Major Food, Ag, and Clothing Companies Bring Vision of a Climate-Smart Farm Bill to Congress
Companies to meet with members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and other key lawmakers to discuss five priorities for a 2023 Farm Bill that can help address climate change and modernize the U.S. food system to benefit farmers, consumers, and communities
More than a dozen leading food, agriculture, and clothing companies are taking their case to Capitol Hill this week, calling for a 2023 Farm Bill that equitably builds rural prosperity and supports farmers as they work to address the severe climate-related challenges already facing U.S. farmlands.
Representatives from Bonterra Organic Vineyards, CommonSpirit Health, Danone North America, Gaia Herbs, Ideanomics, Indigo Agriculture, Mars Inc., McDonald’s, Nestlé, New Belgium Brewing, PepsiCo, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Stonyfield Organic, SolecTrac, and VF Corporation will participate Sept. 27 to Sept. 29 in the virtual Farm Bill Hill Days.
Organized by the sustainability nonprofit Ceres, the “Farm Bill Hill Days” will connect the 15 companies in individualized meetings with more than a dozen House and Senate offices from both parties, including members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture. In these meetings, the companies will present their vision of a Farm Bill that advances agricultural resilience against drought, extreme weather, floods, unhealthy soil, and other climate-related challenges.
“Agriculture has the potential to be an important part of the solution to climate change. But to get there, farmers are going to need technical assistance, financial support, and the right risk management tools,” said Britt Lundgren, senior director of sustainability at Stonyfield Farm. “The farm bill represents an important opportunity to make this happen in a way that is equitable and leads to real and lasting change on the ground. We’re joining Ceres’ to bring the voice of businesses who are working alongside farmers to achieve these goals and call for a farm bill that is truly climate smart.”
"VF Corporation relies on our nation's farmers to produce materials that are used in some of the most iconic apparel and footwear products in the world," said Jeannie Renné-Malone, vice president global sustainability, VF Corporation. "The state of U.S. agriculture has widespread impacts and is critical to the supply chains of companies across the economy. As negotiations over the 2023 Farm Bill begin, Congress must ensure it provides the policy support needed to take on the modern challenges facing our farmers."
Ten companies, including Bonterra Organic Vineyards, Danone North America, Indigo Agriculture, Mars Inc., Nestlé, PepsiCo, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Lundberg Family Farms and Stonyfield Organic, also joined a letter to Congress detailing five policy priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill to modernize the U.S. food system to benefit agricultural producers, consumers, communities, and the planet:
- Improve Technical Assistance to ensure all farmers and ranchers, including small farmers and those from underrepresented communities, can access federal programs and third-party expertise that will grow rural development and agricultural resilience;
- Improve existing conservation programs to orient them toward greenhouse gas reduction, water efficiency, biodiversity, and other climate-smart practices;
- Develop new carbon-offset and other climate-smart agricultural marketplaces to expand farmers’ economic opportunities that build crop resilience and benefit their communities;
- Facilitate land access tenure to ensure first-time farmers, young farmers, and farmers from underrepresented communities can access farmland;
- Reform crop insurance to encourage more resilient farming practices.
Many of the participating companies are members of the Ceres Climate-Smart Agriculture and Healthy Soil Working Group, a subset of food and clothing companies from the Ceres BICEP Network, which pushes for ambitious climate and clean energy policy. The Farm Bill Hill Days are the first organized by Ceres, marking one of the largest-ever corporate efforts to engage lawmakers on a climate-smart vision for the Farm Bill, which is renewed every five years.
“The climate crisis is presenting today’s farmers with a new set of challenges, and they need tools and resources to keep their land productive for the nation's benefit. The Farm Bill is the right place to confront these issues and support farmers as the climate leaders we know them to be,” said Cindy Clark, senior manager of regenerative agriculture policy, Ceres. “Major food, agriculture, and clothing companies are especially aware of the way these problems affect supply chains and the entire economy, so they are bringing their voices to Congress this week to make the bipartisan case for an ambitious climate-smart Farm Bill that ensures farmers of all sizes and backgrounds can meet these challenges head-on.”
The Farm Bill Hill Days are modeled on the annual LEAD on Climate events that Ceres has organized over the last four years. Past LEAD—which stands for Lawmaker Education and Advocacy Day—events have connected hundreds of companies with lawmakers from both parties to make the case for ambitious federal climate and clean energy policy, and this year showcased business support for the package that ultimately became the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
Ceres is a nonprofit organization working with the most influential capital market leaders to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. Through our powerful networks and global collaborations of investors, companies and nonprofits, we drive action and inspire equitable market-based and policy solutions throughout the economy to build a just and sustainable future. For more information, visit ceres.org and follow @CeresNews.
Media Contact: Helen Booth-Tobin