenge of a Generation: “30 Harvests” Takes a Look at Farmers’ Role in Combatting Climate Change
The US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) has unveiled a new film that highlights the urgency needed in the fight against climate change. Despite uncertain economic times, farmers are front and center as the agents for change in “30 Harvests.”
“The next 30 years are the most important in the history of agriculture. Food production will need to increase by 70% to feed the world by 2050. How do we nourish a growing population while our farmable land is shrinking?” said Erin Fitzgerald, CEO, USFRA. “30 Harvests captures the passion and hope that our farmers have in providing a dependable source of healthy food while addressing economic and environmental concerns for current and future generations.”
The docudrama follows the plight of farmer Jay Hill of Dell City, Texas, and farmer and soil scientist Meagan Kaiser of Bowling Green, Missouri. In the short film, they articulate the challenges farmers face while embracing the opportunity to meet the increasing demands for food, and ultimately help solve one of the greatest challenges of this generation: climate change.
“As farmers, we need to let the world know that we’re on the front lines of climate change,” said Hill. “If you think that we’re not scared of a changing environment, then you’ve got it wrong.”
Thirty harvests quantifies the crop cycles left before 2050, the year the global population is expected to be 9 billion people. According to American Farmland Trust, the U.S. loses 175 acres of farmland every hour, mostly to urban encroachment. Additionally, the U.S. Global Change Research Program reports that the effects of climate change are already being felt, with increases in average temperature, extreme heat conditions, heavy rainfall, droughts and extreme weather events contributing to excessive runoff, flooding, and soil erosion, loss of soil carbon and reduce the availability and quality of water. However, agricultural soils have the capacity to capture and store carbon, making every acre of farmland more important than most ever believed, and putting farmers and ranchers in a position to be the change makers.
“30 Harvests is just one story. There are hundreds – thousands – of other stories about how farmers are continually innovating and evolving with climate smart agricultural practices, even in a tough economic environment,” said Kaiser.
USFRA is convening leaders in the agriculture and food value chain to create a strategic roadmap to meet the challenges of the next decade of nourishing an unprecedented population while enhancing the environment on which we all rely and benefit from.
“This is a call to leaders in food, finance and science to be part of the solution to co- create sustainable food systems with U.S. farmers and ranchers,” said Fitzgerald. “We’re starting with climate change and how we can pull down carbon on our farms. Our hope is that one day soon, we can be the first sector in our country that is carbon neutral and over time, helping offset for other sectors.”
“30 Harvests” is available to view at www.usfarmersandranchers.org.
U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) represents farmer and rancher-led organizations, and food and agricultural partners, with a common vision to further our global sustainable food systems. We believe farmers uniquely contribute to nourishing our planet, people, and natural resources. Our focus is creating a proactive collaboration between the best minds in food, agriculture, science, and technology to co-create solutions that will result in environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Learn more at www.usfarmersandranchers.org.
“Farmers and ranchers are on the front lines in the battle against climate change, providing a dependable source of healthy food while addressing economic and environmental concerns for current and future generations. This is a call to leaders in food, finance and science to be part of the solution with U.S. farmers and ranchers.”
– Erin Fitzgerald,
Chief Executive Officer
The docudrama follows the plight of farmer Jay Hill of Dell City, Texas, and farmer and soil scientist Meagan Kaiser of Bowling Green, Missouri. In this film, they articulate the challenges farmers face while embracing the opportunity to meet the increasing demands to create sustainable food systems through the next 30 harvests, and ultimately help solve the greatest challenge of this generation: climate change.
This film is inspired by true events in the lives of farmers Jay Hill and Meagan Kaiser.
Canadian Federation of Agriculture Awarded $560,000 for Single Portal Sustainability Sourcing
Canadian Federation of Agriculture Awarded $560,000 for Single Portal Sustainability Sourcing
Green certifications have become increasingly important in the food industry, as consumers look for confirmation that their food is being produced and processed in an environmentally friendly manner. In Canada, there has been a recent movement of concerned consumers looking for more transparency within the food industry. Organizations like Food Secure Canada advocate for a better food system that improves the connection between health, sustainability and agriculture.
In February 2020, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food stated that the Canadian Federation of Agriculture would invest in a new sustainability initiative. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture is the largest farm organization in Canada, representing over 200,000 farms. The organization has played a critical role in advancing environmental sustainability practices within the food industry.
The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative (CASI) will work with farmers, manufacturers, food processors and retailers to improve transparency in the Canadian food system. The initiative will promote sustainability through an integrated process that depends on data and collaboration to transform the food industry and improve relations with consumers.
The Canadian Food System
Canada is one of the top five exporters of food in the world. The Canadian agriculture and agri-food system generates over $100 billion in sales annually and employs over 2 million people. The agricultural food system is a significant player in Canada’s economic wealth and stability. However, like other large agricultural exporters — such as the United States — Canada has faced recent scrutiny over their production practices. Many large-scale and industrialized agriculture productions are harmful to the environment and detrimental to human health.
With such a large proportion of Canadian food exported, many domestic consumers distrust the public policies that lack transparency over the industry’s environmental impact and unsafe production practices. With the creation of the Candian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative, the federal government hopes to facilitate improved sustainability throughout the food industry.
The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative
The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative includes a federal investment of $560,000. These funds will go toward the creation of an online forum that advances the analytic capabilities of producers and farmers. By creating a new network around sustainability, the project hopes to track the progress of sustainable practices in the Canadian food industry.
The initiative will also help producers and processors work together to certify products with sustainability labels that consumers are looking for. The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative will rely on data analytics and real-time analysis of food production and processing to find solutions to unsustainable issues. From a consumer standpoint, it will increase trust in the use of food labels and regulate claims regarding the quality of various products.
Sustainability in the Agri-Food Industry
Canada’s agricultural system relies on the production of corn, potatoes, soybeans and commodity grains like wheat. Western parts of Canada have a higher production of beef, while the Eastern side focuses more on poultry. Unlike other top food exporters, Canada has been steadily growing the organic aspect of their production processes at a rate of 20% per year.
However, the percentage of land utilized for organic farming is meager — around 1.8 percent in 2017. Despite this, organic products still valued around $5.4 billion in both domestic and exported goods.
With such an economic reliance on the agricultural industry, the farm community, consumers and other concerned citizens are working together to ensure they manage Canadian soil more responsibly. According to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, solutions like climate change research, bioeconomic strategy and the continuation of research and innovation within the industry will be key to future success.
Improving the Future of Canadian Agriculture
With this new initiative in place, agriculturists can have more confidence in growing organic products. Consumers, too, will be able to put their trust in the food industry, knowing the food they’re purchasing was grown sustainably.
Watch: Edible Cotton and GMO Science Improve Agricultural Sustainability
Too many people see GMOs as anti-environment when they were produced to do the exact opposite. By doing things like reducing spraying or crop losses due to pests or weather, GMO cotton offers significant advantages over Non-GMO forms. Now that scientists have found ways to make the seeds edible by silencing cotton’s natural pesticide production in the seeds only, and now that this technology has been approved by the FDA, the sustainability advantage of GMO cotton will be improved even further.