NEW POLL: Farmers Want Congress to Protect Climate-Smart Agriculture in Farm Bill

Farm Journal survey shows more than two-thirds of U.S. farmers and ranchers believe conservation funding is important to build farms’ resilience, address the effects of climate change.

Lenexa, Kan., (June 12, 2024) – A new Farm Journal poll conducted on behalf of Invest in Our Land across 10 leading agricultural states shows that American farmers and ranchers overwhelmingly believe conservation funding has an important role to play in building their operations’ resilience to increasingly extreme weather and addressing the effects of climate change.

The poll — which surveyed 1,019 farmers, ranchers and producers across Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, South Dakota, Michigan, Montana, and Wisconsin — also revealed that, by a double-digit margin, farmers and ranchers want Congress to protect $20 billion in conservation funding originally authorized by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and ensure those funds remain dedicated to climate-smart practices in the upcoming Farm Bill.

Commissioned by Invest in Our Land and conducted by Farm Journal’s Trust In Food initiative, the survey shows that:

  • A supermajority of farmers believe conservation funding has an important role to play in building farms’ resilience to extreme weather and addressing the impacts of climate change. 85% of respondents said that conservation funding plays an important role in helping farmers and ranchers adapt in the face of increasingly extreme weather. Similarly, two-thirds (67%) said that conservation funding plays an important role in protecting our planet from the effects of our changing climate.
  • Two-thirds of farmers say conservation programs increase farms’ resilience to extreme weather. 66% of respondents said they agree that conservation programs “help farmers implement practices and make on-farm upgrades that can increase operational resilience in the event of extreme weather events (such as droughts, floods, etc.)”
  •  6 in 10 farmers support the IRA’s investment in conservation funding. Sixty percent of respondents indicated that they support the IRA’s $20 billion investment in agricultural conservation programs. By contrast, only 18% oppose this investment.
  • Farmers oppose removing climate-smart requirements from IRA conservation funding by a double-digit margin. 41% of respondents said they would oppose congressional efforts to remove the requirement that the $20 billion in IRA conservation funding be directed only toward conservation practices that have proven to be more effective in reducing carbon emissions (the so-called “climate guardrails”), while only 28% said they would support such an action — representing a 13-point margin in favor of keeping the dollars dedicated to climate-smart conservation. (24% of respondents had no opinion.)

Toplines are available here.

In 2022, Congress made a historic investment through the IRA to help America’s farmers and ranchers adopt tried-and-tested conservation practices that boost their businesses and strengthen their farms for the long haul. In 2023 alone, demand by farmers for conservation programs exceeded the additional funding allocated to them.

Farm Bill reauthorization is underway now, which could affect these programs. The House Committee on Agriculture recently reported out a bill that diverts funds away from climate-smart conservation practices.

“Nobody works harder than the American farmer. But right now, many of them are facing serious challenges — including drought, floods, and other increasingly extreme weather that not only threatens our farmers’ livelihoods today, but also puts the future of their farms and their families at risk,” said Joe Hack, spokesperson for Invest in Our Land. “The data is clear: America’s farmers and ranchers know firsthand that climate-smart conservation funding is a crucial tool in helping their farms weather these storms, along with other impacts of a changing climate. As Congress continues to work on these issues in the weeks ahead, we encourage them to continue to listen to the voices of our hard-working farmers and protect climate-smart conservation in the Farm Bill.”

“Time and again, we see U.S. farmers and ranchers stepping up to be good stewards of our nation’s land, air, and water. What this data tells us is that they consider the Farm Bill’s conservation programs to be an important tool in helping them meet these goals,” said Amy Skoczlas Cole, President of Trust In Food at Farm Journal. “While the private sector is increasingly involved in climate-smart agriculture, our experience is that the USDA conservation programs play a steadying and reliable role in helping farmers manage a changing market environment.”

Farmers and ranchers across the country are facing serious challenges, from plummeting profits to skyrocketing costs to increasingly extreme weather. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, major disasters and extreme weather events — such as drought, floods, and wildfires — caused over $21 billion in crop losses for American farmers and ranchers in 2023 alone.

This new survey shows that farmers and ranchers want to address these issues in the Farm Bill — and they see climate-smart conservation as a key tool for doing so.

About Farm Journal

Farm Journal is the nation’s leading business information and media company serving the agricultural market. Started 147 years ago with the preeminent Farm Journal magazine, the company serves the row crop, livestock, produce and retail sectors through branded websites, eNewsletters and phone apps; business magazines; live events including conferences, seminars and tradeshows; nationally broadcast television and radio programs; a robust mobile-text-marketing business; and an array of data-driven, paid information products. Farm Journal is also the majority shareholder of the online equipment marketplace, Machinery Pete LLC. Trust In Food is a Farm Journal division dedicated to accelerating the adoption of climate-smart and regenerative agriculture in ways that work for producers and enhance connection to consumers. In 2010, the company established the non-profit, public charity, Farm Journal Foundation, dedicated to sustaining agriculture’s ability to meet the vital needs of a growing population through education and empowerment.

About Trust In Food
Trust In Food is a purpose-driven division of Farm Journal dedicated to mainstreaming and accelerating the transition to more sustainable and regenerative ag practices, making every dollar invested in conservation agriculture more impactful. We bring business intelligence to agricultural production behavior change: helping farmers understand, value and feel capable of undertaking practice change through data science, social research and strategic communications deployed through the omnichannel Farm Journal platform in collaboration with our partners. Visit www.trustinfood.com to learn more.

About Invest in Our Land: Invest in Our Land is an organization that elevates the voices of farmers across the country to educate their fellow Americans about the importance of safeguarding the future of U.S. farms.

For more information regarding this or other information, please visit our contact us page.

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