US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke On the G-20 Open Discussion board on Sustainable Agriculture Environmental Sustainability Panel Thursday (Sept. 16, 2021) in Florence, Italy. Under are his remarks, as ready for supply.
The world proceeds to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and its social and financial repercussions. The current worldwide state of affairs underscores The want for us To return collectively and act urgently and comprehensively To finish hunger and poverty, face the problems of local climate change head on, and construct extra sustainable, equitable, and resilient meals methods.
I’m reminded of a saying that goes: “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our grandchildren.”
How Can we rise to the problem of concurrently sustaining our planet, sustaining our people, and sustaining the lives and livelihoods of our agricultural producers? It’s time to take a factorary Take A look at how we develop, distribute, and commerce meals, fiber, feed, and gasoline.
To effectively feed a rising world inhabitants, it’s clear that We now Need to scale up manufacturing the placeas minimizing impacts on our pure useful resource base. If We’ll produce extra, the placeas using and polluting much less, we should Decide to creating and deploying new strategies of doing issues in agriculture.
As we set our sights on sustainable productiveness progress, we should proceed to Spfinish money on agricultural evaluation and enhancement To promote extra environment nice and local climate-smart use of pure useful assets in agriculture. By leveraging proof-based mostly innovation and science, collectively with bioknow-how, We will increase the toolbox for farmers, fishers, foresters, and completely different producers To reinforce sustainability and resilience all by way of meals methods.
However innovation is about Greater than merely science and know-how. It’s additionally about embracing a round financial system and market-focused strategyes to sustainability. It’s about methods and options That are good for farmers, good for consumers, good for our communities, and good for our planet.
At USDA, We’re Taking A look at alternatives to increase the voluntary adoption of practices that put agriculture On The center of tackling local climate change and fostering sustainability. We’re taking a multi-pronged strategy that cowls evaluation, outreach and education, conservation incentives for farmers and foresters by way of current packages, and assist Of latest markets for environmental advantages generated by the agricultural sector.
An factor of The important rethinking of our ag and meals methods includes shifting from a lishut to to a round financial system, the place We aren’t simply extracting and consuming finite useful assets However in addition regenerating them in a sustainable matter. What does That Seem as if?
On the manufacturing facet, Lots of our farmers, ranchers, and foresters are already paving The biggest method and demonstrating The advantages of regenerative agricultural practices. Things like enhancing soil well being to enhance carbon retention and scale again nutrient leaching, planting cowl crops that assist repair nitrogen and set up biomass, reusing and recycling water and wastewater, and altering livestock waste to power by way of methane digestion.
We should assist and incentivize such practices – not solely as a Outcome of That is an environmental alternative, but as a Outcome of it’s additionally a market alternative. It’s what consumers want – and what farmers, and our planet, want.
USDA is working to increase home and worldwide markets for commodities produced in local climate-frifinishly, sustainable strategies, As properly as to for bio-based mostly merchandise. We’re Taking A look at markets for carbon advantages generated by the agricultural sector. We’re additionally working in the direction of inexperienced rural infrastructure to scale renewable power on and from farms, To Reduce power use and prices in rural communities, and to develop the biofinancial system.
While doing so, We’re paying particular consideration to collectively with entry by small, disadvantaged, and starting farmers and ranchers, Together with these early adopters Who’ve paved The biggest method and showd the agronomic and societal advantages of agricultural conservation.
As we converse about The tactic to stability the environmental, financial, and social facets of sustainability, we’d be remiss if we didn’t additionally acknowledge the significance of open markets and commerce. Well-functioning markets On the native, regional, and worldwide ranges bolster meals safety and sustainable meals methods. They’re additionally key to developing income alternatives, stabilizing meals current, making sure meals affordability, minimizing meals loss and waste, and enhancing dietary variety and vitamin.
We look forward to the day As quickly as we have commerce agreements that take away unfair obstacles to commerce and reign in In all probability the most distorting – and environmentally damaging – Kinds of subsidies.
For proper now, we acknowledge many nations share our goals on sustainable and local climate-smart manufacturing. It is important that we encourage The event of markets for these merchandise and guard Once against commerce obstacles that discriminate Once against particular manufacturing practices even when the system is delivering constructive outcomes.
As I wrap up, I even Need to spotlight two shut to-time period alternatives for all G20 members – and your meals methods stakeholders – to show your dedication to sustainable agricultural manufacturing and local climate options.
First, On the Food Systems Summit subsequent week, America Shall be advancing A mannequin new coalition To assist elevate sustainable productiveness progress as a strategic movement precedence. We should get collectively and get behind movement for productiveness progress that advances social, financial, and environmental goals – and The mannequin new Coalition of Action for Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation is A method To Do this.
I additionally urge you To hitch America and the United Arab Emirates as half of the Agricultural Innovation Mission for Climate, or AIM4C, which Shall be superior On the Food Systems Summit subsequent week and launched On the COP26 in November. This Is usually a landmark initiative to velocity up worldwide agricultural innovation by way of elevated funding in evaluation and enhancement, Ensuing in revolutionary, science-based mostly options To assist agriculture mitigate and adapt to local climate change.
In closing, I even Need to emphasize Once again that by embracing and investing in innovation in all its types, by making sure That Every one meals methods stakeholders – collectively with agricultural producers – have a say in creating options, by facilitating commerce, and by forming coalitions to take movement on key environmental and local climate considerations, We will And might make a distinction.
We as Agriculture Ministers have An unimaginable alternative. Let’s take it – and let’s work collectively to return the Earth to Our youngsters in higher situation than we borrowed it.