[X] CLOSEMAIN MENU

  • Archives

  • Categories

    • air pollution (8)
    • Announcements (601)
    • Antibiotic Resistance (40)
    • Antimicrobial (17)
    • Aquaculture (30)
    • Aquatic Organisms (35)
    • Bats (7)
    • Beneficials (51)
    • Biofuels (6)
    • Biological Control (34)
    • Biomonitoring (40)
    • Birds (26)
    • btomsfiolone (1)
    • Bug Bombs (2)
    • Canada (10)
    • Cannabis (29)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (9)
    • Chemical Mixtures (5)
    • Children (112)
    • Children/Schools (240)
    • cicadas (1)
    • Climate (30)
    • Climate Change (85)
    • Clover (1)
    • compost (5)
    • Congress (17)
    • contamination (154)
    • deethylatrazine (1)
    • Disinfectants & Sanitizers (18)
    • Drift (14)
    • Drinking Water (15)
    • Ecosystem Services (12)
    • Emergency Exemption (3)
    • Environmental Justice (166)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (515)
    • Events (88)
    • Farm Bill (20)
    • Farmworkers (195)
    • Forestry (5)
    • Fracking (4)
    • Fungal Resistance (6)
    • Fungicides (25)
    • Goats (2)
    • Golf (15)
    • Greenhouse (1)
    • Groundwater (14)
    • Health care (32)
    • Herbicides (38)
    • Holidays (37)
    • Household Use (9)
    • Indigenous People (6)
    • Indoor Air Quality (6)
    • Infectious Disease (4)
    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (71)
    • Invasive Species (35)
    • Label Claims (49)
    • Lawns/Landscapes (248)
    • Litigation (341)
    • Livestock (9)
    • men’s health (1)
    • metabolic syndrome (3)
    • Metabolites (4)
    • Microbiata (22)
    • Microbiome (28)
    • molluscicide (1)
    • Nanosilver (2)
    • Nanotechnology (54)
    • National Politics (388)
    • Native Americans (3)
    • Occupational Health (15)
    • Oceans (10)
    • Office of Inspector General (3)
    • perennial crops (1)
    • Pesticide Drift (162)
    • Pesticide Efficacy (10)
    • Pesticide Mixtures (9)
    • Pesticide Regulation (775)
    • Pesticide Residues (183)
    • Pets (36)
    • Plant Incorporated Protectants (1)
    • Plastic (7)
    • Poisoning (20)
    • Preemption (43)
    • President-elect Transition (2)
    • Repellent (4)
    • Resistance (117)
    • Rights-of-Way (1)
    • Rodenticide (33)
    • Seasonal (3)
    • Seeds (6)
    • soil health (16)
    • Superfund (4)
    • synergistic effects (19)
    • Synthetic Pyrethroids (16)
    • Synthetic Turf (3)
    • Take Action (588)
    • Textile/Apparel/Fashion Industry (1)
    • Toxic Waste (11)
    • Volatile Organic Compounds (1)
    • Women’s Health (25)
    • Wood Preservatives (36)
    • World Health Organization (10)
    • Year in Review (2)
  • Most Viewed Posts

Daily News Blog

24
Apr

Call for Farm Bill with Organic, Restoration and Resilience without Petrochemicals, and Native Ecosystem Support

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2023) It is well-known that trees and other plants help fight climate change by sequestering carbon in their wood and roots—especially when they are allowed to grow continuously. However, plants help in other ways as well. 

Plants—especially trees—also moderate the climate through their participation in the water cycle. And when the weather is hot and dry, they hold the soil, preventing dust bowl conditions. In the 1930’s, the U.S. Forest Service, Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Works Progress Administration, together with local farmers, planted more than 220 million trees, developing 18,000 miles of windbreaks on the Great Plains. Unfortunately, those windbreaks are now endangered by the same economic impetus that helped create the Dust Bowl—making more room for economically valuable crops. 

Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to address climate change in the Farm Bill by incorporating a large-scale, national transition to certified organic agriculture and restoration and resilience strategies that prohibit the use of petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers. Tell Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack to implement the NOSB recommendation to remove incentives to convert native ecosystems to organic farms.   

Organic farming helps resist climate change in several ways. Regenerative organic farming sequesters carbon in the soil. Organic farming does not rely on synthetic fertilizers that release nitrous oxide, which is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Finally, organic producers are required to conserve biodiversity, which involves preserving elements of natural ecosystems. Unfortunately, however, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has yet to implement the recommendation of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to remove incentives to convert native ecosystems to organic farms. 

Dating back to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s, which addressed threats posed by the Great Depression and drought, the Farm Bill is an omnibus bill passed every five years. It is designed to secure a sufficient food supply, establish fair food prices for both farmers and consumers, and protect the soil and other natural resources on which farmers depend. Although the Farm Bill now covers many areas—ranging from the supplemental nutritional assistance program (SNAP) to trade—over its history, conservation has been a major concern addressed in the bill. This year, incorporating climate-friendly provisions is more urgent than ever. 

Moving forward: 

  • Congress must incorporate into the Farm Bill support for a national transition to organic farming, incentives to build soil health and eliminate dependence on petrochemical inputs, disincentives for removing trees and native vegetation, and incentives to plant hedgerows and shelterbelts.
  • USDA must implement the NOSB recommendation to remove incentives to convert native ecosystems to organic farms. Currently, organic farmers transitioning from nonorganic practices must wait three years before selling products as organic, while farmers who bulldoze forests can sell organic products immediately. 

U.S. Representatives and Senators are developing bills for incorporation in the Farm Bill. So far, the Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA) includes the provisions and investments to ensure the long-term viability of our farms and food system, and the Protect the West Act calls for a $60 billion investment in the region’s forests, grasslands, and watersheds, with the aim of preventing another Dust Bowl. These bills are not perfect—the ARA avoids mentioning organic agriculture, and the Protect the West Act advances “restoration and resilience,” but contains unqualified support for control of invasive species without mandating restrictions on petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers.

Needless to say, without these critical restrictions, we will see ongoing and increasing dependency on toxic chemicals that contribute to health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency. We must advocate with those ready to consider a Farm Bill that addresses climate change clear stipulations to eliminate use of fossil fuel-based pesticides and fertilizers.

Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to address climate change in the Farm Bill by incorporating a large-scale, national transition to certified organic agriculture and restoration and resilience strategies that prohibit the use of petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers. Tell Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack to implement the NOSB recommendation to remove incentives to convert native ecosystems to organic farms. 

Action targets are the U.S. Congress and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Letter to U.S. Representative and Senators:

Agriculture both contributes to climate change and suffers from its impacts. As the 2023 Farm Bill is developed, it is important that it contain provisions to mitigate climate change and adopt restoration and resilience strategies prohibiting the use of petrochemicals—with dramatically increased support for conversion to organic land management and strict protection of native ecosystems.

Although trees and other plants help fight climate change by sequestering carbon in their tissues, they help in other ways as well.

Plants—especially trees—also moderate the climate through their participation in the water cycle. And when the weather is hot and dry, they hold the soil, preventing dust bowl conditions. In the 1930’s, 18,000 miles of windbreaks were planted on the Great Plains. Unfortunately, those windbreaks are now endangered by the same economic impetus that helped create the Dust Bowl—making more room for economically valuable crops.

Organic farming helps resist climate change by sequestering carbon in the soil;, eliminating reliance on synthetic fertilizers that release nitrous oxide (300 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas); and conserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems. Unfortunately, however, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has yet to implement the recommendation of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to remove incentives to convert native ecosystems to organic farms. Currently, organic farmers transitioning from nonorganic practices must wait three years before selling products as organic, while farmers who bulldoze forests can sell organic products immediately.

Dating back to the New Deal of the 1930s, which addressed threats posed by the Great Depression and drought, the Farm Bill is an omnibus bill passed every five years. It now covers many areas—ranging from the supplemental nutritional assistance program (SNAP) to trade—but conservation has always been a of major importance in the bill. This year, incorporating climate-friendly provisions is more urgent than ever.

Congress must incorporate into the Farm Bill support for a national transition to organic farming, incentives to build soil health and reduce farm use of petrochemical inputs, disincentives for removing trees and native vegetation, and incentives to plant hedgerows and shelterbelts.

Some bills developed for incorporation in the Farm Bill address issues affecting climate. The Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA) includes provisions and investments to ensure the long-term viability of our farms and food system; the Protect the West Act calls for a $60 billion investment in the region’s forests, grasslands, and watersheds, with the aim of preventing another Dust Bowl. These bills are not perfect—the ARA avoids mentioning organic agriculture, and the Protect the West Act advances “restoration and resilience,” but contains unqualified support for control of invasive species without mandating restrictions on petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers that are critical to reduce dependency on toxic chemicals that contribute to health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency.

As you consider a Farm Bill that addresses climate change, please establish clear requirements to eliminate use of fossil fuel-based pesticides and fertilizers in any provisions advancing important restoration and resilience practices.

Please advocate for a Farm Bill that promotes a large-scale, national transition to certified organic farming (which contains incentives to build soil health and eliminates dependence on petrochemical inputs) and includes disincentives for removing trees and native vegetation and incentives to plant hedgerows and shelterbelts.

Please tell USDA to implement the NOSB recommendation to remove incentives to convert native ecosystems to organic farms.

Thank you.

Letter to Secretary Vilsack:

In 2018, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) voted nearly unanimously to protect native ecosystems. It sought to change the current perverse regulation that incentivizes the immediate destruction of native ecosystems and conversion to organic production as a cheaper and faster option than transitioning existing conventional farmland over a three-year period. It is now time for the National Organic Program (NOP) to take action to protect the integrity of the seal and help reverse the biodiversity crisis and reduce global warming.

Protecting native ecosystems slows climate change, something the Biden Administration and organic consumers care deeply about, but NOP regulations will continue to contribute to the problem until the NOP makes this regulatory change. Native ecosystems store carbon in woody plants, in the soil’s duff layer and its deeper horizons. Native grassland and forest soils contain 20 to 50 tons of organic carbon per acre in about the top three feet of soil. When land is converted from a natural ecosystem to cropland, 30 to 50 percent of soil carbon is lost to the atmosphere over a 50-year period. Conversion of forests causes larger losses of carbon from woody biomass, especially if the land is burned before being cropped—up to 75 percent of organic carbon is lost in 25 years when a tropical forest is cleared. It also causes disruption of the water cycle that exacerbates climate change.

Destroying native ecosystems is more than a national issue; it is international. We are in the middle of a 6th mass extinction. In the last 50 years, animal populations worldwide have declined by almost 70%. With this proposed regulation, the NOP can address biodiversity loss and climate change, while maximizing co-benefits. Ecosystems help regulate floods, enhance water quality, reduce soil erosion, and ensure pollination and pest control. Overexploitation of natural resources has led to changes in climate and the biodiversity crisis, and the NOP needs to now be part of the solution.

The NOSB recommended that the National Organic Program (NOP) add the following definition to §205.200:

Native Ecosystems: Native ecosystems can be recognized in the field as retaining both dominant and characteristic plant species as described by established classifications of natural vegetation. These will tend to be on lands that have not been previously cultivated, cleared, drained or otherwise irrevocably altered. However, they could include areas that have recovered expected plant species and structure.

It also recommended that the NOP add the following language to §205.200 General:

(a) A site supporting a native ecosystem cannot be certified for organic production as provided for under this regulation for a period of 10 years from the date of conversion.

The recommended regulations allow native ecosystems to be used in organic production, including low-impact grazing, mushrooms, maple syrup production, and other kinds of wild crop harvesting.

Organic consumers are distressed to learn that the NOP rules incentivize native ecosystem destruction. Organic farmers do not think it is fair that this loophole allows immediate certification, when many have complied with a three-year requirement to transition conventional land. 

The Organic Farming Production Act (OFPA) states that the NOP must ensure standards are consistent throughout. NOP claims that it “conserve(s) biodiversity” and “ecological balance” over 300 different times on its website, while it incentivizes the conversion of native ecosystems to organic production. The NOP is charged with making sure the organic market stays strong, but it is undermining consumer confidence with its inaction.

Please immediately initiate rulemaking to remove the incentive to convert native ecosystems to organic farms.

Thank you.

Share

One Response to “Call for Farm Bill with Organic, Restoration and Resilience without Petrochemicals, and Native Ecosystem Support”

  1. 1
    Jacoby Johnson Says:

    I was delighted to come across your article titled “Call for Farm Bill with Organic Restoration and Resilience without Petrochemicals and Native Ecosystem Support.” The content resonated with me as it highlights the importance of prioritizing organic farming practices, reducing reliance on petrochemicals, and supporting native ecosystems within the framework of the Farm Bill.

    The article adeptly discusses the need for a shift in agricultural policies to promote organic farming as a means of restoring and building resilience in our food systems. Emphasizing sustainable and regenerative practices can not only enhance soil health and biodiversity but also reduce the harmful impacts of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers on human health and the environment.

    I appreciate how the article acknowledges the interconnectedness between organic farming, ecological restoration, and the health of our native ecosystems. By promoting organic agriculture, we can protect and support native plants, pollinators, and wildlife that are vital for ecosystem health and the sustainability of our food production systems.

    Furthermore, the article’s call to reduce the use of petrochemicals in agriculture aligns with the growing understanding of the detrimental effects of these chemicals on the environment, including air and water pollution, soil degradation, and climate change. Emphasizing alternatives to petrochemical-based inputs, such as organic fertilizers and biological pest management, can contribute to a more sustainable and resilient agricultural system.

    Advocating for these principles within the framework of the Farm Bill is crucial for driving meaningful change and fostering a transition towards more sustainable and ecologically sound agricultural practices. By supporting organic restoration and resilience, we can create healthier food systems, protect our natural resources, and promote the well-being of farmers, communities, and future generations.

    Thank you for raising awareness about the need for a Farm Bill that embraces organic farming, reduces reliance on petrochemicals, and supports native ecosystems. I hope that policymakers and stakeholders take these calls to heart and work towards a more sustainable and resilient agricultural future.

Leave a Reply

  • Archives

  • Categories

    • air pollution (8)
    • Announcements (601)
    • Antibiotic Resistance (40)
    • Antimicrobial (17)
    • Aquaculture (30)
    • Aquatic Organisms (35)
    • Bats (7)
    • Beneficials (51)
    • Biofuels (6)
    • Biological Control (34)
    • Biomonitoring (40)
    • Birds (26)
    • btomsfiolone (1)
    • Bug Bombs (2)
    • Canada (10)
    • Cannabis (29)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (9)
    • Chemical Mixtures (5)
    • Children (112)
    • Children/Schools (240)
    • cicadas (1)
    • Climate (30)
    • Climate Change (85)
    • Clover (1)
    • compost (5)
    • Congress (17)
    • contamination (154)
    • deethylatrazine (1)
    • Disinfectants & Sanitizers (18)
    • Drift (14)
    • Drinking Water (15)
    • Ecosystem Services (12)
    • Emergency Exemption (3)
    • Environmental Justice (166)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (515)
    • Events (88)
    • Farm Bill (20)
    • Farmworkers (195)
    • Forestry (5)
    • Fracking (4)
    • Fungal Resistance (6)
    • Fungicides (25)
    • Goats (2)
    • Golf (15)
    • Greenhouse (1)
    • Groundwater (14)
    • Health care (32)
    • Herbicides (38)
    • Holidays (37)
    • Household Use (9)
    • Indigenous People (6)
    • Indoor Air Quality (6)
    • Infectious Disease (4)
    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (71)
    • Invasive Species (35)
    • Label Claims (49)
    • Lawns/Landscapes (248)
    • Litigation (341)
    • Livestock (9)
    • men’s health (1)
    • metabolic syndrome (3)
    • Metabolites (4)
    • Microbiata (22)
    • Microbiome (28)
    • molluscicide (1)
    • Nanosilver (2)
    • Nanotechnology (54)
    • National Politics (388)
    • Native Americans (3)
    • Occupational Health (15)
    • Oceans (10)
    • Office of Inspector General (3)
    • perennial crops (1)
    • Pesticide Drift (162)
    • Pesticide Efficacy (10)
    • Pesticide Mixtures (9)
    • Pesticide Regulation (775)
    • Pesticide Residues (183)
    • Pets (36)
    • Plant Incorporated Protectants (1)
    • Plastic (7)
    • Poisoning (20)
    • Preemption (43)
    • President-elect Transition (2)
    • Repellent (4)
    • Resistance (117)
    • Rights-of-Way (1)
    • Rodenticide (33)
    • Seasonal (3)
    • Seeds (6)
    • soil health (16)
    • Superfund (4)
    • synergistic effects (19)
    • Synthetic Pyrethroids (16)
    • Synthetic Turf (3)
    • Take Action (588)
    • Textile/Apparel/Fashion Industry (1)
    • Toxic Waste (11)
    • Volatile Organic Compounds (1)
    • Women’s Health (25)
    • Wood Preservatives (36)
    • World Health Organization (10)
    • Year in Review (2)
  • Most Viewed Posts